• photography by JAKOB DAHLSTRÖM
    stylist SEBASTIAN HAMMARBERG
    hair & make up TOVE DALSRYD
    model VERA / Mikas
    top OFF WHITE
    skirt MARNI

    In the light

    Photography by Jakob Dahlström by Stephanie Cetina
    jacket VINTAGE
    dress CUSTOM IVYREVEL
    jacket SAKS POTT
    top & shorts I.AM.GIA
    shade DIOR
    suit NAND
    jacket NAND
    shoes BALENCIAGA
    glasses CHIMI
    blouse ELIN HOLM / TEXTILHÖGSKOLAN I BORÅS
    full outfit SARAH LJUNGDAHL / TEXTILHÖGSKOLAN I BORÅS
    top OFF WHITE
    skirt MARNI
    jacket NAND
    top IVYREVEL
    bag BALENCIAGA
    jacket SAKS POTT
    top & skirt OFF WHITE
    headband DIOR
    shoes BALENCIAGA
  • photography by LINDA ANDERSSON
    make up & hair INA PALM
    model ALICE BLENNERUD / Mikas

    OKULT: IDIOSYNCRATIC ECCENTRICITY

    Written by Ksenia Rundin

    The Phoenicians and Carthaginians, the Romans and later the Greeks and Tojans — all of them once left their cultural traces on the enchanting island of Sardegna, which today has inspired the new Swedish brand OKULT into their mystical aesthetics filled with both modern and postmodern elements. With a slight flavour of political retaliation virtuously mixed with social realism of the Orthodox East diluted by Pop Culture of the progressive West, OKULT speaks its own young and fashionable voice. The brand illustrates an unexpected cascade of hidden messages, as Yves Saint Laurent would suddenly start a collaboration with Andrei Tarkovsky or the surrealism of Louis Aragon would be directed into a disillusioning bourgeois play by Françoise Sagan. The garments constitute something aesthetically whimsical and therefore visually intriguing, making one aware of sustainability of both shapes, materials and processes as such.  It is all about an idiosyncratic eccentricity locked in the irrational immateriality of the material forms.

    Please tell us about the brand. What is the idea behind it? 
    The original idea was starting a creative studio with the intention to design and work primarily with fashion and then with interior design. Producing clothes and objects such as ceramic vases and carpets, working side by side with artisans in Sardegna and being supported by their knowledge and history of craftwork.

    Who are you — people behind the brand? 
    Lisa has a background in fashion and arts with seven years of studies in the subject and with a Master from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Fashion, including an exchange semester at Die Angewandte, University of Applied Arts Vienna, coordinated by professor Bernard Wilhelm. In 2016 she was selected as Vogue Talent from Denmark.
     
    Tommaso has a Bachelor and Master in Cinema and Literature from the University of Tor Vergata in Rome. For the last ten years he has been producing cultural events and gone on tour in Europe as music agent, releasing records with his own label. Currently he is working at HAUSS SPACE in Malmö.

    What does OKULT stand for? 
    The word OKULT is a neologism which comes from the Swedish word ”ockult” and from the Latin ”cultus”, owed to deities, temples and shrines, being embodied in ritual and ceremony. For us it stands for something hidden, isolated, magical and mysterious in regard and opposition to the fashion system and the mass production. But it also refers to the island of Sardegna in Italy and its ancient history. 

    Could you describe the creative process for the latest collection? 
    Lisa: I was very uplifted and embraced by the beautiful light and the landscape of Sardinia when I chose the materials. I worked with the materials as a starting point and was so inspired and fascinated by the characteristic materials, which I had found in Italy through direct contact with textile factories still located in Italy. Then I created one garment out of each one of the fabrics I had chosen.

    Often I start the design process intuitively with a lot of inspiration and ideas and later reduce elements step by step until it becomes rather simple. I work with contrasts in geometrical shapes simplifying those until the bones.  The work method I used to create the garments for the latest collection was to draw over and over again by using tracing-paper in order to find the right lines and then making a lot of prototypes.

    On your webpage you indirectly say that you challenge “the old fashion system”. Please, describe how. 
    We are in a time where the fashion industry is in such a need to reinvent itself. Challenging the “old fashion system” for us means to be resistant to the capitalistic side of fashion which is destroying our world and enslaving people with a miserable salary and just making huge profit out of it. To give back the value of clothes that we make with quality and respect for the process and time it takes to create a piece of cloth.“Sustainability” is just a trendy word for a lot of brands, especially the big ones, involved in “green” events. As a rule, they keep their production in a country where there are almost no rights for the workers and no laws regarding the natural environment.

    To conclude, challenging “the old fashion system” means for us, being 100 percent transparent and ethically honest. It means to be in control over the whole production, every step of it and to create human relationship with the people you are working with. Success is not only an economic issue.

    What inspires you and how you keep yourselves inspired? 
    Could be a dream, a conversation. Everyday life and history. Everything that is included in the sphere of humanistic studies. We keep ourselves inspired by reading and watching films, traveling and meeting people. 

    On your Instagram I have seen a picture from one of Sergej Parajanov’s movie. It is quite a rare concept for people outside the former Soviet Union. Tell me about it. 
    Sergej Parajanov made some of the most beautiful films ever seen. The richness of his films is outstanding with the attention to every detail, handmade costumes, colours and poetry. His films are like a long historical (Armenian and Georgian heritage) and surrealistic hallucination, full of symbols, metaphors, morals and religious allegories. And everything seems to be deciphered making his poetics timeless and his films immortal. 

