Meet Steven Tai, our final Hyères designer.
Steven. Photo by Filep Motwary
How does it feel for you being selected for this year’s edition of Hyeres?
I feel incredibly honored to be selected for this year’s Hyeres. I vividly remember that when I first discover the festival I did not even begin my education at Central Saint Martins. But at that point I already felt a strong connection to the competition and I knew I would try to be apart of the festival one day. Therefore, being selected as a finalist really means a great deal to me because it means that an audience I truly respect understands my work.
How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
Natural, familiar, friendly..
What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
The entire process has been incredible. It really is difficult to pick just one favorite part. Having the name Hyeres backing you means you are granted opportunities that I could not normally even dream of. A selection of those moments include: – having countless fabric companies at Premiere Vision sponsoring my work – working with the prestigious Givaudan Fragrances to create a personal perfume – having the opportunity to create a look for the house of Chloé – coming to Hyeres and meeting all the wonderful designers and the team at Villa Noailles
In three words , what is your collection about?
Geeky, Awkward, confident
Steven Tai / CANADA / Central St-Martin's London. Photo: Rene Habermacher.
Elina Laitinen, Siiri Raasakka and Tiia Sirén come from Finland and design menswear together. They have been selected for Hyeres 2012.How does it feel for you being selected for this year’s edition of Hyeres?We feel really honored to be selected regardless of the fact that this is the first collection we have ever put together. We want to break every boundary there is, and it’s exciting that other people can understand our world as well.How would you describe Hyeres in three words?Coolest thing EVER!What has been your favorite part of the process so far?We have totally enjoyed the whole process of making the collection since we like to get our hands dirty and here in Hyères its really amazing to be able to work with a professional team.In three words , what is your collection about?Boys! Youth! Revolution!
Continuing the introduction of the Hyeres 2012 selected designers. Meet Belgian womenswear designer, Lucas Sponchiado.
How does it feel for you being selected for this year’s edition of Hyeres?
It is incredibly great! It is an honor to be selected…
The Hyeres Festival is a huge event and a great opportunity for me to show my work. I am glad to be selected, exited and very enthusiastic about it.
How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
Opportunity, meeting with other creatives from around the world and creativity.
What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
It is very hard to answer because there is a lot of different things happening during the process of the festival. Meeting all the different contestants and the festival crew is great. Professionally, presenting my collection to Maida Gregory-Boina was a great experience.
In three words , what is your collection about?
Contrast, sensuality and architecture.
Lucas Sponchiado / "out of vacuum" / BELGIUM / La Cambre Brussels
We have started introducing the Hyeres 2012 selected designers. Meet womenswear designer, Narelle Dore from Australia.
Narelle. Photo by Filep Motwary
How does it feel for you being selected for this year’s edition of Hyeres?
I feel not only honored to be selected for Hyeres but also overwhelmed that my work will stay in the wonderful archive forever.
How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
Sunny, open-minded and wonderful!!
What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
Well, arriving at Hyeres, at the Villa was wonderful also the preparation for the show, the presentation while meeting the rest of the contenstants and people who work at the Villa Noailles
In three words , what is your collection about?
Macrame, salt crystals and women
Narelle Dore / AUSTRALIA / Royal Academy Antwerp, Photo by Rene Habermacher
“Ready to fight like a lionness.”
It’s hard to imagine those words coming from the mouth of Pascale Mussard.
But as art director in a very special company, the “petit h” division of Hermès, she knows how to wait for the right moment before springing into action, while in the meantime keeping an eye for that special quality — talent.
Which makes her the perfect Hyères 2012 jury member.
Pascale Mussard, photography Rene Habermacher © Hyeres 2012
How should luxury be interpreted within a young creator’s work?
At Hermes, an object, a creation, must “speak”. It is nourished by the soul and hand of craftsman. It is designed, created, pampered, shaped, dreamed, ennobled, sublimated. It is made with respect, love, passion. Young creators work must inscribe beauty in use, and use in beauty. Nothing superfluous, only honesty every step of the way: from design to production. As heirs of a noble tradition of craftsmanship, our initiatives must be loyal and the innovative expression of this tradition. It must show our optimism and wonderful ingenuity, that last long and leave all horizons open.
What would you say is key to sustaining a fashion brand in a world like ours which is ever changing?
“L’obligation ardente de toute culture” Hélène Ahrweiller [the impassioned obligation of any culture]
Integrity : Never forget our values, from where you come from and invent objects that will last long, be transmitted and bring joy.
Continue to give testament to the relationship between man and the wisdom flowing from acceptance of nature and the unchangeable beauty of usefulness, by reflecting through craftmanship on the meaning of objects and the importance of the ties within mankind.
New petit h film, produced by Partizan.
The art at Petit h is so colourful, fun, happy. Do you feel that ‘happy’ is a keyword for our fashion era now? For our Hyeres contest, would you look for ‘happiness’ to be an aspect in choosing the winner?
My uncle Jean Louis Dumas was saying “où que vous soyez , refusez de vous embêter, dans un milieu de qualité , ce serait du gâchis.» [wherever you may be, refuse to be bored, in a place of quality it would be a waste.]
Petit h : May be not happy as « youthful» Petit h is indeed linked to childhood, particularly in the way to perceive objects and materials, in a new way without preconceptions or prejudice. It is a light, constant, free creation process which makes this petit “h” the legitimate child of Hermès: though sometimes impertinent, a child that does not cease to grow while learning on the materials, the hands that create, and the values of Hermès. For Hyères, it is a “team” judgment under a very innovative President: Mr Y Yamamoto.
Happiness is always a positive value for me, but innovation, fantasy and talent are more important.
Working for a house as historic and of great heritage as Hermès, how do you encounter the challenge to align new ideas with the skills of traditional craftsmanship?
“During a long time I worked on a one-on-one basis with artists and designers. Then, in 2009, the project truly took off and we started working with a cabinet of accumulated materials and craftsmen who worked closely with the artists (at the time Gilles Joneman, Christian Astuguevielle and Godefroy de Vireu) in the recreation process. The pieces created were then submitted to the family and the artistic direction, and the project was approved for a first sale which went very well, allowing us to keep growing.”
“An artist, designer, “geotrouvetout” [inventor] is invited by me to come to the atelier and to dive into the cabinet of materials – the materials are the source of inspiration for all creations, They must work with what is available. These materials will spark the creative process and discussion between the craftsmen and designers to find a solution that is concrete, realizable and esthetic according to Hermes values and procedures. The creation at Petit h comes primarily from a dialogue between the hands of the craftsmen, the materials and the ideas of the designer.”
Craftsmen and designers do not necessarily have the same priorities. What is the collaboration like?
Si vous écoutez vous finissez par entendre. Et un bon entendeur est plus facilement entendu…
[if you listen you will hear. and a good hearer is more easily heard…]
They have to be able to work together well, be able to respond to their partner. I frequently act as a middle person or a kind of midwife. I encourage the team members and say: “We have never done anything like this before, but why don’t we try it out?” If the designer knows exactly what he wants, then the craftsman has to use all his memory, skill and bring out all the techniques that he knows. Currently, we are working on a life-sized bear which is intended for the exhibition in Berlin (23 April – 12 May). The leather is folded using the origami technique – which is something that is for us completely without precedent. The designer Charles Kaisin calls up frequently to find out how we’re getting on. Last week, one of our craftsmen said he thought he would never be able to realize the idea. But eventually everyone in the studio found a method which works.
An inner connection must be forged between the designer and the craftsman. If this happens then I am prepared to defend their work within the company like a lioness.
What is the last thing that you experienced, saw or heard that stimulated you?
Recently I had the chance , the luck to visit really inspiring places, Naoshima (Japan), Inhotim (Brazil) two sites that offer a unique combination of major contemporary art collection and nature.
Two wonderful projects: A DREAM. Brazil and Japan, two countries very energetic and inspiring for me. A great encounter in Brazil: the architect Marcio Kogan ( Sao Paulo)
This summer a beautiful and peaceful trip: Ladakh.
With one of the longest careers in the industry, Irène Silvagni is considered as one the master-keys that open every door in fashion.
As creative director of Vogue Paris in the late 80’s, she initiated collaborations with Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, Steven Meisel and Ellen Von Unwerth.
One of the 2012 Hyères festival fashion jury members, picked by president Yohji Yamamoto, for whom she does creative direction, we asked for her view on ethics, talent and achievement…
Irene Silvagni photo by Elise Toide ©
What are the ethics a young designer should have?
The most important is the “freedom”. One needs to follow what ever what he/she believes in.
Stick to your style.
In your career you have introduced to the industry and the world a lot of new talent. Do you still find yourself as excited by the new crop of talent today? And do you find there is a lot of progression in terms of work that is coming out today?
I remember the time when we were a few editors fighting to have Azzedine Alaia recognized, wearing his clothes at the shows, fighting to have editors and buyers get to rue de Bellechasse; and those were moments of intense happiness.
I also remember when the Japanese designers arrived in Paris, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. It was a shock, a new kind beauty, a page was turned but in a way it seemed like a battle against a certain form of journalism which did not understand and accept this evolution.
A revolution that opened all the Belgian movement, which is to this day still at the top.
What do you think is the most challenging thing for young designers to conquer to achieve success today?
The main problem is of course to resist the pressure of economics and the space given to big advertisers in magazines, also to be able to produce and deliver.
The success of Carven, Rochas, Giambattista Valli, all of the independent designers has given a new energy to fashion… The placement of Raf Simons at Dior, the return of Slimane at YSL will bring new challenges in term of aesthetics…
Irene Silvagni photo by Elise Toide ©
How do you relate fashion with elegance?
