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5 Minutes with Ostwald Helgason, London.

Interview by Alexandra Rhodes for LURVE magazine.

How did you come to work together?

We met in 2013 working for Marjan Pejoski who designed Bjork’s swan dress and both Ingvar and me had the same magazine with the same Pejoski shoot sometime in 2002 and wanted to work for this guy. We met there and we obvsiouly had a similar taste and we got together and then I went back to Germany and finished my studies and then I finally moved  to London and ever since we’ve worked together 24/7.

 

What are the benefits of working with your partner in life and in business? Are there any downsides?

It’s great and intense at the same time! But we compliment each other. I’m more the creative part and he’s more the business part and I know when he is finally happy with something it’s good! That’s the aim! He really keeps me on my toes, otherwise I’d be all over the place!

 

What were the inspirations for the SS14 show?

The inspiration for this season is a celebration and happiness. It’s a personal thing for Ingvar and me as we just had our 10 year anniversary. We went through a bit of tough patch this year and it turned out well in the end so we basically made a collection full of flowers and balloon animals so it’s super happy!

 

Describe some of the design elements in the collection.

We did a collaboration with Aldo this season and that started really early and so we had to sort our design processes really early so that gave us chance to develop all our fabrics. We have a mill in France that is doing the Dior couture fabrics where we basically gave them the designs for the balloon animals and they made this beautiful jacquard out of it. We have another fantastic factory in Italy that we’ve been working with a few years and they made this fabric for us.  It’s a frayed organza wool. We’ve been working on it for two years and we can finally use it. We’re super excited about it and we’re going to take it to the next season.

 

Do you have a muse for the collection?

Our girl is young, adventurous and free spirited. She’s someone who likes to stand out without feeling uncomfortable.

 

How would you describe your aesthetic?

Sporty silhouettes in crazy materials.

 

You have gained a lot of exposure through street style and count Mira Duma, Natalie Joos and Anya Ziourova as fans. Do you have a favourite girl?

I love seeing them all, each one of them has their own personal styles. It’s always great to see how they take our looks and accessories them and mix them up. They make them their own.

 

What is your opinion on the street style phenomenon?

I think it’s amazing. If they hadn’t discovered our collection I don’t know where we would be nowadays and taking fashion to the street is so exciting. It has been happening over the years but now with the internet it’s so much more public and accessible to everybody. Even if you weren’t at the Chanel show you can check it out online. These people have always existed, there have always been cool girls dressing in amazing garments but now everybody can see them!

 

How did you first get recognition?

Natalie Joos’ sister Evelien did our first casting so Natalie came to the show, saw the pieces, picked out a crazy striped look and she went to the Chanel show with it. At that show Mira saw it and ran up to her and asked her where it was from. She contacted us and asked us if she could wear it for couture week. At the same time Anya was wearing a very similar outfit to the same Chanel show. We thought it would be a fashion disaster because it wasn’t planned but it turned out amazingly and suddenly there were all these twin looks going on!

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Interview by Alexandra Rhodes for LURVE magazine.

Stylist, photographer and creative director of online zine Shop-Ghost, Stevie Dance is something of a Renaissance woman. Since leaving her native Australia and an editorship at Russh in 2010 for the Big Apple, Dance has gone from strength to strength establishing herself as one of the industry’s most sought-after stylists and earning herself gigs at
Vogue Australia, Pop and Oyster to name a few. We caught up with the film student turned stylist to discuss childhood dreams of being a jock and her love of mohair.

Tell us about your childhood. What were you like as a child?

I was a dancer. I still love dancing. I’m not sure my personality has changed that much.
I just try to keep moving. I am pretty idealistic, confrontational at the best and worst of times and fearless (bar having my picture taken!)

When did you first become interested in fashion?

I’m not sure it was ever about fashion for me.  As a kid I was obsessed with the underdog and with rebelling. I constantly wanted to express some sense of empathy. I would do that with the way I dressed or with what I appreciated. In some ways I guess these are just telling signs of being an adolescent. But it stayed with me.

You are a creative director, photographer, stylist and the founder of Shop-Ghost. What’s the secret to balancing all of your creative energy?
Just to keep it going. I don’t know, if I didn’t it would come out in other ways. When I am not busy, I am often sleepless.

