It’s totally beyond hair styling. He calls it haute coiffure…or with easier words.. eccentric hairpieces. How do we talk about? Well, lets say “the one”. Yes, Charlie Le Mindu. He started his carrier, or more likely, he started to work in a salon for “grannies” in France in his early teenage years and continued later on to punk salons – still not even in his 20ties. Then heading to Berlin and created pop-up hair salons at the hippest clubs in town. But it was in London his wigs started to grow and he launched his first wig collection at London Fashion week. His sculptural and avant-garde wigs entered the fashion scene and the love affair with the fashion crowd was a fact. Lets adore his fall winter 2014-2015 collection!
A STYLE TO FIND WHEN YOU DIG DEEPER
The dramatic duo For BDK has created an entirely irreplaceable sound with their self-made genre “drug beat” – a total obscure and suggestive but in the same way scenic sound letting you meet your inner soul. Titles like “New ways of digging deeper” and “What I must find” calls for you to enter the world of the surreal and thrilling. However the vocal is as astonishing as opaque the singer Adele Kosman own personal style is quit flamboyant and showy – and she is well known for being the “splash of color” at the club scene in Stockholm. We met Adele to talk more about her artistic style – both on stage and in the clubs!
At stage your appearance has a touch of immensity always with a flavor of darkness – but your personal style is still quite often flashing with colors and far-out details – do you separate your style on stage and your personal presence?
- Yes, I definitely do. What basically separates the two styles is color and also pattern but they do influence and inspire one another. I love patterns, but I tend to use clothes with a cleaner and subtler surface and I let layering and the entirety be a greater importance when I am on stage.
How do the vocals blend with your stage look – what’s your thought behind your appearance for your performance?
- I aim to dress dramatic but it differs from time to time in what way I try to accomplish this. Sometimes it ends up with feathers, large shoulders and black claws, animal like - while other times I seek chains and leather for a more gothic style. I need to feel the magic and it need to have that ‘click’ before I can settle for an outfit.
Your image on stage as well as your personal style tells that you have an special eye for fashion and how to create a piece of art of yourself – tell us more about how your looks come together?
- I don’t really have a ritual or procedure but I always have a feeling of what atmosphere I want my appearance to bring. Sometimes I spend hours dressing and sometimes I only need 5 minutes. When I have a day set for a gig I try to plan it in my head in advance, at least the key combination. It really helps prevent the stupid dress anxiety that can arise.
Your interest in fashion is a fact – do you also collaborate with designers to get your expression as perfect as the vocals?
- I have designed together with Julia Koistinen, Ebbe Harder, Filip Palmén, Hannah Hernegran and Emilia Engblad. Though all of these designers create truly amazing pieces without my influence, but it has been fun and interesting to combine different ideas and backgrounds to create something together. I have also worn several pieces of these designers from previous collections and periods, especially Julia Koistinen. Other than these I also collaborate with Denim is Dead, KLAUN Collective and adore all of Ann-Sofie Back's work.
Your face is also well known during the Fashion weeks - how important is it also to be a part of the fashion industry?
- I assume it’s important, though it’s not the reason to why I go. The main reason I go is to experiment with my own creations, and I know that many of my “fashion friends” would say the same. It is a lot more fun to go a bit over the top and try to improve ones combination if it can be shown in a room where it can be appreciated. At the same time it also brings me pleasure to be stared down and frowned upon on the sub in broad daylight when I have a slutty-ailen-silver-queen look going on. And of course I also go to see my friend’s creations.
Your style has been exposed in magazines like Elle – how essential is the style for For BDK (also including Marcus Borrman)? Do you see the vocals playing with the looks?
- We see it as one. It’s all art and it all contributes to the artistic experience at a gig or wherever we may be exposed.
Any favorite stores in Stockholm or around the world – or do you prefer everything to be self-made?
- I often dig in thrift shops. The latest garment I bought was at Popcorn Secondhand in Bandhagen, where I also live at the moment. Self made is amazing, though its often more expensive and it takes a lot of time
Where can we see For BDK during spring and summer?
- We’re going to travel a bit, for pleasure, and make an EP.