I do think that elegance is related to the woman or the man wearing clothes.
Though, some clothing are not supposed to be “elegant”, they have style, magic, they are strong or soft, black or white all and its contrary. A piece of cloth wrapped around the body is elegant. I could go on and on talking on elegance. Sometimes I cross some girls in the street and I feel amazed by their creativity in putting clothes together. It’s amazing, inspiring and elegant!!
There are more magazines then ever, yet the paper publishing is in crisis. How do you see fashion magazine publishing today? What excites you or you are missing to see?
I miss the space given to young designers and new talents, I miss being surprised, I miss the adrenaline.
These days, while turning the pages I often know what I am going to see, I read the same news on every magazine, see always the same people. As a professional and a reader I am disappointed most of the time, although there are still some magazines that I find exciting!
What is the last thing that you experienced, saw or heard that stimulated you?
The last Azzedine Alaia fashion show…
Olivier Saillard exhibitions and performances.
Among the crew of fashion wisemen assembled by Yohji Yamamoto in the Hyères 2012 jury is Alan Bilzerian, owner of the eponym Boston boutique, who was kind enough to answer the questions of the Hyères partner blogs…
How important is craftsmanship in a collection for you?
Actually, its one of the first points that bring me closer to the designer. It puts a skip in my step when young designers succeed in translating quality.
When looking at the Hyères ranges, what is more important to you, the designer’s ability to conceptualize a range and see it through to its most artistic and expressive, or do you focus strongly on the commercial viability of the ranges?
I feel very uncomfortable about looking at large ranges of any designer. I believe you can exhibit your emotion of design very clearly in short exhibitions. But I look at both the commercial side as well as artistic expression.
How supportive are your consumers to young designers? What is the most challenging aspect of trying to sell a young designer, and what can the designers do about it?
The consumer will listen to us about any new designer and will certainly give it a chance with a try on or touch. The competition is so strong because of the immense amount of product, we feel you need a little push from the editorial side and a strong support system with shops of high caliber.
The corporate fashion conglomerates are assembling more and more brands under their umbrella and control through advertising the exposure of fashion in the editorials.This makes it harder for young, independent designers to create visibility and establish their vision and brands. How do you see this affecting your work as a buyer?
Its always very challenging to move into new names because in my shops I like consistency to prove that I made the right decision for the customer. The fashion umbrella of the conglomerates are needed as well because of the visible progress shown to the consumer, it helps momentum.
What is the last thing that you experienced, saw or heard that stimulated you?
Exclusively on Vogue ItaliaMONSIEUR CHYPREA Short Film With Erotokritosa THE STIMULEYE productionSTARRINGCONSTANTINO KOUYIALIS as MONSIEUR CHYPRELOAN CHABANOL (ELITE) as MADEMOISELLE PARISPARIS UNITSTYLING – MICHAELA DOSAMANTESHAIR – ROMINA MANENTI @ AIRPORTMAKE-UP – TIINA ROIVANEN @ AIRPORTPRODUCTION ASSISTANT – LYNSEY PEISINGERLOCATION – HIROMI OTSUKACATERING – EROKITCHENVOICE by LYNSEY PEISINGERMUSIC by LORI SCHONBERG + SHANE ASPEGRENPOSTPRODUCTION by THE STIMULEYE
An erotic fashion epic, one year in the making, THE STIMULEYE is proud to present Monsieur Chypre – A Short Film With Erotokritos, coming April 11th on Vogue Italia.
Starring Constantino Kouyialis & Loan Chabanol, styled by Michaela Dosamantes, and directed by Antoine Asseraf & René Habermacher.“He knows women, and women know him.”
Erotokritos, it’s a strange name for a fashion brand.It’s an even stranger name for a person.And yet, he is truly called Erotokritos Antoniadis, named after the main protagonist of medieval epic poem, a hero “born from the labors of love”. For 15 years, his label has been seducing women of all ages, drawn to collections that go back and forth between the sophistication of Paris and the dolce vita of Cyprus…“They call him Monsieur Chypre.”
France and Cyprus, Paris and Nicosia, it’s a long-distance couple.In Monsieur Chypre, by Antoine Asseraf & René Habermacher, they come to life: Loan Chabanol, channeling the nostalgia of Marguerite Duras’ The Lover, plays the tormented Parisian woman, cracking at the surface, while Constantino Kouyialis, in his first first on-screen role, is a revelation as the seductive eponym hero, a modern day Alexis Zorbas.“An erotic fashion epic” we call it.“Erotic,” how could it not be with a name like Erotokritos ?“Fashion,” of course: stylist Michaela Dosamantes, fresh from winning Best Fashion Award at La Jolla Fashion Film Festival for La Main Dans Le Sac, mixes the season’s classic looks to capture the heroine’s transformation from “bluesy” in Vuitton to “red-hot” in Valentino.And “epic” ? What else do you call a fashion film 10 months in the making, taking place not only in Paris but in numerous locations in Nicosia, in the salt lake facing the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque in Larnaca, in the Almyra and Anassa deluxe hotels, in small taverns by the side of the road, or in the majestic monument carved directed in the stone, the tomb of the Kings in Paphos ? And we haven’t even mentioned the upcoming almost 10 minutes long directors’ cut….“His voice is a song.”
All this, to the original soundtrack of Lori Schonberg and Shane Aspegren, members of transnational surrealist indie outfit The Berg Sans Nipple.So, now the tough questions.Is Cyprus really like this ? A little bit. Not at all. It depends how you look at it.It is an island of freedom in the east mediterranean, where couples from Israel and Lebanon come to escape religion. It is the birthplace of Aphrodite. You go, you decide.So how can I meet this Mister Cyprus ? We hear that one a lot. From women (and men) of all ages. Maybe he’s real, maybe he’s a figment of our collective imagination, our repressed desires. One thing’s for sure — we can’t give you his number.“Attempting to charm him is useless. He is the one who will find.”MONSIEUR CHYPREa film by ANTOINE ASSERAF & RENE HABERMACHERa THE STIMULEYE productionSTARRINGCONSTANTINO KOUYIALIS as MONSIEUR CHYPRELOAN CHABANOL (ELITE) as MADEMOISELLE PARISPARIS UNITSTYLING – MICHAELA DOSAMANTESHAIR – ROMINA MANENTIMAKE-UP – TIINA ROIVANENPRODUCTION ASSISTANT – LYNSEY PEISINGERLOCATION – HIROMI OTSUKACATERING – EROKITCHENVOICE by LYNSEY PEISINGERMUSIC by LORI SCHONBERG + SHANE ASPEGRENPOSTPRODUCTION by THE STIMULEYECYPRUS UNITALSO STARRINGMYRTO KOUYIALISDIVA MODELS:ALEXANDRA BUNETSKAYAKLELIA YIASEMIDOUANNA DOROTHEOULOCATIONS:ALMYRA & ANASSATHANOS HOTELSALL CLOTHES CYPRUS: EROTOKRITOS ARCHIVESPARIS CLOTHES featuringLOUIS VUITTON, EROTOKRITOS, LOUIS VUITTON JEWELRY, APERLAI, MARC JACOBS, DIOR, FELIPE OLIVEIRA BAPTISTA, AURELIE BIDERMAN, OLATZ, KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE, BURBERRY AND VALENTINOTHANK YOUDimitris Dimitriou / Cyprus Tourist Organisation in ParisPhilippos Philippou / Cyprus AirwaysPavlos Metaxas / Diva modelsAntonakis BarEleni ChrysostomidouLida PhilippidouMary NicolaidouMaroulla AntoniadouGallery Argo NicosiaKostas MantzalosThe city of NicosiaThe city of PaphosANDFilep Motwary
Everything you need to know about the
Hyères International Fashion + Photography Festival 2012.
April 27-30 2012, Villa Noailles, Hyères, FRANCE.
Fashion + photo juries, fashion shows, exhibitions by Yohji Yamamoto, Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Jason Evans, Chronique Curiosités, Maison Rondini, Matthew Cunnington & John Sanderson, Fabrics Interseason, Lynsey Peisinger & The Stimuleye, Lea Peckre, Celine Meteil, Internationales Fashion + Textile Conferences, The Shoes/TEED/Citizens…
a film by The Stimuleye,
with Lynsey Peisinger and François Sagat.
-His name may not ring any bells, especially if you’ve never attended one of the numerous exhibitions he curated during his years at Union des Arts Décoratifs or more recently in his new position as curator for Paris’ Galliera Fashion Museum.But his appreciation, his judgement, informed by an impressive culture and understanding of fashion in the long run, leave little to doubt.Who better to evaluate the young talent of tomorrow than one of the few people who get fashion beyond the trends of the moment ?Days before his double Comme des Garçons / Balenciaga exhibit opens at Cité de la Mode, here is Olivier Saillard.
Hyères 2012 jury member, Olivier Saillard, Director of the Galliera Fashion Museum. Photo by René Habermacher.Why should a garment be considered as important?
At the risk of appearing a bit primal, because we’d be a bit cold if we had to live naked, unless we all moved to warmer pastures !Beyond climatic considerations, I love to see a garment as a solution, and to note that some designers are, to this day, still preoccupied by the idea of solving, through a way of dressing, our natural morning wardrobe.You have produced works that straddle the line between fashion and performance. Or maybe there is no line. When looking at the collections for the festival, how important is the element of presentation to you? Would a poor presentation of a great garment influence how you score it?
Now more than ever, presentation interests me less than the garment itself. I skip fashion shows and rather appreciate presentations in show rooms.
“Fashion goes out of fashion” says veteran creative director Marc Ascoli.