How would you describe your aesthetic?  Was it as fully formed at the beginning? Did it develop over time?
I know what I like.  I did then. I do now. But I love learning from others. That is really the essence of Shop-Ghost. Finding intrigue in how other people choose to present themselves.

Your styling has a minimal, raw quality, which seems very “of the moment”. Do you ever worry about becoming irrelevant?
I don’t think anyone’s taste is ever irrelevant.


So how did you develop your way of styling and your signature as a stylist, which is so strong? How did that evolve? It seems very sincere in an industry which is so often associated with frivolity.

I think it has developed from music, from growing up by the sea as well as the city, from my time as a ballet dancer, from wanting to be a jock, from going to an all girls high school and wearing a uniform, from the subversive elements that stemmed as a rebellion of that rigid community. I don’t know, from my mum’s laissez faire attitude, to my father’s classicism back to music again. It just comes doesn’t it?

How would you describe your personal style and how does that manifest itself in your work?
I like to keep it simple. Especially now I’m living in New York. I walk everywhere.
It can be cold and too hot.I like clothes to feel lived in and real and discrete and a bit romantic. So I guess my practicality is apparent in my work.

How would you describe your creative process? Where do you find an idea for a shoot?
From my observations, from my imagination, from art, from movies, from where I live, from talking to people.

What was the first shoot you ever worked on?
As a stylist, one of the first was with a very young Karlie Kloss, and it was a mohair story. I love mohair.

What do you think of when someone mentions the word “stylist?”
Hard work.

How do you feel about the current celebration of the stylist?
I think celebrating the role a stylist plays, as part of the team that makes an image and can make that image endure is awesome.

How do you think that the digital world has changed the job of a fashion editor? Do you think the Internet’s a positive thing for the fashion industry?
I think it is of a time. It is exciting at the moment.

Shop-Ghost combines both style and commerce. Do you consider fashion as art or utility?
I see fashion as a means of self-expression. As a means by which to address your opinions about popular culture. I don’t know if one can categorize it definitively as either art or utility. It is a subjective experience and it is a grey scale.

Do you think that there’s a big difference between looking at an image online versus one on paper?
I am a tactile person. I like to be able to rip an image out and stick it on my wall. But I also really admire the democracy of online publishing and if you have a printer, there is still a way to engage with what you like.

What’s inspiring you at the moment?
Dancing to rap and laughing really hard and swapping music with my buds. I love swapping music with people.

Who are your heroes?
Joan Didion, Terrence Malick, Van Morrison, Eames.

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Highly recognized for her «Fashion Alphabet» or for her «Face of Fashion» series, one to watch New-York based fashion illustrator Natalia Jhete agree to answer a few questions .

 

Interview by Kristina Gisors, Photos by Michael Schwartz and Illustrations by Natalia Jhete for LURVE magazine.


Let us know the main reason you became a fashion illustrator? Has fashion always fascinated you and how long have you been doing it?

My childhood was almost completely immersed into the art world.From elementary to middle school I was enrolled in fine arts and painting classes along with the normal academic classes. By the time I was ready for high school I enrolled in the DESIGN & Architecture Senior High school  in Miami’s design district. What was interesting about this school was that on top of taking your everyday academic and art classes you also had the opportunity to study architecture, graphics, film, industrial design or fashion. I decided to study fashion design which opened a gateway that led me to my current work as a fashion illustrator. 


Do you have unexpected inspirations that motivate and influence your work? Describe your style. Which designers are your favorite to illustrate

My studies in fashion history and design have had such a big role in what inspires me as an artist. Typically fashion illustrator find themselves inspired by clothes or silhouettes but what inspires me is the attitude of the woman who is wearing the clothes. While I do find myself in love with looks from designers like Alexander Wang and Alber Elbaz I am so much more fascinated with understanding their muse and recreating her attitude in my illustrations. On top of attitude I always find myself inspired by all things surreal, to me there is something so beautiful about creating something that is pure from your own imagination. 


What is an ordinary day for Natalia Jhete: work, methods and inspirations, programs, tools & materials - the process of creating new illustrations?

Right now I’d have to say life is pretty good. A typical day begins with with me getting out of bed and setting myself up in my work space. The downstairs area of my apartment has been transformed into a giant mood board; the largest wall is filled from floor to ceiling with all types of paintings, editorials, magazine tears and photos of women and art that inspire me.  Most of my work is watercolor and pencil based so I have a travel kit that stores all my goodies but my favorite tools have to be this one set of carved color pencils. They are so beautiful that I refuse to use them because i don’t want them to run out.  When its time to finally get to business I do not have any particular ritual… I usually just give my wall a glance and because there is so much stuff on it I always find something new to get the creative juices flowing.


