• illustration by MICHAELA MYHRBERG

    The Magic of Reality

    Written by Philip Warkander by Michaela Widergren

    On the afternoon that Alice fell down the rabbit hole, she was restless and bored, longing for a distraction. The stressed White Rabbit running past her was just the sort of extraordinary escape she was looking for, a fantastic figure in stark contrast to the ordinariness of her usual life. In the underground Wonderland she enters, none of the regular laws she knows seem to apply, logic and reason appearing in warped and distorted versions, as if seen through a broken mirror.

    There is a great distinction between the reality of Alice’s everyday life above ground and the magical adventures offered her in Wonderland. This separation of worlds is significant not only in the story’s narrative but functions also as a commentary on a greater cultural level. Modern Western society is marked by a strong and dichotomous distinction between fiction and fact, a constantly enforced separation of fantasy and reality. Even though fantasies are cherished, the “authentic” is often considered to be of higher value, even though they, in many ways, are inextricably interlinked.
    Think for example of an actor’s performance, judged on how believable it is in the eyes of the audience. Or consider how an author’s craftsmanship is valued by the plausibility of his/her plots and ability to trick the reader into momentarily believing that the fiction is true.

    There is however one expression which unites the two worlds; fashion. Within fashion there are people whose appearances have magical qualities, making them transcend the supposed divide between fantasy and reality. Since fashion is not only an abstract value but also an embodied experience, it also surpasses the division between abstract and concrete by being both, at the same time.
    The title of Elizabeth Wilson’s classic book on fashion theory hints at this stance, suggesting that we are, when wearing fashion, adorned in dreams. Dreams are usually considered abstract and fragmentary, a product of our sleeping minds, while clothes on the other hand are defined as concrete parts of our exteriors. By claiming that we can be adorned in dreams, Wilson has proposed that the dichotomy between abstract and concrete is false, and that fashion can be a form of materialized fantasies, dreams and hopes. In one stroke, fashion dissolves the distinction between inside and outside, private and public, magical and reality.

    One of the most striking examples of Wilson’s claim is Italy-born Anna Piaggi. For decades, she was not only one of the most influential people within the fashion industry, but also one of its most noticeable. Never appearing in the same outfit in public twice, she owned an abundance of shoes, dresses and hats, being the source of inspiration to several leading designers while regularly communicating her own personal vision through spreads in Vogue Italia. She was passionate about color and accessories, and would appear throughout her life in blue bangs, pink fur and large veiled hats. Her appearance was the result of a continuous flow of new ideas on ways to style herself, and in this way she was more concerned with matters of personal style than with simply being fashionable. Rather than follow the lead of others, Piaggi was the inventor of trends.

    In this respect she resembled fashion editor Isabella Blow who also had a love of excessive hats. With her black bob and red lips, Blow made a more classical figure than Piaggi, even if she never feared going out in public with lobster-shaped necklaces or with hats covering her face, or spelling out B-L-O-W in white feathers placed on her head. She helped discoverer many of the biggest names of her time, including models Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl, as well as designer Alexander McQueen.
    However, there was an air of sadness around Blow, who suffered from depression and attempted suicide seven times until succeeding after her eighth. After her death, her magnificent wardrobe was purchased by heiress Daphne Guinness, herself one of the most sartorially interesting people of our time.
    Guinness, slim and sensitive, often dresses in armor-inspired outfits, as if using clothes as a form of protection against the outside world. This way, her body is encapsulated in a harsh and metallic silhouette, while her hair, dyed black and white, is styled as a baroque ornament on top of her head. Combining her incredible wealth with a deep interest for aesthetics, fashion and art, Guinness has been able to create a magical world, a kind of Wonderland of her own design.