A jury member for the upcoming Hyères Fashion + Photography Festival, Ascoli is known as the man behind the image of Yohji Yamamoto, Martine Sitbon, Jil Sander for many years.
He knows the times change, and yet the thirst for creativity is never quenched.
Here’s a taste of Hyères.
FILEP MOTWARY/UN NOUVEAU IDEAL: What makes a young designer interesting in your eyes ?
His/her sensibility before anything else, that he/she has something to say. But also the degree of creativity, the ability to show he/she doesn’t fit the mold or follow established models.
A young designer, to be interesting, needs to reflect his era and talk about the times.
MALI/SKATTIE: Once you’ve started working with a brand, what is your degree of involvement and counseling?
It really depends on the intensity of the relationship I share with the person. Today the difficulty is to know which direction a brand wants to go, how to express its singularity.
Marc Ascoli + photographer David Sims for Yohji Yamamoto.
MISHA/TOKYO FASHION DIARIES: Today, it seems essential for a designer to have a public persona. How does that affect you ?
The current situation is ambiguous. Designers are personae, they embody and diffuse the image of the brand. Taking into account the investments made by fashion houses in terms of publicity, designers have become true flag bearers.
But that’s where the error often lies, to hire people gifted in public relations but much less in terms of style.
Today there is a “bottom line” in fashion, people tend to look at things commercially. Does the buzz which personality give off equal the quality of the offering ? The question today is primordial. [In the case of] Sarah Burton for Mc Queen, we don’t see a flamboyant personality, but everyone is floored by her work.
Even though it’s a time of crisis, everything is about competitivity. Considering the number of collections (men’s, women’s, pre-collections), it’s about standing out through quality not only personality.
RENÉ / THE STIMULEYE: What is the role of the stylist in the creation of a fashion image ? How did the evolution of this role impact the role of the artistic/creative director ?
There’s now a lot of confusion between stylists and artistic directors, but I believe the two have very different roles. The artistic director works on the long term image of the brand, its DNA and visual impact, whereas the stylist reflects the brand’s fluctuating image by styling the clothes, whether it’s for ad campaigns or a fashion shows.
Marc Ascoli + photographer Craig McDean for Jil Sander
BRUNO / BRRUN: Does fashion have a political role beyond aesthetic and function ?
Fashion takes place in a different universe. It’s a universe where you’re bringing something else to reality, where there is little concern for politics, because it’s all about creation and individuals.
You can see today that there is a huge gap between fashion and the political reality of our times.
Fashion goes out of fashion; fashion is irrational so it can’t be political.
ANTOINE / THE STIMULEYE: When and how does a creator, singer, artist need to work with an art or creative director ?
An artist always needs an alter ego with whom to exchange ideas, to help write his/her story. It’s not just a matter of positioning. The artistic director has to be sensitive enough to understand the artist’s universe and then catalyze it ; establish an image visually and eventually commercially.
Marc Ascoli + photographer Nick Knight for Martine Sitbon.
What is the last thing which stimulated you ?
Being a very curious person, I am constantly stimulating my creativity through various cultural activities. The exhibit of Madame Grès curated by Olivier Saillard at Musée Bourdelle really seduced me. Everything was in its place, the location, the clothes, the spirit.
I was also very stimulated by the latest Comme des Garçons fashion show. I thought it was majestic.
Part 2 of our spring fashion film series takes us to Vietnam, a land of mysterious fruits and exotic flowers.
Norwegian Wood actress, Towai Tei-singer, and model Kiko Mizuhara lets us into her garden,
for Vivienne Tam.
Spring is in the air, so the time has come to see the films of the spring-summer collections which will soon hit the stores… A little wishful thinking has never hurt, has it ?
First up: Marios Schwab and his dark yet summery, very Lana Del Rey, “Chiaroscuro” collection, starring himself alongside Amy Bailey, in Antoine Asseraf & René Habermacher’s CHIARA SKURA.
She’s French, but she acts in Greek.
ATTENBERG was her first film, but it won her a Lion at Venice in 2010 for Best Actress,
and the admiration of Quentin Tarantino and Sofia Coppola.
She loved the shooting, but hated the fame which followed.
Introducing Ariane Labed in
an exclusive film by Justin Anderson,
in collaboration with THE STIMULEYE and Giorgio Armani,
and original pictures by René Habermacher.
ARIANE, directed by Justin Anderson. Clothes - Giorgio Armani. Furniture - Armani Casa. Commissioned by THE STIMULEYE.
Antoine Asseraf : Bonjour!
Ariane Labed: Bonjour!
Are you currently in London ?
Yes, finally! I was supposed to move to London last September, but I’ve been moving around nonstop!
Do you often go back to Greece ?
I was in Greece in November to play with my troup VASISTAS, but now I’m more between Paris and London.
When did you first come to Greece, and what was your impression of the country at the time ?
I arrived in Greece 3 years ago, for a 9-month project of my troup with the National Theater of Athens, to put on a Faust.
I was born in Greece, lived there until I was 6, and I think I left part of my childhood there.
I dreamt of returning. When I met Argyro Chioti in college, a Greek theater director with whom we created the troup VASISTAS, I jumped onto the opportunity of going.
So instead of 9 months, I stayed for 3 years, meeting Athina [Rachel Tsangari] and Yorgos [Lanthimos] had something to do with hit. Beyond a purely sentimental attachment to this country, I was impressed by all the artists I met and their urgent need to create. Without expectations of getting anything in return, beyond any judgement to which they could be subjected, beyond thinking about breaking even.
If I have just left, it’s only because I need to live in a country where I feel foreign, where I lose myself in the streets. That’s what I’m doing in London. The day where I won’t lose myself anymore, I will leave again.
But I will always return to Greece.
Ariane Labed by René Habermacher.
The films of Yorgos Lanthimos and Athina Rachel Tsangari in which you starred have universal resonance, but we can nevertheless imagine that they come in a context, in reaction to precise things happening in Greek society: the influence of the Orthodox church (the impossibility of cremation), the need to break the myth of Greece as a postcard-perfect location (the desolate landscapes of Attenberg)…
As you said yourself the Greek audience doesn’t really support these films, and when reading the article in THE GUARDIAN regarding New Greek Cinema I found the comments left by the Greeks to be very virulent – do you think the films play a role in questioning Greek society ?
If Greeks have a difficulties situating themselves in films such as Dogtooth or Attenberg, it may be because they carry a truth about their country which hurts.
This young generation carries with them the failure of the previous generation, a generation who thought they offering through a notion of “progress”, and after the military dictatorship, a better life, without taking into account the contradictions of orthodox culture and the desire for revenge after several centuries of hardship when the Greek people were a strange gate to the East.
Being French, I love all these contradictions about Greece, but that is also where the complexity lies, and these are facets which the new generation denies or which the previous cannot accept.
What I also love in Greece is that it’s non-colonial, as luckily they could never afford to be colonial, but it is painful to see and hear the Greek racism against the recent wave of immigration. I think the Greeks are overwhelmed by a lot of things today, and it’s evidently linked to the government which “enjoyed” European aid for decades, including the Olympics of 2004.
Though all this is probably only the beginning of what is slowly happening all over Europe.
ATTENBERG by Rachel Athina Tsangari - Trailer. Best Actress award at 2010 Venice International festival.
The beautiful thing about this chaos is that, these artists, without means, who expect nothing from the government, find the strength to meet and trust each other enought to creat together. That’s the case for HAOS, the production company created by Athina, which led to collaborations with Yorgos Lanthimos on DOGTOOTH and ALPS, and EMBROS, a new squat which just opened and brings together theater, danse, performance, critiques, writers, etc… Greek artists have never collaborated as much as they do today.
Of course the films of Athina [Rachel Tsangrai] and Yorgos [Lanthimos] carry and will continue to be denounced by a society which closes its eyes, much like other Western socities. That may be why they are recognized abroad but considered “weird” and barely tolerated in their home country. The taboos touched upon in Attenberg – death, cremation, incestuous desire, lesbian sexuality, are topics on which one can hardly have a dialog in Greece.
But it is difficult for me to criticize Greece… Beyond the corruption of the government and the misery into which it has dragged the people, which I can intellectually denounce, there remains for me an unspeakable element, a vibration I feel only there. A chaos which I find appeasing.
Ariane Labed by René Habermacher.
How did you live this experience of the “fashion film”, between actress and model, with Justin Anderson ?
I was quite reticent at first… but once I met Justin [Anderson] and he told me the concept, with the slow motion, I became quite excited. In the end it was a beautiful experience.
What are your current projects ? Can you tell me about your play with VASISTAS ?
The big news is that I’m about to shoot a film in France. The first film in my native tongue !
It took quite a while for people to figure out I’m French. My first 2 films, ATTENBERG and ALPS, are both in Greek, so everyone thought I was Greek. It doesn’t bother me at all, but really it’s quite a different exercise to play in a foreign tongue.
Congratulations. Are the plays with VASISTAS also in Greek ?
I’ve worked with my troup for 5 years now. We are 3 women: 1 Greek, 1 Mexican and myself. We met in college at Aix-en-Provence and created a troup. We work in different languages, centering on the body, on the impossibility of communicating with words. We don’t work from existing plays but rather from an editing of texts ranging from Deleuze to advertising… I play in French most of the time, but the text is there to relate to meaninglessness… My work is rather physical.
So it’s your own creations ?
Yes. The last show was called “spectacle” [“show”]. www.vas.eu.com
This impossibility to communicate is also an important theme in Attenberg, your character is very physical but has difficulties communicating with others —did your theater experience push the role in this direction or was it already thought out this way ?