Visualize yourself in 5 to 10 years - where would you like to see your career, and how do you see your fashion illustrations evolving as relates to the fashion world?

What are some of your professional goals for the future?

Ideally within 5-10 years I see myself in a position that merges my studies in fashion design with my passion for art and illustration. I’ve been very fortunate that my art has been received as well as it has been because it has given me the chance to meet and work with many talented people. Hopefully with these experiences I can be a step ahead when it comes to entering the world of design, but it will always be important for me to continue to express myself as an illustrator. When the time comes i’d love to incorporate my illustrations by designing fabric prints and doing illustrated editorials.


Encouraging words for those who would like to become fashion illustrators?

Advice, recommendations, the best way to get a foot in the industry….

The best advise  I could give to anyone who is trying to persure work as a fashion illustrator is to make a point to put yourself  and your work out there. There is nothing wrong with contacting magazines, photographers and other creative people you want to work with.  The art and fashion industry is so much about creating a network and showing what you have to offer,  so you can’t be shy about your talent. 

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www.nataliajhete.com

Stephanie Lacava

We have been following Stephanie Lacava and her writing adventures for a while, between New York and Paris, her life is a very inspiring journey. Her first book An Extraordinary Theory of Objects is out this month and tells the story of all the strange objects she collected over the years while growing up in Paris. A must read for the holidays. We caught up with the writer for a quick chat about her inspirations.

What promoted your inspiration to write a memoir about your experiences in life, fashion, and everything in between ?
I have always written down so much and little pieces here and there, then the perfect storm happened and I focused on having it all coalesce in some magic way- and it happened. The book really is not on my experiences in fashion as that was my job and professional life, it is a personal story.

We noticed recently you have an interest in strangely beautiful things. Do you feel that beauty is even more defined when slightly distorted ?
I think it is not more defined, maybe harder to see at first and because this more powerful, strangeness, otherworldliness is what makes life palatable in its promise. Whimsy is always a little distortion of reality.

2012 is almost over and if it really does end what are the 5 things that you would like to place in a capsule for the next human species to find ?
Sheet music from Nirvana
A copy of The Little Prince
A skateboard
A Twinkie or tomato seeds
A Cy Twombly photograph

Photos by Ashley Jahncke, interview by Carolina Amaris for LURVE magazine.

Sisters LIZZY AND DARLENE OKPO (oh-po) launched the first collection for their label WilliamOkpo in 2010. Simplicity, subtle detailing and a tad of whimsy are all incorporated into the aesthetic, which is based on their fathers sartorial influence. The early-20s NYC natives talk shop about Spring 2011, familial bonds, and their experiences as young designers.

EUGENIE DALLAND: Tell me about your father and why you named your company after him.
LIZZY OKPO: He is our biggest inspiration as far as style. He came to America in 1976 from Nigeria with 80 dollars and a dream to become a medical doctor. Coming from a third world country, its automatically assumed in some situations that your style is not up to par, but his dressing has always been superb. His suits are on point, his style is amazing, and its very inspirational. He was responsible for our clothing as opposed to our mother. He would buy our dresses, our pants, and to this day he knows our bra size and buys our clothes. He took us school shopping, and he would teach us the right way of dressing. Sometimes he tells us we dont know how to dress, or how to iron our clothes. He spends two hours every day ironing a set of clothes to go to work for the week, he is very organized and he is big on quality.

ED: What is his style like?
DO: Really simple and clean. I remember one time we went to this party he had on this white watch that matched his whole white outfit and I told him I liked his watch and he said, oh thanks, it doesnt work, but he just wore it because it really matched his suit. He is very strategic with how he does things and what he wears.
LO: He has a story for every piece in his closet.