The Chinese fashion designer Christine Lau know how to draw the perfect lines for here brand Chictopia – both for the prints and the balance between elegance and quirkiness. For the spring/summer 14 collection you can tell the elegant and sophisticated fabric plays with the funky and distinct prints – something we would call a blend of Picasso, Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli. Target group? Lets say someone that is as fun as confident – a real personality in our eyes!
The artist duo Craig & Karl – or Craig Redman and Karl Maier – create simplicity in its most expressive and eccentric form. Personalities playing with pop esthetics would be one way to describe all work signed Craig & Karl. They grew up together in Australia but live today in different parts of the world – and still work together. Maybe they kept the way of “living youth”? Regardless working method their concept is solid as a rock. Their studios in London and New York seem to be synchronized – no matter what type of project. The list of clients speaks for itself: Nike, Apple, Vogue and The New York Times - and now lets add Le Specs to the list. The limited edition eyewear collection named For eyes screams Craig & Karl – as well as the campaign pics shot by Alex Sainsbury. It’s all about installation, illustration and art direction as its very best and bold way!
Robert G Bartholot let us in to a cartoony world with references from our society that surrounds us but also fictional characters - always with the consideration of letting the beholder find their own point of view and perspective. The Berlin based artist is involved in every step of the process and his title visual artist includes everything from set design, to art direction and photography. The expressions create the feelings of a fusion between art, illustration, design and fashion – and his photographic illustrations has been made for both bold advertising campaigns and personal projects. The esthetics is as obscure as well-defined and you can tell when an artwork is signed Bartholots!
IT’S ALL ABOUT PIPE-CLEANERS
The artist Don Porcella makes art out of low-brow materials. His sculptures and figures are created by a unique weaving technique as well as thousands of pipe-cleaners. Some pieces in human size take up to six month and they tend to have a humorous commentary to the society. We met “The pipe-cleaner guy” Don Porcella at the Swatch Art Peace hotel in Shanghai.
When did you first discover pipe-cleaners as a material to use?
- I grew up in suburban Modesto with a mum that was a weaver and I left my hometown to leave the influences from this art form behind. I was living in New York and one day at an craft fair I discovered small pieces made out of pipe-cleaners that got stuck in my mind. By that time I worked part time representing a college and traveled all around the country to visit high schools. Since I was on the road all the time and didn’t have a studio, the pipe-cleaners came to my mind again. It was something I could bring along and also play around with regardless my location - even when I was on a plane or on a train.
You turn low-brow material into art - what is it you like about pipe-cleaners?
- For me art is about solving problems and pipe-cleaners was a way for me to make “art on the road” – and it still is. Even when I make human size figures I can do parts of the piece when I am out traveling or on my way somewhere. The pipe-cleaners are both my thread and needle. Small objects like cigarettes or even a hand can be made basically wherever I am. It’s very portable.
Why does the material fascinate you so much?
- I started to grow a technique of braiding and suddenly my past was tied together with the future in a natural way. In a world where everything is made by machines the handmade pieces becomes more valuable. You can understand the work behind by the details. As a material pipe-cleaners are also very multifaceted and it reminds me of “Stitch ‘n Bitches”; the social knitting groups for like they say “gossip and sewing”. It’s allows you to have fun and in the same time do some unique pieces of art!
Your art is kind of cartoony but also tells a lot about our society. What are your thoughts when creating?
- I enjoy making fun of the market and I like when people walk away with a smile – but is also totally fine if they don’t get the joke and just think is fun – like a cartoon.
Big brands are returning in your art like New Balance sneakers. Do you have an own sneakers collection…made by yourself?
- I have done some pieces of art for the fashion market, but since I am a fan of New Balance I started to make sneakers of pipe-cleaners. I wanted a pair of New Balance 574’s to myself but since I couldn’t find them I started to mix them together with pipe-cleaners instead. Now I have six sneakers made in my very own collection. New Balance also picked it up on their blog as many others in the industry.
What are you working on right now?