The writing of Attenberg didn’t change much…but it wasn’t written for a foreigner, so maybe inadvertently we pushed this Marina towards another manner of communicating. Certainly, with Athina we didn’t want to approach the character psychologically. There’s always a great deal of physicality in my approach.
Ariane Labed by René Habermacher.
Where does this physicality come from, is it because you’ve practiced ballet, or did you practice ballet because it was in you ?
I did 10 years of classical ballet. I stopped when I was 16 because I could no longer stand the way the body was dealt with. It’s a strange contradiction, I was and remain persuaded that ballet is a sublime and fair form of expression, but I can’t deal with the instrumentalised body. In ALPS, I play the role of a competitive gymnast, it was a superb challenge to have to return to this physical condition, and yet a real nightmare !
So you keep this tension within you, between the habits of ballet, the need to express yourself physically, and the rejection of the classical dance system….
Yes, something like that.
When we spoke for the first time by email over a year ago, I wasn’t aware that you were at the time going through a “reaction”.
Reaction, or crisis, ou questioning ?
Was it the reaction to cinema ? to the success of Attenberg ? or to the rigors of a gymnast’s discipline ?
Yes, it was shortly after my award in Venice… I was lost. I did not know how to deal with anything — I didn’t expect and wasn’t prepared for such a level of display. I locked myself into work (the preparation of the role in ALPS) and fled the journalists. It took me a long time to realise that it could be a gift in my life.
That’s when I decided to get an agent in Paris to continue film-making. When I made Attenberg, I didn’t think I had a place on a screen. I’d loved the shooting, but I couldn’t picture myself fitting in. This award led me to hope I could continue, and now I only dream of shooting again.
Before Attenberg, was there something you found repulsive in cinema, or was it an attachment to the physicality of theater ?
I didn’t think you could find the intensity you have in front of the public. That moment when you lose the notion of time.
And paradoxically what troubled you after Attenberg was the intensity of the public scrutiny !
Being exposed in a work of art has nothing to do with being exposed as yourself holding a world cup trophy.
I can be naked, raw, give myself completely for a scene or a film, but to expose myself as Ariane Labed in the press is something I find completely uninteresting.
ALPS by Yorgos Lanthimos - trailer. Best Screenplay at 2011 Venice International festival.
So it’s rather the status of the “star” that troubles you rather than shooting itself ?
Shooting is sublime. But I’m not sure of what the actress’ status is. I don’t think there’s a rule. It’s a crazy job, and I hope you can go about it your own way. At least that’s what I’m trying to do.
You returned to Venice for ALPS, which won the prize for Best Scenario, how was it this time ?
It was a holiday ! I took a lot of pleasure, and I was very happy for Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filipou [the writers].
Let’s quickly talk about ALPS – when does the film come out ?
In France I’m not sure, but in the UK in the Spring.
How was this second film for you ?
I was afraid. After the success of Attenberg, I put a lot of pressure on myself… I was telling myself again that maybe Tarantino was wrong, maybe I shouldn’t be on screens anymore….but it helped me to work even more. It was a small role in ALPS, but which required 3 months of intense preparation, so I tried to make the most of shooting days and give my best. It was a very different experience. Yorgos doesn’t work like Athina at all, he leaves the actors with a lot of doubt, and captures everything that slips through.
Marina Abramović is everywhere lately.
A marathon performance at MoMa, another retrospective in Moscow, on the cover of POP magazine, hosting a star studded event at Jeffrey Deitch’s MOCA in LA and an exhibition at The Serpentine Gallery slated for 2012, the HBO documentary “The Artist is Present” just screened at Sundance. An ever growing list of projects that is taking her across continents…
Exclusive long form of interview first published in POP magazine FW2012
Marina Abramović is everywhere lately. She has emerged from what was considered an alternative section of contemporary art, Performance Art, to finally occupy an untouchable position in the Pantheon of Pop.
A marathon performance at the MoMa, another retrospective in Moscow scheduled, and an exhibition at The Serpentine Gallery slated for 2012, day and night filming of an HBO documentary and an ever growing list of projects. Marina is known for her works in which she tests and pushes her emotional,mental and physical strength, but her schedule takes its toll: Marina is exhausted.
Broad recognition has come comparably late for Abramović, who was often categorized as some sort of Exotic Serbian Vixen. Nevertheless, she has shaped a significant slice of art history like no other.
Today, less considered for her public sexual identity, and more appreciated for her timelessness and her bravery, one could unarguably call Marina “the diva of contemporary art”, were she not so grounded.
Freja Beha Erichsen with her "Mini Me". A collaboration by Marina Abramović for POP magazine Photography by René Habermacher
Our conversation takes place just after Marina’s return to New York from Manchester, England where she spent six weeks collaborating with Robert Wilson on a new biography, “The Life and Death of Marina Abramović”. The play was staged with accompanied music written and conducted by Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) and narrated by a ferocious Willem Dafoe.
The audience witnessed him meticulously rummaging through the details of her life chronologically. Marina has been clear about her lack of appreciation for theatre as a concept and this play marks a sharp departure from her concept of herself as a performance artist.
She participates in what she used to essentially despise: “To be a performance artist, you have to hate theatre. Theatre is fake: there is a black box, you pay for a ticket, and you sit in the dark and see somebody playing somebody else’s life. The knife is not real, the blood is not real, and the emotions are not real. Performance is just the opposite: the knife is real, the blood is real, and the emotions are real. It’s a very different concept. It’s about true reality.”
René Habermacher: With this piece you staged something that you call artificial theatre. It lacks the realness that is central to your work. How was this experience for you?
Marina Abramović: I am his material. I completely gave all the control to Bob (Robert Wilson). That is the only way to really be material for someone else, which is very interesting, because its just absolutely the opposite of what I do. This is first time that i have this really radical approach with Bob – he absolutely refused anything to do with performance. This was an amazing experience for me and very difficult, because his approach to rehearsal is like mine to performance, – but yet it’s just rehearsal! Just be there for hours and hours in order for him to fix the light. I lose my reason, I need the public, I need another kind of dialogue. This was a huge discipline not to kill him!
RH: How did this project with Bob come together? (more…)
Can fashion still dazzle us ? To prove that the answer is “yes” for its 2012 edition, the legendary Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival has invited Yohji Yamamoto to preside its fashion jury…
Leather Jacket by Daniel Hurlin, one of the contestants. Photo by René Habermacher.
There is problem in fashion today.
It’s a time of transition, adjusting to the internet, new markets, and the weight of conglomerates.
It’s a time of new opportunities for many.
But it’s also a time where a house like Dior cannot find a replacing designer without causing a game of musical chairs – we are to understand that there are so few established designers out there, that Dior’s next womenswear designer must come from a competing house.
As if there were no young designers up to the job.
As if Galliano himself had had much experience when he started.
The problem is, today, that it’s become increasingly tough for young designers to develop their visual aesthetic independently, starting from scratch.
And if young designers can’t develop their style, be allowed to mature and establish themselves, well, there won’t be any mature designers around when Dior needs one.
The submitted silhouettes of the 10 contestants. Photo by René Habermacher.
Luckily, there is Hyères.
Since 1985, the Hyères Fashion and Photography Festival, located on the Côte d’Azur in the South of France, has promoted the work of young designers by putting them in contact with the industry’s top professionals, organizing for them state-of-the-art fashion shows and drawing an audience of buyers and press from all over the world, giving them the chance to make a first impression.
Hyères has given us Viktor & Rolf, Felipe Oliveira Baptista (Lacoste), Gaspard Yurkievitch, and many others who now run the studios of the biggest houses.
The Hyères 2012 Selection jury.
This Hyères (forgive the pun), Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto has invited an all-star group to join him in the fashion jury: photographer Paolo Roversi, curator Jules Wright, Galliera fashion museum director Olivier Saillard, creative director Marc Ascoli, buyer Alan Bazarian, Hermès art director Pascale Mussard, and i-D magazine’s Terry Jones were all present to go through the dossiers of the applicants.
Jury member Olivier Saillard examining a dossier.
After hours of looking at dossiers and submitted looks, and additional hours of deliberation, the selection jury chose 4 men’s and 6 women’s looks from designers coming not only from traditional Western European countries but also from Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Finland and Estonia.
The designers now have 2 months to complete 6 more looks from their collection(and a special Chloé look) before flying in to Hyères in April and being prepped by fashion director Maïda Gregory for the jury and presentations, fashion shows and showrooms happening over the 3 days of the festival. In addition to a Grand Jury Prize (15 000 Euros by L’Oreal Professionel) and a Première Vision Prize (10 000 euros), they’ll also be competing for a new Chloé prize, with a specially designed look.
Photographer Paolo Roversi saluting us as he leaves the Yohji Yamamoto HQ. Photo by René Habermacher.
Check back with us soon for interviews of the jury members and news about the photo competition as well…
“I do think the main thing when you start with what you want to do, is to find an audience.
And to find an audience, the main thing is to start up a dialogue with them and to find out what they want.”
Raf Simons speaks with The Stimuleye on Hyères. Contestants get ready for the next edition, register before 26th of November, and send your entry before the 5th of December!RAF SIMONS: With my exhibition at the villa, I wanted to show the form of extremity that can be the start of something and still be successful.
To me it’s really important for the generation who enters into this context to realise what kind of platform this is. I think it’s enormous. The amount of press that is there and the staging of the garments on a super high level.We selected 10 contestants out of 50 (of initially 800 entries), together with Christopher Kane, Michel Gaubert, Maida Boina and Jean Pierre Blanc.It was not easy. We had for each entry one single silhouette, which is complicated to judge with the dossier that is “flat” and has yet to be developed.