ED: Tell me about the very beginning. What were the circumstances in which you decided to start your collection?
LO: We started how everyone does, reconstructing garments, adding embellishments, and we got recognition from people. I had an idea of this closet that I would fall in love with, but we could not find what we were looking for in stores, so we decided to do it ourselves. We would be in Barnes and Noble researching how to start your own company or where to find investors.
DO: It has been a long time because we thought of this in 2005, but our debut was 2010. The first couple of years were just research, and we both started sewing. I actually started off in nursing, but hated it and left. I was working at H&M and I always loved the aspect of developing a line and getting it from production to the store. We were nervous, because with our Nigerian background, you are always told to go to med school, anything creative was unheard of. Actually Lizzy punked me into speaking to our father first but he saw it coming. It was tearful for us, but we had the support of our family and with a little loan we were able to start a small collection.I went back to school for fashion merchandising, and so when we got started, Lizzy had a years worth of sketches, we just sat down and I was like, [choosing] that one and that one and that one.

ED: I am told that Lizzy is the design director and that Darlene is the creative director. What is the dynamic like?
DO: We are both designers, but I see it more from the merchandising aspect, and assisting the collection. I am the Secret. Lizzy will design something and I will just look at it and say, put a pocket there and Lizzy is like YEAH !
LO: We dance for five seconds and then calm down and then talk about some other garment, you know like lets add a trimming to that and WOAH, and then we just goback, and that is the process.

ED: Do you both tend to agree on the same aesthetic?
LO: We have been fighting since April 7, 1990 [her birthday]. So agreement doesnt really exist but we compromise. We have shared rooms forever, and we have butted heads before so we know how to make it work.
DO: One of the black pants we designed, she just had this vision and I just didnt see it so I just let her go ahead, but it actually turned out to be a really good seller.

ED: When I first heard about WilliamOkpo, I thought of Rodarte since its also run by sisters and named after a parent. How do you think working with your sibling benefits or strengthens a label?
D: We come from a background where family is the most important thing, so if I was doing a business with someone else I don’t think anyone would get my personality like my sister would. If I am being lazy she will call me out and tell me I am lazy, so family is a huge benefit because you are brought up taught to support each other.
L: On a personal level, we balance each other out. She helps me color within the lines on everything, and it just helps me focus. We would have never thought, a couple years ago, that WilliamOkpo would be what it is. We work together really well. I am really unorganized and she is very organized, so we compliment each other.

ED: As young, emerging designers, what is most important to you at this stage in your careers?
LO: The most important thing is for us to stay humble and keep everything within us. I feel like in our generation, you get one inch of exposure and everyone takes it and you loose yourself. We actually wanted to be hidden from WilliamOkpo, we didnt want any face exposure initially, we wanted everyone to have that big question like, is this a man? Who is this guy? We didnt want anyone to know our faces. We want to focus on what we are doing, and not let the brand become us, but have it be its own entity, and build upon itself, we want it to last forever, and have whichever one of the little mini Okpos own it in the future.
D: I think its really important to always be able to receive criticism but not take it in a negative light, and to have a straight forward view, because there’s people who tell you, you should change this or that, that is our biggest challenge is people coming into our circle and messing with our mindset.

ED: Drawbacks?
LO: We dont like industry structures. I mean, they are there for a reason to keep everything consistent, and I get the idea of certain calendars, but let me do what I want to do. Yes, I’m going to wear white after Labor Day and I am going to put fur on silk chiffon. Isnt this supposed to be a fun, artistic movement? Since when do we have to put a science on it?
DO: I think we are starting to get the hang of it, but we move at our own pace. Like right now we are in between our spring and fall collections and our fall is only just now getting [to stores] so everyone is just like, you’re late! and Lizzy is thinking, SO? That is the hardest thing about being a designer. Too many people compare your work to everybody elses. So when you look in magazines, like if a white blazer is in trend, you see a white blazer and you think, why isnt my stuff in a magazine? But that is just what they want, thats a trend, its really fixed sometimes. You will see that this designer did a white blazer and this other designer did a white blazer, and you start going crazy for a minute and think, why so many white blazers?

ED: Despite the fact that neither of you have a lot of technical training, your first collection was very impressive in its use of shape and form. Tell me about the collections origins.
DO: It was inspired by mens tailoring, and being very feminine but also a tomboy. We are both tomboys but also girly maybe not Lizzy but it was more just about simplicity. I didnt want to see prints, we just wanted to start off with a simple collection that was clean, so again, it was more like my father. He was able to wear just a simple suit jacket and make it work really well, so we really just concentrated on the details. One of our pieces I call it the reinvention of the black pea coat it still had the buckles and the flap but we gave it a peplum, so it was masculine but feminine at the same time.
LO: Our technicality, to put it in a soulful way, we say it came from our parents bones. Our dad felt like this was a little fateful because our grandfather had this textile shop and factory in Nigeria that was lost after the Nigerian/Biafran War. My dad naturally just erased that part of his life, so we have kind of revived part of it.