    Piaggi, Blow and Guinness are examples of some of the most powerful, intriguing and eccentric people in fashion. Their appearances demonstrate that fashion can be magical, whimsical and personal, not merely a capitalist commodity but also an embodied form of dreaming. Wearing their extravagant outfits, they took charge of how they wanted their realities to look like, their life adventures in part defined by garments, jewelry, hats and makeup. Fashion, I would claim, is their version of Alice’s rabbit hole, their way of transforming reality into magic. This way, fantasy and fact are merged, demonstrating that through fashion, life can become more beautiful, and dreams take the shape of reality.

    illustration by MICHAELA MYHRBERG
  • photography by SANDRA MYHRBERG
    hair & make up MICHAELA MYHRBERG
    model FILIPPA S / Mikas
    special thanks to NK Stockholm

    astarte necklace

    An interview with Linn Lømo

    Written by Michaela Widergren

    Linn Lømo is the inspiring Norweigan designer responsible for the eponymous jewelry brand, Lømo. Using sculptural shapes both organic and futuristic, Linn creates original and personal pieces with Lola Rykiel as her primary muse.

    Where are you right now? And what do you have planned for today?
    It is a Tuesday morning, I am at my studio in Chelsea [NYC], and I am sitting by my desk having my 2nd café latte, pouring all my energy into the finalization of the new collection for SS14! This is the most exciting part of my job, developing a new collection and making the first models that really sculpt the collection for the season. However it is also a little scary. There is so much anticipation and many expectations that follow the presentation of a new collection and a new season. It can all be a little nerve wracking.

    We are actually using some new techniques for this new season, and later today I have a meeting with a production design lab that is going to help me in the development of some large-scale models. This particular piece will be the main statement piece for the new collection, and I am very excited about it all! I always try to learn new techniques and be open to new ideas, as I feel that you need to move outside of your comfort zone and sometimes push the envelope, to move forward as a designer.

    Who’s your favorite person that has worn your jewelry? And who would be the ultimate?
    My favorite person that has worn LØMO has to be Lola Rykiel. Not only is she a muse to the brand, but she has also become a great personal friend. Lola could be described as a fashion royalty: her grandmother Sonia Rykiel is a fashion legend in her own right, and her father is the CEO of Brown’s [a chain of luxury department stores in London]. There is no doubt that Lola has inherited some of her grandmothers immaculate style and eye for design, and her father’s head for business. She has inspired me to be proactive and helped me expand my visions for my business. She also always has the most AMAZING manicure that makes my rings look so incredibly fantastic on her. I just love seeing her wear my designs!

    When it comes to an ultimate person, I don’t have a specific person in mind. To be quite honest, it is much more satisfying and exciting to see a normal person wearing one of my pieces. Someone to whom I have no personal connection, and has no idea who I am, but fell in love with the brand and design and can fit the jewelry into their personal wardrobe. It is a tremendous honor and it very special for me as a designer.

    Who is your customer?
    I believe my customer is a lover of fashion, art and design.

    I think that my collections have those unique statement pieces that speak to a very fashion forward customer, but also pieces that are more delicate that attract a more discreet customer. It’s all in the details! I believe jewelry is what gives away part of the wearer’s personality. I see it as curating your wardrobe, and the jewelry you wear may change a whole outfit.

    I also think my customers range widely in age, from young adults to mature women.

    Tell me about the production, how do you work?
    Every piece that hits the stores passes through my hands. I work very closely with my assistant and our interns, and together we are responsible for all the production. Everything is made in-house at our studio in Chelsea, in New York. It is a huge challenge, but it is also very important that we know that the quality is up to par and that the product is perfect. We also have our trusted partners in the local diamond district in New York, were we do our castings and gold vermeil.

    I think that the most crucial stage to the production actually starts at the very beginning in the development of a new collection. I always make sure that we make perfect models that can be produced cost efficiently, and are both beautiful and comfortable to wear.

    How difficult is it to be original in the jewelry business?
    It is absolutely a challenge. However, I work very hard in the research of inspiration and collection developing phases. I find if you focus on the feeling you want to exude in the pieces, its much easier to come up with new ideas. I spend a lot of time on the development stage of a new collection. To give some insight on my design process, I can tell you that it always varies slightly depending on the needs of the collection, but it always starts with inspiration!