I did see there were people who were working on their collection, from the moment they were chosen to the moment it went on stage, and there were people who did not. That showed also in the final result: the ones who had been working on, got better.It was quite a discussion within the jury. We were not unanimous about the winner. There were mainly two, but there was clearly already a third person [Emilie Meldem] that all members of the jury found interesting to mention, so we had to decide to vote, which is also the honest way I think. when you start discussing like “yeah maybe less people like that and more like the the other, but let’s still make the winner the one that less people like”- I think that is not correct.
Hyères Alive - Award Ceremonies
“Refined sensibility” – I think the winner [Léa Peckre] stood out for that at the end.The second price [Céline Meteil] won for its purity. In relation to lots of other things the jury members thought that one was attracting because of the purity and of its honesty: to take one thing and kind of concentrate on that. One material, one process, one kind of shape. But it worked. It had something quite controlled at the same time something not too forced, not trying to be too special. Because we had quite some people who tried to be really special and it also went wrong.
Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets. Every year, the Villa Noailles art center in Hyères, France offers fashion designers and photographers the opportunity to step into the spotlight…
Photo by 2010 photo winner Yann Gross, look by 2011 fashion winner Léa Peckre.
Design duo Viktor & Rolf ? Stills photographer and Ricard award finalist Erwan Frotin ? Mugler men’s designer Romain Kremer ? Fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø ? ANDAM 2011 prize winner Anthony Vaccarello ? Lacoste designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista ? All these people have one thing in common – their work was all launched into the spotlight through the Hyères fashion and photography festival, which is now going into its 27th edition.
As a contestant, you must register by November 26th and send your application package by December 5, 2011. Your work will then be reviewed by a jury of fashion, art and photography professionals (including in the past Azzedine Alaia, Nan Goldin, Riccardo Tisci, Peter Knap, Karl Lagerfeld, Viviane Sassen, Dries Van Noten, Tim Walker, Christian Lacroix…).
If you make it past the first rounds of selection, you’ll be given production help for your collection, flown to the Hyères, given the chance to meet and talk with the 2012 juries, and have the famous Hyères team produce a gallery show of your pictures or a fashion show of your collection, in or around the unique setting of the avant-garde Villa Noailles, once vacation home to the likes of Dali and Cocteau…
And of course, the best part: my little finger tells me this year there will be even more prizes…
In case that wasn’t enough, here’s everything you need to know about Hyères in 2 minutes 6 seconds.
2012 Contest guidelines & registration
Registration deadline: November 26th, 2011
Submission deadline: December 5th, 2011
They’ve produced Shakira, Sha-Sthil’ed, released a secret Japanese album, toured Europe, and now they’re preparing their big Paris concert, before continuing more collaborations with WoodKid, Aikiu and Philippe Katerine. Ladies and Gentlemen, take your socks off for…The Shoes.
You guys DJ’ed at the Hyères Fashion Festival, then at Versailles for the end of Couture Week, are you infiltrating fashion ?
It was a fun DJ set, a bit camping/bar mitzvah, but well mixed.
We also played in Florence for Pitti, in a beautiful place.
Are you continuing to do production for other artists?
Benjamin: It’s a part of our identity we started and really want to develop, so we try to keep it going, in between festivals, concerts and other requests that come in. We’re working on the WoodKid (Yoann Lemoine) album, a track with Philippe Katerine, very different things as long as we like the artist.
Guillaume: With Yoann it’s a bit different, as he’s also a friend.
How long has your album been out – you seem to have a lot of different videos already ?
B: The album came out in March, I think like Mylene Farmer we’re going to make a DVD with all the videos… (laughs)
G: We’ve done 4 videos already, preparing Time To Dance for the fall. In the end half of the album is going to have videos.
The Shoes ft Esser, STAY THE SAME. Directed by Daniel Wolfe.
Is Cliché one of the tracks for which you’ll make a video ?
G: a lot of people have asked, it’s a track that chicks like a lot because it’s the only feminine voice on the record, but it’s not in the plans right now, we think Time To Dance will work.
B: We’ve seen people go crazy on that track even though it hasn’t been played much. It has an old-school, Underworld-style crescendo that lasts 2 minutes.
I’ve seen you at the Nouveau Casino the first time around…do you manage to get some of the singers from the tracks to come sing from time to time ?
G: that was really at the beginning! We have Ben Esser who comes quite often, Anita from Cocknbullkid came at Nouveau Casino. But of course the audience likes to put a face on the song.
It’s a bit unusual to have the lyrics pre-recorded with live instruments, usually it’s the other way around — live lyrics with instruments playback. Especially because you guys really are hardcore on the instruments, while the voice seems to come from nowhere…
B: that was the main criticism aimed at us at the beginning, and we hadn’t solved it when you saw us.
G: we were a bit shy, now we sing it ourself, it’s not perfect but it works more with energy instead. Now we’re starting to more or less control the singing.
The Shoes performing WASTIN' TIME with Esser at Hyères 2011, with Stage of the Art.
Do you sing it entirely live now or do you mix with the recorded lyrics by the singer ?
B: you’re getting into our trade secrets… we mix the voices actually.
G: we don’t try to hide it. it was a problem at first, but now we’ve worked it out – though of course when someone like Esser comes along it’s great, it gives it more of a band feeling and we can concentrate on instruments.
So how did you choose the singers and bands with which you collaborated ?
G: it happened by itself.
B: we were spending time in the UK, we met lots of people, making friends. It started with Primary One, we did the music for the track People Moving, he came to the studio in Rheims and we realized we could never have this kind of result with our own voices, so it became our first featuring. Then we contacted the people we had met with some demos, sometimes with lyrics sung in “yogurt”. No real name dropping.
G: none of the featurings are very famous people, it’s rather people who are at a similar stage of their career… since then we see a lot more Cocknbullkid and Esser.
Singing in French, is that something you’d consider ? I imagine the collaboration with Katerine is in French ?
B: for The Shoes, no, but for other artists we do it.
G: Benjamin does it more than me, but it’s not something for The Shoes yet.
The Shoes performing STAY THE SAME with Esser at Hyères 2011, with Stage of the Art.
What’s the current program, festivals ?
G: [this summer it was] festivals, the WoodKid album.
I’ve also produced the album of this artist called The Aikiu, which is a complete transfiguration of the initial project.
Is that the first real album by The Aikiu ? It seems it’s a project that has been on the verge of happening for a long time, I remember hearing a single at least 5 or 6 years ago…
G: They’ve had EP’s only so far, they asked us to come work on the album, we arrived and blew the whole thing upside down. We broke everything and started from scratch. I think Alex has a great voice, and that there’s great things to do with his voice — but that’s complete now and we’re working on WoodKid.
And working on WoodKid’s album brings some extraordinary conditions, we get to use unusual instruments. Yoann also puts a lot of constraints on us too, he knows what he doesn’t want, which pushes us to do things in different ways.
I was also very happy to discover that you (Guillaume) were behind Gucci Vump and the track SHA SHTIL which was THE track of the summer last year… Is that something you’ll continue or are you focussing exclusively on The Shoes ?
G: I’m focussing more on The Shoes, but Gucci Vump is a funny project, a bit shapeless, Louis (Brodinski) and I run into each other from time to time, we get commissions for remixes from time to time — like WoodKid’s Iron. It’s a dilettante project.
So after the festivals you guys are focussing on your own tour ?
G: Yes we have over 30 dates in the fall, the climax will be November 9th at La Cigale in Paris. We also hope to return to Japan.
You’ve already played in Japan ?
G: The album did really well over there, Japan’s the first country to sign us besides GUM, and they didn’t want to wait so long for the album, so we released an album just for Japan, with B-sides. People try to get their hands on that album, which is a bit of a collectors’ item, with demos and beta versions of tracks which later appear on CRACK MY BONES.
But we’re very focussed on our La Cigale date – with almost all the guests from the album, extra band members…
We usually have 2 percussionists, but we’ll probably go back to 4 – visually it’s beautiful and in terms of sound it doesn’t hurt. When you have 4 guys doing a sort of choreography, it gives something unusual.
The Shoes, photo by René Habermacher.
The last thing which stimulated you…
G: a DJ from a rap group called 1995, a French group, which made an amazing mixtape for the summer.
B: for me, it was the Solidays concert of Ebony Bones – I usually don’t listen to her music, but in concert it was impressive. It’s really made for a festival.
G: from time to time, you get groups that you don’t necessarily like that make a strong impression on you live, they transfigure their music. But you also get the opposite…
I had that with Gonzales. 10 years ago I liked his stuff, I went to see him live, and I hated it so much, I couldn’t listen to the music again for several years. And still now I like the music but I can’t stand his videos or his imagery in general.
G: it was really important for us to delegate the image to Pierre (LeNy), even if we have our ideas regarding what we like visually.
So far you haven’t appeared in any of your videos….but you’re not hiding either ?
G: You often see beautiful videos that fail as soon as the singer appears, the acting required from the singer brings the whole thing down. We want our films to be little bits of cinema – we’re not going to add anything to that feeling.
Special concert at LA CIGALE
November 9th 2011
Opening act: ESSER
STYLING: Michael Philouze
GROOMING: Tanya K @ B-AGENCY
PHOTO ASSISTANT: Fabien Campoverde
with special thanks to Pierre Le Ny & G.U.M.
The Stimuleye is proud to announce the release of the latest film of the Vogue.it – A Short Film With series, CHIARA SKURA, a collaboration with Marios Schwab featuring his hot Spring Summer 2012 collection.
Watch it here.