ED: What about your second collection?
D: I LOVE SPRING! We wanted to extend the fall and turn into spring without deviating from the original plan that we had, to keep it simple. There is a long black dress with silk organza sleeves that has a mesh back, since we wanted to have something see-through. It is very secretive, you are covered up in all black but you still see little pieces of your skin.
L: We all hide behind our clothing, so we played with a lot of lengths and a lot of coverage, but we kept it very sheer. You’re kind of seeing under her skin, you are getting personal with her. We tried to keep it very modest, you know that shy girl, but also very romantic and very sexy. We played with a lot of sheer and tried to get under the girls skin in a way, without it getting uncomfortable and too much skin showing.

ED: Your first collection was very serious and structured whereas the Spring collection is almost polar opposite in its aesthetic. Was this deliberate?
D: When we think of fall, we think of heavy, serious clothes. Its kind of like they are twins, but they are night and day, so fall is night and spring is day. So that is our day side. They still flow with each other, but fall is really serious back to nighttime. There are a lot of bold pieces. We like signature pieces . I think that is our design aesthetic.
LO: I was just laughing to myself, because you were asking about fall/winter and I thought: Fall stole from Spring and made her angry again. Our Fall kind of resembles a lot of our Spring but in a more serious and dont mess with me attitude. Expect the idea of spring but in an angrier way.

Photos by Mike Schreiber and interview by Eugenie Dalland for LURVE magazine.

The Shaker like simplicity of the new Mugler´s logo is like an entrée to what we should expect from Nicola Formichetti , the newly appointed creative director of the brand.
The letters are like fetish props to accessorize a stage set of an artist´s studio.
All of it has the look of a more commercial signage.
The signature that use to read Thierry Mugler is all gone, in favor of something slightly more elegant.
There is a fragmented consistency in Maxime Büchi´s career, darkness and formalism are what the artist deals in.
His work is not easily describable.
He understands his time, he understands his subject matter.

Someone said that heritage is one thing and sensibility is another, did you kept that in mind while creating the new logo?
I am unsure about the meaning of that saying (haha) but I would say, that we indeed tried to avoid any kind of nostalgia or literal re-apropriation, but to still maintain a certain spirit. Which was not too hard since we all were kids when Tierry Mugler had his heure de gloire and although we are fully aware of the importance of his mark on history, we had a certain natural distance to it as well. I would say that the choice of Nicola was perfect in the first place to direct this because in his own way, he definitely naturally has an approach of fashion which is analog to that of Thierry Mugler, then he certainly decided to work with me because my own approach is also very compatible with the whole Mugler spirit. To tell the truth it has been my most pleasant and fulfilling experience for such an ambitious commercial project. And moreover, with a big corporation behind it.
Speaking of the logo itself, it had to be recognizable, more catchy than your usual upper-case sans-serif fashion house logo, but keep a certain classy/classic base. We dozens of versions, and ended up with that simple, typographic but slightly op-art, slightly 80’s version. But to be honest, my point of view is that a logo is only what you make of it. I won’t blabla you with the usual “yes I tried to represent optimism and the fact that my right foot is smaller than my left one” graphic designers love to serve their clients. Nicola’s vision fully embraces communication, print, screen, when he makes a decision, he always thinks of what impact it will have. And since the identity he is giving to the whole Mugler project is very close to my own, it was an extremely smooth and organic process.

There is a sort of intensity in the first Mugler images, but the association between the logo and the images makes them frightening yet peaceful, tell us about the scheme.
For now it is all about teasing! Neither Nicola, nor Mugler is about conformity. It is about the spirit of a time with its contradictions, its mysteries and its beauty. Especially now, the classic schemes are either out-dated or owned by untouchable institutions. To (re)launch a project such as Mugler, you need solid foundations, so the idea is to not rush it, but reveal it step by step, let the audience decide where they fit Mugler in the bigger picture.