- Right now I’m staying at the Swatch Art Peace hotel; a residency for artists in Shanghai. I am also planning to have my own art studio here in Shanghai. At the same time I am running Porcella Coffee Roasters. It’s my own coffee brand inspired by the Porcella family’s agricultural and farming traditions. We sell small batches of coffee beans to coffee lovers. You can also see me perform my own music – I’m in tree different bands.
When combining innovative elements with traditional craftsmanship you got some extraordinary contemporary fashion design – at least if Yiqing Yin is behind the sketches. Since the Chinese-born and now Paris based haute couture designer graduate from Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs she has started to make a name for herself. At 2010 she was invited to show her first collection at Hyères International Festival and after the success Paris Fashion Week followed. Besides her own collections she is now also the creative director of the French brand Léonard. Yiqing Yin sees couture designer as an experimental laboratory and the fashion world values it!
The eccentric artist Cindy Sherman don’t need any introduction. Her clown series are our favorites among her work during the years. The series of clowns began at 2003 and explore the emotions of the painted faces. It said that the serie’s are inspired by a pair of pyjamas with fur-like buttons which the artist purchased at a yard sale and that the digitally manipulated background refers to traditional, brightly colored circus posters (source: National galleries). She’s playing jokes with the art world and makes it so brilliant - still always with the obscene and dark around the corner exploring identities.
The artist Li Xiaofeng makes some heavy and rare pieces; wearable contemporary design made by Chinese ceramics. The porcelain often comes from archeological findings and together they create a rearranged landscape from his homeland. Li Xiaofeng combines pieces of porcelain by drilling holes and use a silver wire as the thread. His work has been described as “post-orientalism” taking form as everything from traditional Chinese dresses to a Lacoste polo shirt. This is when commercial and contemporary design is having the best time together!
Voluminous shapes, organza, feathers and chains were key words for the Bird Nest; the third collection by designer George Keburia - and we would add surreptitious. With Bird nest this young and up and coming designer won the award Be next as well as the community’s choice in the MUUSExVOGUE award 2012. The fashion world need a designer from Georgia!
The Japanese but Paris based designer Hideki Seo has since his graduation at the Royal Academy of Belgium 2005 been the right hand man to Azzedine Alaia. The award-winning designer has nevertheless some own collection to be proud of. You can tell his Japanese roots are a source for the visual feeling - very sculptural, dragon-like, oversized and creature looking. He has appeared in exhibition like “ARRRGH! Monsters in Fashion” at Athens’ Benaki Museum among many other – and we guess more will come!
The designer Jan Taminiau designs for the women of his dreams and he give her a whole universe with a soul. Couture is for Jan Taminiau a freedom of thinking, a lab and a place of discovery and development and a translating of his mind. The collection Irradiance from 2011 shown at Paris Fashion Week is a prof of this – mysterious, romantic, original fabrics all made with a perfect artistry; exactly the way Jan Taminiau wants to design. He is well known for his love for traditional production techniques, antique materials, the search for the right shape and the penchant for aesthetics. You can certainly tell!
The photographer Phyllis Galembo captures cultural performance with political edge and combines art with anthropology. Her work is a celebration of masquerading rituals and she started photographing the characters and costumes of African masquerade in Nigeria in 1985. Since then she has developing her theme throughout Africa and the Caribbean. The characters have its roots in in African religion and spirituality and are expressed during tribal or carnival tradition. The mask and costumes shares information about our identity, our place in society and stories about our self - and are definitely inspirational!
TOP OF THE CHERRY
Wallenberg, Grebnellaw or Kirri-Kumma…the identities differs but they all arise from the universe called New Population – and they are all on Top of the Cherry!
You work between visual and performing art and create a world of your own – where are you taking us?
- The lyrics for my last song are taken us to the Top of the Cherry. It’s definitely the place where it all can come together…thinking about it I am very pleased that my subconscious mind has manifested such optimistic words. Top of the Cherry is like the philosophers stone, an elixir of life, a cosmic orgasm of words, music, sound, and performance. So yes, I would like to take you all to the Top of the Cherry were these elements come together and are transmuted into gold.
Wallenberg is a performance act as well as vocals - is one of them leading or how do you define the concept?