Come celebrate the release of CHIARA SKURA with Marios Schwab and friends,
Friday October 30th, 10pm – 2am
at Le Pompon,
39 rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris
Metro: Bonne Nouvelle
Hot on the heels of Marios Schwab’s breakthrough SS12 collection “chiaroscuro”, The Stimuleye is proud to announce “CHIARA SKURA – A Short Film With Marios Schwab” for Vogue Italia, coming September 28th…
Directed by Antoine Asseraf & René Habermacher
Starring Amy Bailey
Once upon a time, we made a fashion film shoot with some of the best men’s designs around.
Givenchy, Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Comme des Garçons…we had it all. We also had a great concept (think butoh meets inception), a fantastic cast (Ippei is an amazing butoh performer, while Matvey and Willy, both top men’s models, would film Woodkid’s IRON video a few days later), great hair and great make-up, everything great.
RAEVE stroke-inducing poster by Clément Roncier.
Only problem was, we never really found the time to edit it.
So without further ado, ræve.
by Antoine Asseraf & René Habermacher
starring Ippei Hosuka + Willy Cartier @ Success Paris + Matvey Lykov@ Success Paris
styling Jean-Luc Française / photo assistant Laurent Dubain / styling assistant Tiphaine Menon / hair Tanya Koch @ B Agency /make-up Akiko Sakamoto / studio Le Petit Oiseau Va Sortir
editing Axelle Zecevic / Clément Roncier / postproduction Clément Roncier / music Oedo Sukeroku “Shunrai” + John Cage “Sonata V” / special thanks Jean-Marc Locatelli
The Stimuleye is back from summer hyper-hybernation.
After a galloping transatlantic spiral of frenzy, we lay exhausted for days on various shores around the globe. Meanwhile, not entirely lazy, some of the Stimuleyes danced away in Watermill or invented a bookclub of a new, performative kind, shuffling readings of MANHUNT, STILETTO and Jackie Collins’ masterpiece THE STUD into a new, exciting bootleg. But more about that later.
During this hot days another Stimuleye project rushed through printers rotation: a collaboration with Marina Abramović featuring Freja Beha Erichsen photographed by René Habermacher for POP magazine.
Freja Beha Erichsen and Marina Abramović, both posing with Marinas "mini-me" and wearing GIORGIO ARMANI Photography by René Habermacher
The Fall Issue will feature 2 covers with Marina and Freja and an inside story with exclusive interview, plus a limited edition hardback showing Marina’s death mask. Some of our fellow readers might recognise another co-star: yes, it’s Daisy the Boa which we met in Manchester, in an attempt to strangle the alter ego of Marina, her “mini-me”.
Coming soon to the newstands, the new POP is investigating this time THE REDEFINITION OF THE LADY. As Ashley Heath, its publisher puts it:
“POP has been exploring the notion of a very particular kind of modern fashionable woman. But it’s shifting all the time in such an interesting way. There’s a very liberated, new-world perspective to it and I think Marina Abramovic taps into that. She’s a figure who will only continue to grow in influence I believe. You hesitate to use the word ‘icon’ these days, but Marina and Freja are both resonant female role models at a time when lowest common denominator so often rules the day”
POP's Special edition Hardcover with Marina Abramović's death mask and "mini-me" wrestling with Daisy. Photography by René Habermacher
MARINA CREDITS: Styling Isabelle Kountoure , Hair by Chi Wong at Julian Watson Agency using Shu Uemura Art of Hair, Make-up Yannis Siskos at Effex using Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, Photography Assistance Jonathan Flanders & Hannan Jones, Digital Remastering The Stimuleye, Snake Wrangler David Steward for Creature Feature, Production Lynsey Peisinger for The Stimuleye
FREJA CREDITS: Styling Isabelle Kountoure, Hair Peter Gray at The Collective using Shu Uemura Art of Hair, Make up Romy Soleimani at Management Artists, Manicure Tracelee Percival at Vue using Priti NYC, Model Freja Beha Erichsen at IMG New York, Casting Angus Munro at AM Casting, Streeters NY, Photography Assistance Cesar Rebollar, Fashion Assistance Jodie Latham, Stephanie Waknine, Rebecca Sammon & Michaela Dosamantes, Digital Technician Dilek Islidak, Digital Remastering The Stimuleye, Set Design Anne Koch at CLM NY, Production John Engstrom at Scheimpflüg Digital, Shot at Eagles Nest Daylight Studios NYC
Marios Schwab is known for his unique interpretations of natural forms and his ability to dress the female body in a way that he only knows.
While the world of fashion turns its attention to ephemeral trends, we decide to interview Marios and hear him analyze the Schwab philosophy, his position at Halston and the analysis of his very first Resort Collection, one day before its revealed to the public and press.
His collections are based around reflecting the inner structure of a garment on the outside, a theory that helped to define him as one of London’s most exciting designers – a position he continues to hold.
A distinction and Best Student Award graduate of Esmod, Marios moved to London in 2003, where he completed an MA in Womenswear Fashion at Central Saint Martins, studying under the guidance of the formidable Louise Wilson.
Two years later 2005 saw him launch his own label, showing for two seasons with Fashion East before making his on schedule debut at London Fashion Week for SS 2007
Since the Spring of 2009, he was appointed as the creative director of HALSTON in New York.
Schwab’s designs are sold all over the world, in shops ranging from Dover Street Market, Harvey Nichols and Browns in London, to Maria Luisa in Paris and Barneys in New York.
Photographer Rene Habermacher met with him in London for the creation of the pre-collection’s look book
How are you today Marios, what have you been up-to since this morning?
Pretty much like I came from Paris and immediately started working on the main line…It’s a non-stop situation right now because I just did my first resort collection which was in a way an experiment in terms of getting in right with timings and deadlines, a completely new experience for me. Also we are producing this collection elsewhere outside the UK.
You just photographed your first pre-colection for Summer 2012 yesterday with Rene Habermacher?
We started shooting on Friday; he came over to London and shot the collection in my Studio.
What is your pre-collection about?
I went to Vienna for a weekend where I visited Kunsthalle and saw these amazing series of Vanitas paintings from Dutch painters. For me they always have this feeling of seduction and mysticism that I really like and the hide-reveal again which I am so obsessed about. I wanted to create a print that kind of works color but still within a black background…
It all started with creating the print with artist Tom Galland, who is a friend living near by and with whom we work on numerous collections together. The outlines pretty much echo shapes that have a classic sort of detailing from Maris Schwab, torn down so it becomes easy to wear and accessible for the younger girl that wants to buy, but not necessarily can afford. It’s about clothes for someone who doesn’t want to wear something that is too tailored.
How did you decide to add a pre-collection in your work? Was it after popular demand? What it the aim of a pre-collection anyway?
Yes first comes the “demand” as you said because the main line concentrates on tailored pieces, cocktail pieces mainly, and has the element of fabrics that are more sculpted. There was an easy-wear-feeling missing. You know, easy things that make more sense in a resort collection rather in a mainline. Fabrics like jersey, which is great to wear, in a good quality and good price. Its something that was requested from the top floor but also the feeling of having to return back to something that is a little bit younger was very very important to me.
How is this collection pricewise?
Well it starts from 200 GBP and reaches s 750 GBP. That was the main point, to put very interesting detailing from the DNA of Marios Schwab-keeping the outline and fit on a friendly price. It is quite an interesting thing to do I guess because when you start a collection with this thought pros-mind-set becomes automatically an interesting project. I was concentrating on dresses that you can put on daytime and also in a club or to go travelling with and I think this is something I would like to concentrate on at this point and turn it as the signature of the resort
Marios, it often seems that you manifest an idea way ahead of its time, even two seasons before others pick your ideas later. How do you work, develop these ideas and where you withdraw your inspirations?
Well it’s a lengthen process because I always like to bring in the surroundings of my own life, or what I hear in any sense politics, stories, everyday life, as its an emotional story developed into garments. I don’t know how to explain it really. It usually starts with materials and then it develops into proportion and sectioning of the body in a certain way.
Last season how it started for example, was after a documentary I watched about ancient Greece and the oracle temples. There was this amazing building- I don’t remember where it is now-but it was saying that “nothing in excess.” And it kinda gave me the idea that basically its very much about what we are right now: overloaded with information but also we want so much out of everyday life, some can afford it, some cannot. For me, the process of it was to take this theme and create something that is beautiful with craftsmanship.
So I started reading essays about craftsmanship, then I came across the work of Adolf Loos, an architect from Austria who worked on finding the meaning of decoration and its meaning in society.
To cut the story short the collection was based on minimized craftsmanship and how it becomes an over precious part of each garment. So really framing the details on specific parts of the body that becomes precious at the same time.
I like to place things where they don’t belong from time to time. Broking was one element but also the status of symbols like a pearl necklace and how it can be re-translated in a modern way. Within this season, the Vanitas paintings for me meant life, beauty but at the same time possessions and darkness. It’s so beautiful and it reminded me of Victorian wallpapers, bursts of flowers with a dark background. All these harmless detailing in the collection like elastics that wrap around the body and create the draping reminded me of my earlier works since Spring Summer is very much about the inside outside, how you can retranslate draping without looking like a retro reference, you add a utilitarian element to it but then it’s a little bit more modern.
Vintage print of Marios portrait by Paolo Roversi, and Patterns at the studio. Photography by René Habermacher
In the last five minutes you used the word “craftsmanship” for more than five times. How important is craftsmanship in your work?