Your work seems to be very effortless, as if you exactly know what you want the final product to look like, that doesn´t mean it actually is easy. What were the challenges?
It is true that when I start on projects, I like them to then happen effortless. Or let’s say smoothly. The challenge is in gathering the conditions for it!
Times are hard, there is little money, competition is ruthless. Projects such as Mugler, but also the other jobs I am on at the moment come somehow naturally, but if you consider projects like Sang Bleu, B+P, Novembre, etc., there have been years of not knowing whether what we were doing would ever prove relevant. To make your own projects as a hobby is easy, anybody can do it, save up and print a fanzine, like some save up and buy an expensive bicycle. But if you wanna make it to the US Postal Team, you gotta dedicate your life to it, every hour of it, not knowing if you will end broke up sick of all the dope you’ve been shooting up your veins or in the history books! The challenge is simply to never give up and be ready to fall (fail) for what you really believe in. I couldn’t be happier now though. I get to live the life I dreamt of and for however long it will last, I consider myself blessed to have had this opportunity.

Q&A with creative director Maxime Büchi ( B&P Typefoundry, Sang Bleu)
Interview by Lyna Ahanda for LURVE magazine.

What do you have faith in?
I will be living my life with vigor as I have been, as long as I breathe, putting my all into it.
I spend everyday believing in the vitality of art.

What is the best example of Art really changing the world for the better?

There are many examples of art contributing to changing the world for the better.
I hope to see the future Earth shining with peace and hope for love, through the efforts of the countries and people of the world.
I want to create a glorious world by overcoming wars, terror and poverty.


Why should we change the world?

There are many people in various parts of the world who are suffering from problems such as wars, poverty, among others.
I want to hear songs in praise of humanity fill the entire universe.
To this end, I am creating artwork everyday with all my strength.


What does success mean to you?

Sending out messages about life and death to the people fills my heart with deep emotion.

What unique gifts do you have to offer to this world?

Over the past several decades, I have been calling out love forever from the bottom of my heart. Many of my enthusiastic fans have warmly accepted my art, pinning their hope on it.

Are we anywhere near where we need to be?

To get to where we need to be, I think we should make steady efforts everyday no matter how long it takes.
Against the background of the infinitude of the universe and the mystery beyond it, I want to prove the time of today and life in the infinity of life.
This is my wish for a process toward life and death that emerges from the space of hope with the power of my own.

What do you think happens when we die?

Death disappears in the endless universe, carrying with it the life of humanity.

Why are we alive at all?
It is after all a very strange state to find ourselves in.
My answer to this question is that we want to establish our own presence in a wonderful way.


What is the one thing about you that undermines all the opinions you have made above?

That is my glorification of art and the brilliance of everlasting life. In the brightly shining quietude of time, we want to build up beautifully a splendorous life.


An extract from our interview with Yayoi Kusama .
The questions were inspired by Interconnected echoes a project from british artist Matthew Stone.

In an era where business is heralded before art - and where commercialism is seen as the main purpose of fashion - it must be hard to be the man known for vision, quality, and dreams. After illuminating the Nina Ricci runway for the past five seasons, Olivier Theyskens finds himself again on his own. If he and his supporters have proved anything, however, it’s that nothing can keep down a vision which dares to redefine the way we conceive of fashion.

What is the foundation of a good garment?
When a garment is good, most should like it in a simple way - beyond all the details and the creativity. I think sometimes this comes when there is a secret balance between pure aesthetic, inspiration, modernity, and ideas.

You were at the forefront of today’s emphasis on androgyny. Do you see this gender-play as a trend or as a movement?
I have always loved androgyny. I am from a generation that, in the first half of the nineties, experienced an end of adolescence global hype around androgyny that was prominent in many of the cool fashion magazines. Androgyny is the expression of a nonchalant attitude towards our sexual identity.

You seem to take a very strong stance on the economics of fashion and commercialism - one that may be criticized by the common businessman. What do you view as the role of fashion and its purpose within the world?
There is no common businessmen able to succeed in fashion. Success in this area only comes from perfect matches between wonderful business people and great designers. Our world today is huge, and our consumption is becoming so global, but fashion can still provide anybody the ability to create their own identity and to fulfill their own desires.

How do you see demi-couture as fitting within that world?
I don’t understand the word demi-couture. It sounds to me like a half well-done garment. I like the industrial technique achievement on clothes as much as an incredible hand-made piece. I have never occupied so strict a position on only one of these two poles of our metier.

