No. 5
  • 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.

  • An Interview with Jens Werner of J.Lindeberg

    Written by Fashion Tales

    Since the Jens Werner has taken over as CD at renowned Swedish brand J.Lindeberg, the brand has seen an exciting development. Odalisque Magazine had a chance to chat with Werner after the J.Lindeberg show in Copenhagen. 

    With street style influence at the forefront of fashion right now, it seems to be the perfect time to introduce this movement to a classic luxury fashion and sportswear brand, is this a turning point for the brand?

    I think it’s a new direction for us but it’s also a bit of the DNA of the brand. J.Lindeberg has always been sports fashion, even though our expression has varied a bit over the years.  Over the past years we have often been more classic fashion - a Scandinavian brand -  but now I believe we are going back a bit to our roots, what it used to be back in 1996 when Johan Lindeberg founded it. The movement in fashion towards a new area where it’s a bit back to where it was in the 90s, slightly bigger silhouettes, a kind of worn out and more personal and characteristic look.  The younger generation grew up with their parents wearing these silhouettes that were groundbreaking in the early 2000s. But today everyone who grew up with that look wants to challenge the look and wear exactly the opposite. Of course, it makes sense as a brand to evolve, and we will keep our ID of graphics and colorful elements and sharp silhouettes in terms of tailoring. Also how the pieces fit but also adding a layer on top to more exact silhouettes and pieces that are unique and have a worn feeling before you even wear it once. The street style influence is overall of course reflected in the sneakers and the silhouettes and the casting for the AW 2019 show, but we aim for a more business casual look as well; for a modern, younger person.

    With your continued accomplishments with the J.Lindeberg legacy, what do you think is the common thread of the brand at the moment?

    It’s clearly the message that we send across all the concepts; ski, golf, and fashion, with a color palette that is ours, very bright and sporty, which we also infuse into the fashion line. I believe this makes us stand out compared to other Scandinavian brands. Also, the branding itself, the logos that we now have added back into our fashion line, which we actually were moving away from a little over the last few years.

    How has the J.Lindeberg audience received the brands’ newfangled look since The Bridge collection?

    The continuation of the show from last time to this collection is showing that the audience is understanding more and more what the direction is. Obviously, when you make a change in the brand,  the first one or two collections that you put out there is always like a big question mark, is this something that we will continue with or is it a one-timer. So, I think the audience can clearly see now that the collection infuses sports fashion and a more modern clear look than we ever did before. 

    What sort of production precautions does J.Lindeberg participate in regards to sustainability?

    We look into the strategy that we made up two years ago where we have now evaluated the supplier base that we have. We source our suppliers carefully and it is very important to us that all our suppliers follow our Code of Conduct.  We also work continuously with how we produce our garments and how we can use more sustainable fabrics in our collections as well as re-use fabrics in the collections and by that reduce the waste of fabrics, samples, and garments. 
    Our aim also is to make designs that are long-lasting and pieces our customers will love and use for a long time.

    Could you give our readers an example of a goal you have for the future of J.Lindeberg?

    My goal for the future is to make J.Lindeberg a really modern, interesting and unique brand again, that people worldwide recognize for its colorful and graphic design and for the unique expression of styling. Something traditional clashing with something very technical. I think that in our DNA there has always been a mix of something functional and technical and maybe like in a shiny polyester fabric but in the look it kind of balance it with cozy worn out knitwear and nature fibers in cotton twill or wool blends.
    I also hope that we reach a younger audience that has the lifestyle that we portray in our ski, golf and fashion garments and who understands each of our concepts individually but is also interested in the brand because of its uniqueness in blending those worlds together while offering a full lifestyle product assortment.

    For whom do you design?

    I think as an inspiration I always have someone who works in a creative office, most likely in a bigger city, who expresses their own personality and who like individually design and styles it in an interesting way. Maybe they blend in some vintage pieces or favorite pieces with a newer design.
    It can also be other creatives; photographers, hairdressers, make-up artist, people in an architect office, interior designers, designers in general, marketing and PR offices. People that are experts and passionate in their area and have an interest in fashion. Since of course, we have ski and golf we have a business causal part of the collection and reputation which we also keep on doing like more suit and shirts, and the kind of tailored coats that speaks more to a business guy, but of course still with our own unique touch for the fabric that we use.

    What key strategies have you applied to keep the DNA of your brand so strong throughout the years?

    From the beginning, J.Lindeberg has always been a sport and fashion brand, so in the DNA you have a lot of different elements to play with. All from technical fabrics to slim silhouettes, too obvious sports references with colors and logos.  I think today we really know what and who we are and our success in the sports world really shows that we are a strong brand that we want to build further internationally at the same time I believe we are also a credible fashion brand. The strategy overall is to unite all our concepts in one joint brand expression so you can be even more recognizable for a certain brand DNA.

    Could you tell us a little about this collection’s key looks?

    Fall/winter 19 was inspired by explaining the brand, giving a history lesson to the new audience that we speak to and show them what the brand used to be and will be.In the beginning, there was a big portion of layered looks, which represented my journey as CD of the brand. I started to go through the archive and the past of the brand and find the expression that I see for the brand going forward.

    We took a lot of archive pieces in terms of tailoring, coats, hoodies and denim's especially where we know we used to have a clear positioning and integrated them into the collection. Then also giving an outlook to the more futuristic part and a new take of our outerwear as a luxury segment.

    The knitwear, which is also for me the most personal part in the collection, where every piece has a certain story, and a certain shape and character that we carefully chose. The sleeves length and body fit. It all should tell a story of something that you never would leave behind.

    The key pieces for the collection are found in the layered looks at the beginning of the show where we used knitwear on top of heavy down jackets inspired by 50’s and 60’s ski looks with padded sweaters and carrot shaped trousers. The silhouette in the end which is very sleek and clean, tight fitted and futuristic, was a tailored overall which is very unique, and we worked a long time to get the right fit and right shape. That blends a bit into the theme of space and outer space and also moving into a new and unknown space with the brand and starting something new.

    See the whole AW19 show at copenhagenfashionweek.com and check out J.Lindeberg to see and shop the latest collection.

Pages