It’s the most important thing for me. The way I learned the trade was going to Austria at the age of 15, surrounded by manic women, teachers that knew everything about traditional techniques, probably not very used these days unless of course you work for a couture house. It became my obsession and also something I am very much fond of. I like the humbleness of a craftsman and the sound of craft. I feel so comfortable sitting next to a person that is s specialized and so focused into his work. There is certain romanticism in it that I always go back to. I like sitting in a studio surrounded by the fabrics I just got from the manufacturer and then turn them upside down doing things I didn’t even suspect. I get a kick out of it, not to buy something that is finished but apply something to it.
I guess that can be said about women or the girls that inspire me. It’s a woman with personality- I don’t like women with no character. I don’t see a woman only as a body to dress. I see her as a strong persona that has a little bit more that just attitude. For me, women should be running the world at this point.
I like women who are intellectuals and private at the same time …I make a subtle story each time for them that does not overload their personality, enhances their personality.
While having a closer look at your past collections, I noticed that you continue to focus on the women’s body structure, emphasising on the waist and shoulders. Though now, your work has become more confident and much more strict than before…Do you agree, how do you see your work through the years?
Basically the starting point of a collection is always a naked body –in that I draw around the bodylines that are very much continued over the years I have been working. Whenever I dress a body I like to reveal what I also hide under a garment. From an architectural and proportional point of view it’s the most interesting part for me. What you cover you can reveal in a very sophisticated way on the surface of the fabric but also the cut.
There was certain toughness in your winter 2011-2012 collection with the use of leather and all…
The winter collection indeed had a feeling of toughness and that’s a classic element I guess in Marios Schwab that contains this femininity within something that is the good girl and the bad girl together. There is the prettiness and a sexual element within something that is sometimes quite strong and tuff. And I like to mix leather in a sense that you take the lady completely away from clothes. I don’t like ladies. I like to have a non-pretentious woman and I think that when you look closely to the garments you can see that they are not pretentious and that’s very much about the aspect of Schwab. My dresses need to be appreciated close by and I like that they don’t scream aloud but at the same time with a closer look you learn to appreciate them, their line and the detailing.
Taking elements that are very lady like and gentlemanly, for instance the broking and the pro necklaces kind of annoy me when I see them on women cause they are just too preppy.
I use them in a way that they become almost irrelevant of their status, hidden behind seams or they grow out of a seam either the are attached in a different way and become a utility, not just decoration. This is something I like doing also, using decoration at the same time in a functional way.
Remember the metal piece from an earlier collection of mine? The point wasn’t to create something shiny with a reflection in order to simply impress the guests of the show.
I thought of it as a garment that gives you this extra support when you dress up and feel you are wearing “something”. Psychologically, in some dresses this is missing, also in fashion these days. People used to take time to prepare themselves, so I tried to modernize this vintage routine within this shiny dress.
How has your involvement with Halston help your own brand you think?
I think it is such an interesting thing to work for another brand, with another team, travelling in a different country to produce a collection, which proved to be such a precious part of my Halston commitment. Basically you have a team that works abroad, that you are not very close to most of the time, you have different deadlines than your own. All these made me feel much more strong. You know also since I am the only designer there, I don’t have a team that designs alongside me which is exactly the opposite from what happens at Marios Schwab. It surprised me quite a lot. I always thought that it was going to be hardcore, working for two brands at the same time. It is hard but not as difficult I had in mind it would be.
Crazy in what sense?
Meaning the sense of “switching off”. I was surprised on how I could switch off from my collection, going to Halston do something else and then back again and back again… I felt a little bit scared before taking the job. It’s indeed a huge responsibility but you learn to do it, that’s it. Its pretty much like “you have to get on with it”!
What made Halston such a rarity as a House?
Halston as you know was concentrating on enduring fashion and I’d love to see Marios Schwab doing that,..
Halston encloses a story behind it that you can always see something else if you try looking closer. At his time Halston was creating, he offered something that was a very subtle, a minimal way of looking glamorous by wearing something simple and yet looking beautiful and seductive and expensive and clean. He had a very modern way of making clothes. The principle probably is the attractive one, what it was all about. But it was also attached to Studio 54, a very special place of that era and it was in everyone’s expectations. People just love it and for them Halston is attached to Studio 54.
Do you think your customers understand you better than your critics? Also how do you respond to bad criticism?
I don’t read reviews anymore because it just confuses me. After a show you are very tired and very emotional and personally the last thing I want to do is read criticism, good or bad. One critic can lift you up or drag you down which sometimes its not very relevant to a person that works in a very personal way and in private. I go meet people, the consumer, and the woman who wear what I create. You want to hear both at the same time, it normal but when you are still conquered by the after show adrenaline, you can’t just bother with that.
You belong in the Kane, Katrantzou, Pugh and Pilotto generation. It’s somehow like the “Antwerp’s Six” story. What in your opinion, all of you offered in fashion that was missing at the point you appeared?
I think quality, good fit within something that is very special and still acceptable and wearable. London at the time was about things that were more phantasmagorical..
So you are saying that you guys made the difference?
I’m not speaking about the rest, but yes I think that was what was missing at the time without pointing out someone specific.
Let me do that (laughs) all you have to do is agree or disagree (laughs). You all came at a point where as you said everything was very phantasmagoria and finally we had some wearable clothes coming from London, which was not the case before.
Yes, London started having a good balance. More than anything, the overall look was a little bit overwhelming. But I have to say that London is very special on that and supports all kinds of new developments, new ideas in fashion. It has to be said; you can’t really find that anywhere else’s in the world. Many people wonder, “What’s this thing about London, anyway?” But its true, London within this experimental nonsense or sometimes good sense it creates certain movements and in a way creates the platform for all of us to stand onto tomorrow..
What would be a designer’s weakness you think? What’s your weakness in that case?
Deadlines (laughs), free time. I can never organize myself to have a life. In this business you become very critical about what you do. It’s the mentality of living in your own bubble, creating for somebody else can be quite intimidating at some times, for others as well..
How difficult is for a designer to cross lots of different ages in one collection?
It’s a matter of confidence of the client. If you see a curvaceous person that wears a skin-tight garment, regardless of her age, whether she is a young girl or a woman and she has the confidence and attitude that matches the whole personality and appeal its instantly a success. This equals that the designer must have done something right.
Would you tell a client if she doesn’t look good in your dress?
Yes if she would ask me I would definitely tell her my opinion. If she didn’t, then why I would I tell her if she is happy with it? It’s her choice and one needs to respect that.
How do you see the present of Fashion?
Shall we move to the next question? (Laughs). It’s interesting because it’s changing and its not changing at all. I think what changed is the way we get informed, how we advertise, and talk about things, how we buy things.
Everybody has a question mark about what they are doing these days…
The non-interesting part of this global change is throughout this financial downhill, the how quickly we gain information around us can make things very boring and very …
Things are supposed to be fast in fashion and although it seems that way, there is no new development in music and so many other creative sectors; and that is a shame because people stopped thinking unnaturally and they want to get into so many different characters since there are surrounded by so much information and don’t know how to handle it. They don’t have the time to study the new, see it from a distance, observe it, analyse it. It’s not a concrete period, there’s no certain opinion about things. You want to dive into so many different things because you have no other option.
It takes one bad collection to take a designer out of the spotlight you think?
I don’t know how it is but I wouldn’t see it that way I don’t know. You can have a bad collection because you decided to go on extended holydays and have a bit of a life.
Its interesting to mention that fashion can be such a fluff in the air. People think Balenciaga is amazing and next season they think Givenchy is the most interesting thing…sometimes it can become a little…I don’t know how to explain.. Do people have an opinion at the end? In previous decades or centuries this wasn’t much the case. Things were very specific. I’m talking about how people dressed, the way people reacted on fashion, art, their opinion…It was about dressing up your own way, to look pretty your own way and the way they looked upon things. Its not about buying the total look its about buying items from a collection in order to combine them with what you already have and make your look your own.
Marios at his favorite afternoon stroll and part of his butterfly collection. Photography by René Habermacher
You own your own company—nobody owns you. How’s that for a responsibility considering the reality of the fashion houses today?
I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, no. The point is that our times as it is, its quite difficult to increase your team members, the structure, to tap into things you always dreamed of, like the way you want your company to spread out…
It’s not easy to do it by yourself without investment, or being helped by another source. It would be a shame to only be able to create clothes and not a whole product, that doesn’t only concentrate on fashion, not being able to communicate it right. Sometimes you don’t have the time or the money or both. But help must be welcomed.
I am curious to know, how many people work for you?
Hold on I need to count…Five full timers, mainly administrative and office work. I have one assistant that concentrates on fabrics and the boards.
Do you give chances to interns?
YES!! Yes!! Interns are so important, I like teamwork and when I refer to the team as always say “we”. It’s confusing for people. Who’s “we”?
I see myself as a craftsman, as I said before, I like to work within like a team that creates something that needs to be educated to us , to find our how its done and how its made and it takes a team of people that are special and committed to do that .
You can drive people crazy when you just give directions and not get involved in the making with them. For us especially, as we make all the samples in-house and it can get a little crazy. Students and the team that is here for years working with me seems like a family, we get emotional and fun and relaxed at the same time.
What I want from a student is to learn something special while running around in all the sections of the company, doing things, the boring jobs even,.. They need to have a complete idea on what it takes to be a designer because their time will come to open their own business.
Fashion is not a fantasy nor a party…
Do you ever let yourself go? Is there anything in your personality that you really have to keep a tight grip on?
The most important thing for me is family. They are part of what I do. My dad and mother enabled me to leave home at 15 to do what I wanted to do, feel free. They are critical about my work, which is very very important for me. Sometimes my mom doesn’t like certain things as she is a woman with style and she was the first who gave me the inside of quality and aesthetics.