Critics have said that your last show at Nina Ricci was your best - do you feel the same way?
All designers are looking to see their own talent blossoming. It is always pleasing to hear that your last collection was considered the best, but I hear this in the fashion world many times and, oddly, people sometimes say this about collections from designers with 40 years of experience. For sure these guys can’t have followed [that designer’s career] entirely to be able to judge.

When you know your next collection will be the last for a specific house, how does that change the way you design?
In a way any collection could be the last one. You never know what can happen in your life, right?

While we’re on that last collection, will you please tell us the story behind your iconic heel-less shoe.
The true story about it is that I drew that shape of shoe in all the sketches for the collection (they were drawn like walking girls seen from profile) and, given the risk they were representing, I was trying to find an alternative - but some of my close collaborators convinced me to try to make them.

What is it that has continually drawn you into, formerly, very traditional houses?
There are many houses with old names [that lack] traditions. The concept of institution and tradition is an incredible strength to the little few Parisian houses that are able to keep being modern while respecting and bringing to the forefront these values. I have always felt it stimulating and challenging to work on the re-creation of a particular vocabulary inherent within a brand’s name.

Like so many greats of design - you came into fashion as something of a child-prodigy. How do you feel you’ve changed since your first show?
Of course I have changed and grown since I debuted in the profession but, in a strange way, when I work (drawing, pattern cutting, fittings) I still connect to the same thing inside me that I have always been connecting to for as long as I can remember.

Do you feel you’ve made any bad steps in your career thus far?
To take risks can bring bad steps but I think that to take no risk would clearly be worse.

Is there any force great enough to make you give up design?
If the act of designing would make me blind or would cut my arms, or isolate me at the bottom of a deep hole, or transform me into a pig - I would consider giving up design.

Interview by Tyler Stevermer for LURVE magazine

SOME/THINGS MAGAZINE is a Bi-Annual curated project in the form of a book.
We sat down with one of the founder Monika Bielskyte to understand what is like to create an hybrid publication.

Why do you think it is that a publication like yours seems to have more of a cultural impact than a more commercial publication with perhaps a wider spread?
I think it is hard for us to judge ourselves and the impact of our own magazine, it is hard to be objective as it’s like our baby. I believe the readers can be much better judges than we can be, though it is true we get a lot of positive and, i must say, quite emotional responses to SOME/THINGS.
I believe the content is strong and coherent because we work so closely with our contributors - there is a real communication, which of course takes a lot of time and energy, but i believe it is worth it. For us it is not just about the final result but also about the process - we try to choose the collaborators we respect, not only as artists but also as human beings. SOME/THINGS team is also a bit like a family, our amazing Associate Editor Raina Lampkins-fielder, the ever-critical Fashion Editor Carlo Zollo, the super talented Stylist Ellen Af Geijerstam and of course my partner James Cheng Tan, without whom the project just would not exist. We are all friends in real life, very different in our points of view, background and opinions yet similar in our sensibility, which avoids ego issues and fighting over trivial matters.
I think it is only through this personal contact, unpremeditated and intuitive approach we come up with all these unpredictable ideas that make the contents of SOME/THINGS so different from the glossy magazines. We always think first of what we want to say, what we want to explore, what are the people that we really want to feature, not how much profit we can make from it. SOME/THINGS MAGAZINE despite its title is after all not really a magazine, but more like a book that we hope people would still want to open and rediscover in 5, 10, 20 years time, and that it would still seem relevant. Both our contents and aesthetics are very personal visions that don’t really follow any trends, we try to invent our own language and I would like to believe that creating ones own language and being able to communicate it to just the right amount of people, in the right place, at the right time, to make it spread, is what makes one have an impact.