    I love art and history, and I gather most of my inspiration by going to museums to see art and sculpture. I usually choose an art piece, sculpture or painting as the main inspiration piece for the season, and then continue to do extensive research on the chosen piece and its subject matter. I work in a very thematic way, and like to lose myself in in the inspiration. The current collection in stores right now for FW13 is called Salome. My main source of inspiration is a painting by Gustave Moreau by the same name. It is actually the study to a later finished version. I saw it for the first time years ago while I was still a student living in Paris, and it made a huge impression on me. It embodies the story of the historical figure, Salome, her story and her beauty.



    Which piece is your favorite?
    This is a hard question to answer. I have so many favorite pieces, and it is really hard to choose just one specific piece. But if I have to choose one, I think I would have to say the LOLA Ring. It was very much a game changer for me in terms of my design process and the direction of my later collections. I had the idea to do a double ring that covered the whole finger years ago, but it wasn’t until the SS13 collection it came to fruition.

    The LOLA Ring opened up many doors. It allowed me to move forward and think outside the box with my designs and future visions. I also think there is something so beautiful about this piece, that it is so simple, yet so intricate at the same time.

    What do you have planned for the future?
    Ah, the future!! I have great things planned. I want to expand to shoes and handbags, and travel bags and suitcases. I also have a three-year business plan, but that constantly has to be updated and evolve as the brand and company grow. To be honest, when it comes down to specifics with future collections and sales, I only plan about two seasons ahead. There is so much to keep track of at any given moment, there is only so much you can plan for. You always have to be ready to take on a new challenge and be innovative in your problem solving. In my line of business you have to be a YES person, and dream big! And one of the most important things is to work with a good team! I am very lucky to have a fantastic family that is very supportive, and work with an amazing publicist and sales manager that help me achieve the goals. No man is an island; you need to trust in others to make great things happen.

    door knocker earring

    door knocker square necklaces

    salome bracelet
    door knocker earring 
    lola rings
    wave rings
    spike bangles
    door knocker earring
    nana ring
    door knocker earring
    door knocker square spike rings
    spike rings
    nanna rings
    spike bangle
    door knocker earring
  • photography by JOSEPH CULTICE stylist MIMI LEE 
    make up HEE SOO, hair JOHN FRANCIS
    glam CHARMAINE BREITENGROSS / The Rex Agency
    assistants CARELL AUGUSTUS, CRISTINA DUNLAP location THE CHEN HOUSE

    An interview with Beldina

    Written by Tonje Kristiansen by Michaela Widergren

    “If I were a bell I would be ringing” is a quote from one of young beautiful Kenyan/Swedish soul singer Beldina’s favorite jazz standards, performed by Miles Davis. And she is most certainly ringing these days. Odalisque’s Tonje Kristansen met Beldina at Soho House in West Hollywood. Here is Beldina’s story in her own words.

    I don’t look particularly Swedish! They get a bit confused here in LA when they realize that I am actually from Sweden. Then I tell them about my Kenyan background and the confusion is even bigger.

    I guess my mindset is pretty Swedish, but obviously my appearance is as far from it as you can see. I look at myself as Swedish. But I still don’t feel that’s where I’m from, but then again I don’t feel at home in Kenya either. I do understand Swahili but I can’t speak it.

    Except for my grandmother and my mother, everyone in my family is still in Kenya. My grandmother came to Sweden in the 60s to work in health care. She was a very skilled midwife. Pretty extraordinary at that time for a black woman! She was probably one of the first in Sweden as well.

    Then my mother came over from Kenya at 16. She had me when she was very young. My dad is also Kenyan, but I’ve never met him. These two women have done everything for me and proved to me the strength that is a part of every woman.

    Maybe this is why I love being a girl. I really enjoy women and becoming one myself. They are the most fascinating creatures in every sense. The power we have, the ability to show our vulnerability and to express it. It’s such an inspiration and the drive behind everything I do artistically.

    By studying my grandmother and my mother while growing up, even though they never did anything artistic or creative, I felt that if I wanted to, as a woman, I could do anything. Not that I didn’t have my doubts, insecurities or battles. I had a lot of them being very different from everyone else while growing up. But I never ever wanted to be anything else than a girl, being part of my family of women and to use whatever I had inside of me that came from that.