- Probably, it’s fair to say that the concept is my imaginary universe named New Population where I create a collection of characters out of elements from popular culture such as photography and mass-produced objects. Observing these static and silent characters I was playing with the idea if there was a way to breathe life into them. So then I became fascinated by the simple idea of activating them through sound and music. Wallenberg and my other musical wanderings KirriKumma and Pinky Lizardbrain are all in many ways a continuation of New Population on stage.
How do you travel between your identities?
-For every Wallenberg concert or performance I take on a new identity. You could say it’s a creation ritual. Until now many of the characters on stage have had historical identities and have been female archetypes like heroines, warriors and high priestesses. Recently Wallenberg has become two faced and a forceful alter ego has emerged that demands more space than the others. It’s Grebnellaw!! Wallenberg and Grebnellaw are two sides of the same coin; a Janus face. Wallenberg looks back into the past where the ghosts of Surrealism, Dada, Bauhaus and Commedia’dell Arte wander and Grebnellaw gaze into the future towards gene technology and new human hybrids. Wallenberg is the YIN and Grebnellaw is the YANG. Wallenberg is classic and Grebnellaw has a more raw approach. Wallenberg is Rome and Grebnellaw is Stockholm.
Your costumes are conceptual and seem to have a certain theme: red and white, round shaped objects and inflatable dresses – when and how did your visual identity start developing?
- Yes, it’s true that I have used spheres but the classic geometric shape of Wallenberg is really the triangle as in the Harlequin and diamond pattern. It’s interesting that the Harlequinis actually the Devil. I just made a one of a kind red and white Wallenberg dress that sort of sums up an esthetic that I have been developing over the past years. I created the fabric for the dress out of 3000 hand cut triangles and then made an irregular diamond pattern. The Wallenberg silhouette is very much defined by the torus around the waist in combination with oversized shapes adorning the head and other parts of the body. The red and white color combination is very important but I also incorporate white, black, silver and gold. I am pleased that it is this way as it limits the choices, and sometimes you have to let the fiery senses rest. It’s hard to put a date on this development but certainly my performances on places related to water pushed the volume of the dresses, as they needed to be able to float. It’s also where the red and white color scheme became solidified.
Wallenberg is an ongoing collaboration and includes other artists as well – how do you select your partners in crime?
- Anybody who wants to do a bank robbery with me is of course welcome :). Other than that I wouldn’t say that there is a particular selection process. It’s more like you meet someone and you feel some kind of sparkle ignite. It’s very spontaneous!
Your lyrics are suggestive and poetic - how would you describe your music genre?
- As electronic Pop, some kind of folk music. I spend a lot of time on the songwriting and the lyrics. In the beginning it was more fluid, now I often struggle with the words. At this time I think it would be productive with some kind of collaboration. I like to keep things fairly accessible and universal musically and lyrically, but of course that’s pretty much a contradiction, as the poetic in the romantic sense, is very much endangered specie today.
And what is happening next for Wallenberg?
- Wallenberg will develop a performance for Karin Victorins new project “Drag as Art” that will debut at Södra Teatern on the 13th of June. I will create a new set of gender bending post human characters and show them as projections while I perform a new piece of music. Wallenberg has also been included in an exhibition about stage fashion called “Staged Fashion – Designed Identities” at Falkenberg Museum that opens on the 25th of May. You get to meet the designers behind the Hives, the Knife, Yohio, Roger Pontare and many others. Other news is that a new song by Wallenberg will be uploaded at wallenberg.bandcamp.com very shortly. It’s a sort of Dance Macabre, a flirt with death, called Dark Cabaret. I think it’s one of my favouritet songs so I am very curious how people will react to it. I recorded it over a year ago so it’s about time that I open up the gates and let it fly….
Konstantin Gayday is a Russian designer with eclectic headpieces as specialties. The themes and inspiration comes from religious views like Christianity, Hinduism and even Paganism and Shamanism – often created with nature close to heart. Grand Russian celebrities have worn his pieces and he won the title Best Designer 2012 selected by GQ Russia. Decadence with religious outlooks is certainly his homeland!