Do you think that independent magazines are reflecting the triumph of intellectual ways of looking at everything?
I dont know so much about independent magazines, or magazines in general, especially now when so many ‘indies’ have become indistinguishable from ‘glossies’, for me it’s more about cinema, music and of course books. I think I have this impossible dream that we could really make of SOME/THINGS, something like my favorite books, be it literature, ie: Yukio Mishima’s ‘Sea of Fertility’, Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Alexandria Quartet’), or photography such as Yukata Takanashi’s ‘Toshi-e’, Eikoh Hosoe’s ‘Kamaitachi’, Chien Chi Chang’s ‘The Chain’. I’d like the interviews we do have to have the same depth as the dialogues one has in the best of literature, for our editorials to be as intense and magic as our favorite movies ie: Chen Kaige’s ‘Farwell my Concubine’, Jane Campion’s ‘The Piano’, are among the first to come to mind. So yes, what we try to do is a bit impossible, but very challenging and exciting. For me, it is not about doing a magazine, nor about being THE PRESS, it is really about creating something and being surprised at each step.
The intellectual triumph; I dont believe in it. Working with older people of whom I most appreciate has made me realize that intellect is not what makes us create the most beautiful of things or allows us to make crucial decisions, I think there is something much stronger and deeper than what an analytic thought can reach.

There is a great poignancy in your photographs, almost sitting between moralist- photography and photo-journalist.
I dont try to moralize with my photos, I really don’t… but yes, it is very personal and quite emotional. The images I do, or the ones I choose to put in the magazine, come from a different place than posh streets of Paris, where i live now, they come from past experiences, especially growing up in early post soviet era on the other side of the wall. Shooting in dangerous, strange and distant places in four corners of the world has tought me a different sort of seeing, it’s like I want to peel away the surface and see whats underneath, what history lies under a landscape of a country, what story hides under the skin of faces I choose to portray. But in this way there is only a certain amount of images one can produce without losing that ‘special something’. To remain real, it’s important not to become too clever.

In your fashion spreads do you concentrate more on the garment or on the story behind it? I am very interested in the garments and I truly enjoy working with designers or stylists I admire, so I do my best to make garments look as interesting as possible and at the same time to function with the story. However, at the final edit it is always the story that is decisive, I’d rather have an image with the fashion garment looking simple and the person looking interesting, not vice versa. I guess the reason for our multiple-day-shootings is precisely the fact that I don’t like choosing just one or the other.

What about the advertising? or the abscence of it?
Advertising has become quite vulgar and flat in these last few years, even the use of photoshop and color balance it is sometimes at odds with itself, which is quite shocking as the budgets accorded to advertising production hardly ever ceased to grow, at the same time as the budgets for the actual product quality are decreasing….
The decision not to have advertising in SOME/THINGS publications was a very conscious one since our first issue. Having advertisers would force us to compromise the content and we didn’t want this to happen. Reality makes, however, that we have to somehow manage to make the whole project work financially and for that we have created SOME/THINGS AGENCY through which we do more commercial production works and consulting.

With the rise of internet, there is a general breakdown in creative skills, and few people are managing to create things that will still be relevant ten years from now.
Yes, we have very much entered the era of zapping. Things go so fast it’s becoming quite impossible to concentrate on anything and so most of the things we see is a very superficial reflection of our world, a product for a consumer society. I think it’s important to remain down to earth, to really learn how to do things, be involved in the process from the ideas to the styling to the shootings to the interviews to the design to the printing to distribution and all through these processes to firstly think if it is really something what you want to do and what you want to see in ten years time. It is important to question oneself and to doubt, when you are too self-confident you always end up falling on your face into mud.

Where do you see SOME/THINGS in ten years?
Ten years is quite a long time! and hard to predict with water levels rising and volcanoes stopping the human world spinning, but I would like us to still be doing what we believe in and not having to struggle to make happen what we want to make happen. Finally, having a holiday once in a while could also be great, I must say!

At the same time, dont you find it dangerously simple to actually create a magazine?
I dont know how easy it is to create other magazines, but in our case it’s not really that simple. We work more or less 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and I’m usually running late no matter how I try being on time! But it’s ok, because all the work we do makes me feel like I’m learning something new each day. Once in a while I get suprised that despite all the everyday-nonsense, there is actually something really beautiful about the people and the world we live in.

Monika Bielskyte’s website: www.bielskyte.com
Some/things website: www.someslashthings.com

Interview by Lyna Ahanda for LURVE magazine

Lyna Ahanda: What does success mean to you?

Marina Faust: It certainly has the quality to increase audacity.
It might bring you down and not up if you have the talent to be more miserable than happy.
The desire for success today is somewhat an epidemic disease making it more interesting to be unsuccessful.
And the term is utterly relative.

All images courtesy of the artist, © Marina Faust.
1. self portrait with dots, photo relief, 2009 
2. self portrait after marcel duchamp, 2008
3. lust, self portrait, 2004 

www.marinafaust.com