C. De Melo is a Renaissance Art Historian & Author specializing in historical novels set in Italy. Please visit cdemelo (dot) com
Felipe Veiga Lima: a true Renaissance Man
Artist, Stylist, Activist
Felipe Veiga Lima nurtures deep respect for his state, Rio Grande do Sul, and love for his birth city, Porto Alegre. It was a privilege to visit his gorgeous atelier and interview this true Renaissance man, whom I met shortly after my arrival from Italy nearly two years ago. While he had mentioned being a fashion designer, I didn't realize the extent of his talents. He is a true Brazilian patriot and a passionate political activist fighting for better conditions in underserved communities. His involvement in various local charities spans years, especially the Liga Contra o Câncer (League Against Cancer), to which he has been contributing for over three decades.
Brazilian fashion magazines displaying VEIGA LIMA glamorous creations
Felipe informed me that his grandmother owned several dresses by famed Brazilian designer, Dener Pamplona de Abreu. Her excellent taste in fashion and home decor sparked his childhood appreciation for design, color, and texture. During this interview, I discoverd that Felipe is a talented painter. He explained his use of mixed media (oil and acrylic) to create unique textures in his enormous contemporary canvases, then showed me an example on his phone. A few smaller pieces using this technique are on display in his atelier. Interestingly, Felipe doesn't consider himself a "stylist" but rather an Artist because he creates art for women to wear. Each piece he makes is one-of-a-kind, custom-made for the specific body of every woman who is lucky enough to be clothed by him.
Examples of Felipe's expertise
Felipe describes himself as "old school" and I could totally relate. The old fashioned way of making clothing via measurements involved fittings, use of quality fabrics, and quality stitchwork. Having been raised with talented seamstresses in my family, one of the first things I did was examine the seams in his clothing. Felipe's creations are so perfectly constructed and expertly finished that you can confidently wear them inside-out. Now that is a true mark of craftsmanship.
I was also impressed by his skill. He showed me a few examples of decorative details, which he painstakingly constructs by hand. The leather flowers were by far the most dazzling, since they were quite delicate and intricate. When asked which fabrics he prefers to work with, he replied, "brocade and tafetta," and then showed me a cape fashioned from lucious black German velvet that is divine.
High quality stitches and seams (inside of an evening jacket)
Adapting to each client is key to success
I asked Felipe if he prefers skirts or pants and he replied, "depends on the woman and her body." He prefers to create with vivid hues and jewel tones, especially plummy shades. Throughout the years, he's noticed that the colors toward which women gravitate are often reflected in their personalities. Timid women prefer subtle tones and classic styles whereas confident women aren't afraid of color or new styles. Felipe prefers to work with the latter since they usually grant him more artistic license. "I love women who don't care what others think because it allows me to create freely," he expressed candidly. Ultimately, the client must feel comfortable and happy with the finished product, so he focuses on merging his talent with each woman's stylistic needs.
Embellishments made by hand
Sorry ladies, Felipe does not make Prêt-à-Porter (ready to wear). The closest he has come to that are women from other cities sending in their measurements, but they must come in for a fitting before leaving with their wearable masterpiece. If you plan on visiting Porto Alegre, and you love unique quality clothing, I highly recommend paying him a visit. At least stroll by the atelier and do some window browsing. Located in the lovely Moinhos de Vento neighborhood, it's worth the effort.
I'll conclude with something Felipe said that I admire. "I cut the umbilical chord from society many years ago, so I don't care what others think...I am comfortable in my skin."
What better words to come from the mouth of an artist?
VEIGA LIMA e GATELLI
Rua Quintino Bocaiuva 299
+55 51 996888489
Follow him on Instagram and view his lovely creations.
As always, thank you for reading.