In my private life I collect images I find beautiful. I like a variety of things, I love the impactful emotion when I sit on a beach somewhere in Greece, or sitting with old women on an island’s quiet little street, hearing them talk …Easy things and simple like that…
I like creating through emotion and experiences, history, the women I met n my life, their attitude, character. It can be very cinematographic. I build up a whole fictional character, created from my acquaintances with different women throughout my life.
What was the last thing that Stimulated you?
For your embeddable pleasure, a story of bags, fashion, crime, and more bags, commissioned by Vogue Italia.
Who is hiding behind those Prada shades ? What is she doing ? Will she get caught ?
A Short Film With
LA MAIN DANS LE SAC
Quinta Witzel @ IMG Paris
Romina Manenti @ Airport
Shane Aspegren & Lori Schonberg
The Berg Sans Nipple
They’re not even close to turning 30.
And yet they are releasing their third fashion film superproduction, IS THIS REAL LIFE for designers Mastori and Motwary, on Vogue Italia; and doing the cover story for UNDER THE INFLUENCE, out on Friday.
They are… Suzie Q and Leo Siboni.
Antoine Asseraf: how did the two of you meet ?
Suzie Q & Leo Siboni: We met while studying at Ecole des Gobelins, Paris, in 2005. At first we helped each other out for our personal projects, and then in 2007 we started working together.
And what was your first project as a duo ?
It was a photo series for the fashion magazine DOUBLE, named SCREENPLAY. We used different films by John Ford, projected as a background.
The idea was to establish a relationship between John Wayne and the model.
At Gobelins, did you both study photography ? And why did you start with fashion photography ?
Yes, we both studied photography. For us fashion is a way to experiment, fashion imagery is about mise-en-scène, putting the clothes forward.
Paradoxically, what we like the most are the constraints.
It helps you create, pressures you to act quickly. It’s rather intense.
Funny that your photo series should be about cinema…
Cinema inspires us a lot. We work more and more with the idea of an image within the image, of a certain depth, a frame within the frame. In the end I think we’re attached to the idea of the screen.
At last, at last. After an epic ping pong interview months in the making, here it is. Painter – turned video artist turned – precocious fashion film director Justin Anderson.
He has a bum fetish, just like everyone else.
BIKE by Justin Anderson, for Armani Jeans. Still by René Habermacher.
Antoine Asseraf: What is the last thing that stimulated you ?
Justin Anderson: On Friday night – I watched a film by Jean Pierre Melville – ARMY OF SHADOWS.
It had a big effect on me. It is brutal but very paired down without any melodrama. None of the actors either particularly young or good looking, the direction is tight and the subject really tough. It is about the French resistance to German occupation – it is about death, betrayal and torture.
The film was gripping was absolutely masterful. What I love is that I discovered this film because I loved the way Alain Delon looked in LE FLIC in his raincoat – which then led me to such a film. I feel very lucky to live in a time in which it is so easy to discover these kinds of gems and I love the fluid way you can to move from one to the other.
So, which would you say are you main influences in film-making – classic films such as the ones you just mentioned, or more experimental fare ?
All kinds of image making influence me particularly fine art – which is how I trained. I would say the paintings of Fontana, Morandi, Barnett Newman, Stella, Ryman, the sculptures of Brancusi, Donald Judd artist like Walter de Maria. Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman were particular influence to me. These have all impacted on my filmmaking as much or more so than other film makers because that is what I studied for years. I suppose my taste currently in film making are as you say classics. I was hugely influenced by Buñuel when I was introduced to it as a 14 year old boy by a very good art teacher at school – he knew exactly how to stimulate a 14 year old boy.
Currently I working my way through the classic European film makers of the last century, Bergman, Antonioni, Chabrol, Renoir and recently Melville. Having not studied film I feel like I have a lot to catch up on.
UNTITLED VIDEO STILL by Justin Anderson. Courtesy of Gerwerbe Karl Marx Gallery, Berlin.
So how did you transition from fine art – painting if I’m correct – to video ?
I started working in video quite along time ago whilst still studying at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. The work was structuralist and minimal – I chewed gum live on television for 5 minutes, made a video in NYC where I drew the lines of a huge tennis court across midtown Manhattan and the dove them with a camera attached to the roof of a car. The video camera was moved through space like making a drawing – instead of leaving a marking on the space you were recording what is there.
I made a video of a guy dressed in protective sports gear standing against a wall and shouting “Just do it” in German whilst I served tennis balls at him as hard as I could. It was quite violent (our friendship ended soon after!).
At the time I was making very large paintings of the lines on parts of sports courts- it all seemed to flow from one to another- the video camera was just another from of mark making. The videos had virtually no editing and certainly no close ups or variants in the shots.
Suzanne von Aichinger is a modern archetype of the Parisian muse, in spite of the fact that she was born in Germany, and grew up in Canada.
She was discovered by the legendary illustrator Antonio Lopez, whom she considers to be one of the great influences in her life, as well as a very close friend. She inspired and collaborated closely in the design studios, with Christian Lacroix, John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier. Suzanne von Aichinger posed for iconic photographers Serge Lutens, Paolo Roversi, Mario Testino, Jean Loup Sieff, Ali Madhavi, David Seidner, and strutted down the catwalks of Yves St Laurent, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Gianni Versace, Christian Dior (Galliano) , Hermes, Martin Margiela, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier.
In Greek mythology, the Sirens with the irresistible charm of their song, lured mariners to their destruction on the rocks surrounding their island..
SUZANNE VON AICHINGER feature, is a collaboration between Un nouVeau iDEAL and THE STIMULEYE Fashion Editor : Ines Fendri ⎜ Make Up : Akiko Sakamoto ⎜ Hair : Karin Bigler Production : Lynsey Peisinger for THE STIMULEYE Special Thanks to Mr Rick Owens and Anne van den Bosche @ Rick Owens Press Office
KALI, Suzanne von Aichinger wears a Rick Owens cape and gloves, all FW2011. Photography by René Habermacher
I always liked her and when we finally became friends, I liked her even more. In the following conversation Suzanne shares her thoughts on fashion, music, talent, the water, mythology and other obscurities. You are about to discover the muse, the model, the artist, the stylist..
I caught her leg on her daybreak between styling for a Vogue photo shoot and organizing a major project.
FILEP MOTWARY: Hi beautiful? So it was very difficult to catch you in the past two months. What have you been up to?
SUZANNE von AICHINGER: I know Filep. I’ve been a little like Houdini…escaping. But for a good reason. I had plenty of work and styling projects
Tell me more about it please. It seems you work non-stop.
It’s been good for me lately. I’ve been styling some perfume campaigns, editorials for Russian Vogue, Italian Vanity Fair, doing photos with Dita, and now I’m preparing another perfume campaign, and a major photo shoot with one of the MOST gorgeous women on the planet.
Oh Gosh, indeed its a lot. You mean the actress, Elisa Sednaoui? Ali posted a shot of her on twitter…
Oh what a beauty Elisa is!!! But, I’m referring to another lady…very iconic. I don’t know if I should say who it is. I don’t like to talk about things before they come out…
I understand. How easy it is for you to collaborate with people. What a concept needs to have in order to get you involved in it?
Collaborating with people is my ultimate way of creating. I find the dynamic of working with another or others, stimulating, and proven a successful way of expression for me.
How do you make your choices? Is money an important motive or not always?
There has to be an element that compels me, something that excites my imagination. I also have to feel that I have something relevant to bring to the story. Money is very often not a motive. But, sometimes it is an essential part of creation. We must also live, make a living, etc. You have to know when to give and when to sell!! There is no shame in being paid for a job well done. Andy Warhol considered making money the highest art form. I’m not sure that I adhere to this philosophy, but I don’t love being broke either. I like the freedom that having some cash on hand can procure you.
On the other hand there might be talented people, who would love your contribution but, lets say, cannot afford you. How would you react in such conditions?
I usually say YES to a project, which stimulates me. It’s not about the $$$. It’s about the action. I believe in working with people that I consider talented or kindred spirits. As people of great talent have wanted to work with me, when I had no money to pay them. Just for the sheer joy of seeing an idea become a reality.
I wanted to ask you about the photo shoot you just did with René Habermacher. It’s so iconic, yet in a very special way. How was working with René?
I loved it. We had a beautiful day together, with a great creative team. We wanted to express in this series, something that is based more on personality, than fashion. I feel that there are many stories to be told in my future with René. There is a quality in his vision that is very strong and appealing.
CASSANDRA, Suzanne von Aichinger wears a Rick Owens dress, boots and gloves, all FW2011. Photography by René Habermacher
Exactly my point. The photographs serve our conversation so right! I’m very happy that Rick Owens was so positive when I contacted him for the garments. He is always so nice to me. Also for the fact that we shot his winter collection which is by far my favorite!
So am I! I LOVE Rick! He is one of my favorites. And, his fashion is timeless. I know that this can sound cliché, but if you have some pieces by Rick from 12 years ago, they are as relevant as pieces that he has made 2 days ago. They don’t go in and out of fashion. They have their own essence and place.
Having in mind that Rick’s clothes are so special, yet the 2000’s are the epitome of diversity. Each designer points out a different outline every season, there is so much choice. How do you see fashion now yourself, as a stylist?
It’s hard for me to answer this. I see many great things happening, no doubt. But, I see a lot of nonsense going on as well. There is not enough power any more in the hands of the creators. Now, big design houses change designers like they change their underwear. Just ridiculous. There is no time for the designer in place to create a brand identity, that he is fired. And very often, they find out that they’ve been fired, by reading about it in the papers.
It’s as if the financial/commercial people at the heads of some houses, envied the position of creator, and wished to usurp it. They believe that they are capable of being the creator. WRONG!!!!