    What are your future plans?
    One-piece productions, collaborations and work with the concept of sustainability.

  • NATIONALMUSEUM: CONTEMPORARY REDESIGN OF THE PAST TO FACE THE FUTURE

    Written by Ksenia Rundin

    How do you bring a few centuries of art and fashion history together under a forward-looking vision of tomorrow? Nationalmuseum of Sweden has an answer by offering the visitors to participate in their solution in place. Following five years of renovation and reconstruction, the museum has reopened its doors with extended areas, new colours and lighting, where the daylight flux virtuously varies with artificial illumination to create varying feelings and emotions. By focusing on displaying, collecting, preserving and researching, the cultural institution has made the art experience accessible in a remarkably new architectural context, achieved by the scenographic character of the building and emphasised by the digital and technical solutions. Since its foundation in 1792, the museum has always upheld its progressive perspective, showing the way forward. Nowadays this strategy remains in general the same but, through practicing its features within the contemporary context, it conceives new opportunities for the visitors to engage themselves in the future by observing and interpreting the past. Odalisque Magazine has had the honour to meet Director General of Nationalmuseum, Dr Susanna Pettersson and discuss achievements, visions, strategies and future plans of the museum.

    What was the cultural and strategic points behind all the work with the reshaping of Nationalmuseum?

    Let us talk about some bigger trends taking place in Europe that affected the decision-making process and created the context for the changes performed at Nationalmuseum. It all started at the end of the 1990’s, when national museums and galleries around Europe began to question their own activities, wondering whether they were doing things in the right way and whether they were doing the right things. It turned to be the starting point for the self-reflecting work that was addressed by scholars like Peter van Mensch. At the same time there was a growing interest for the museum history and history of collections. One of the outcomes is the research project called European National Museums (Eunamus) under the leading of the Swedish Professor in history Peter Aronsson. The project was aimed to provide an institutionalised arena for negotiating new understandings of the nature of political community through balancing the stability of the old with the disruption of the new.

    The importance of knowing your own heritage and learning from history is one of the main aspects in the current context at Nationalmuseum. Swedish and international art, arts and crafts as well as design are displayed within the same frame in order to create a varying experience.

    Could you say that you have made an attempt to democratise the access to art?

    Yes, we have abandoned the Romantic ideal of art being the privilege for certain groups. Art is for everyone. We analyse daily a big amount of visual material such as photographs, taken with our smart phones. Everyone can be considered as more or less experienced and skilled within the field.

    What have you added to the museum that was not there before and what have you removed as something obsolete?

    The first significant change was to receive the daylight back to the gallery by opening the windows. The second modification was to go back to the colour design introduced by the German architect Friedrich August Stüler (1800-1865), who was inspired by North Italian Renaissance. New technology was introduced to meet the current standards in terms of climate and humidity for instance. The first weekend we received 16 650 visitors and the total for the first eleven weeks was 311 000. It says something about how popular we are today.

    You have used the words re-mind, re-think, re-view, re-value, re-lease and re-load in the recent marketing strategy. How have you succeeded to stay a step further in your planning, reshaping and reloading the museum and its concepts during all the five years while the “remaking” were taking place?

    In general, research- and collection-related questions remain unaltered through times. Meanwhile, the interpretation in a contemporary context is always changing. Art has not been born in any kind of downpipe but is always developing in an intimate interplay with the intellectual progress of the society. Therefore, the true challenge is to link the art history to the present-day society through contextualising and questioning art movements, art techniques and art objects. It is important to explain the meaning of an art object in its original time context in order to bring it over to the current environment and let the visitors experience it. It is about how to use art objects as sources of interpretation and uncover different layers, using an analytical approach.

    Why have you decided to have John Singer Sargent as your first exhibition after the opening?

    One of the main functions of Nationalmuseum is to introduce less known artists to its audience. Sargent fits perfectly well into that description due to the portraitist’s social ties with Sweden, such as a good acquaintance with Anders Zorn, other Nordic artists and collectors. Being a true cosmopolite, he became friend with a few international artists and collectors during his time in Paris.

    Why has “Madame X” not been included in the exhibition?

    When it comes to specific artworks, there is always a high demand on certain works. That exhibition almost coincided with the exhibition devoted to Sargent’s Chicago connections, “John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age” at the Art Institute of Chicago.

    During the grand opening of the museum there were a lot of influencers presented. Are you planning to collaborate with influencers in your marketing strategy?

    Certainly! Today, we should be able to make use of different channels, where influencers have access to a unique target group, which we would like to see amongst our visitors.

    What is your strategy to keep your loyal customers and to attract new ones?

    The target groups we primarily work with are visitors who are interested in culture, people living in Stockholm, tourists, families with children and young adults. The last two are especially important for us to engage and to inspire, because they build our future audience.

    What picture of national branding are you creating for Sweden?

    The 19th Century was one of the most significant periods in history of nations – a time of global transformation connected to the national idea. It was also a time of prosperity, when most of the national art galleries in Europe were established with the aim to illustrate the history of art in a more international perspective. Through the history of art the nations searched to formulate and comprehend their own national identity. It was about presenting national art in the international context and that principle is actually still applicable today. As a researcher in the field, I would say that Nationalmuseum’s collections are brilliantly multi-facetted and really significant in the Nordic countries. It creates a strong and durable profile of Sweden as a country with a high cultural diversity. The better the state maintains its cultural institutions, the stronger the culture profile of the country becomes.

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