    I believe in the importance of details - which is a big part of being a girl I think. I am very emotionally aware, which is manifested in my song lyrics. Everything is a bit *all or nothing *with me. I am very immediate and personal when I sing. But I hold back a lot on a private level.

    From background singer to “the new Swedish soul hope”
    I always wanted to be part of a group and not be different from anybody when I was younger. I was very quiet and timid, but being a tall, skinny, black teenager in Sweden - that was fairly impossible. I got misinterpreted as someone who wanted attention.

    Since I didn’t have anyone with any sort of an artistic career in my family, it took me by surprise when someone wanted me to sing for them. Or not exactly sing for them, but help them out as a background singer. Mostly throughout high school I worked as a background singer and became a support to other artists. I didn’t really think I had any particular talent myself.

    I was more familiar with doing stuff for other people’s projects. I always happened to be someone that was around and helped people out. It taught me a lot. But I didn’t really know how to find my own mission as a singer and whether I had what it would take within me. How was I supposed to make a living and figure out the music world on my own?

    Also I had mostly worked with men and that was my experience. Men have this companionship and they help each other out a lot. That’s why I was surprised to experience that when I met my two favorite female artists they didn’t really have any guidelines to teach me.

    Surprisingly the fellowship I wanted to create with other women in the industry didn’t seem to exist. I desperately wanted some advice to see if I could pull things off on my own. I really wanted and still would love to collaborate and bond with other female music artists. I’ve worked with most male musicians in Sweden, like Timbuktu, Lazee, and Mando Diao. Internationally I have worked with people like Billy Paul and Childish Gambino.

    After a while though, I stopped expecting other people to help me on my way - or that I would connect with some other singer and have some sort of epiphany. Also having been rejected by all the big record labels in Sweden I decided to do things my way and just put my music online.

    I started to put music out and played gigs here and there. Luckily people seemed to like my voice and my music. It kind of spoke for itself the way I had hoped for. Apparently I didn’t need the big machinery around me to get started. I made a video which ended up going viral and was liked and blogged about by Perez Hilton and a lot of unexpected people internationally.

    Then Sweden started showing interest as well. All of a sudden I was “The new soul hope” in Sweden. It was a really nice feeling, doing everything myself and then getting recognition for it - very liberating. Then Universal in LA contacted me and I had a showcase with them.

    I love the level of creativity here in Los Angeles. And half the battle is just being here. Hopefully I will be lucky enough to meet some great musicians while working in the studios here. The chance of that is at least bigger when living here than sitting somewhere remote in Sweden.

    It actually helps having a Swedish background mixed with a Kenyan one. I have different references of course that can sometimes lead to confusion with the Americans. But overall they find it exotic that I have this mixed up different background and that I can use my references in a creative way that is new to them.

    “What can I say?” I am trying to create something personal
    I write my own music with producers of my choice. I obviously write about emotions and themes that preoccupy us all. But I’ve had a tendency to always write about other people’s emotions and not my own. I’m entering a new territory now, trying to use my own experiences, being much more personal, honest and open than I’ve ever been.

    My recent release “What can I say?” is really about how I have been very closed off without knowing it. How I’ve hurt people with no intention of doing it, and how difficult it can be to get close to me. I’m an “All or nothing” kind of person, but sometimes that comes across completely wrong. People that I want close to me feel rejected instead. I would like to change that about myself.

    I can see the changes in myself when I look at both my writing and my style from “Would you” up until now with “What can I say”. I some ways can’t even remember who I was back then when I made “Would you?” and filmed the video, or what I was thinking. I mean you go into phases. Maybe I will look back on “What can I say?” in five years and think: “what the hell was I thinking!?”

    Every change I go through on a personal level reveals itself somehow in my work. I think that is pretty normal. So naturally I get different ideas for my videos, my image, style, songs, themes whatever it is, creatively. Four years ago I was very happy with the “Would you?” video and now I am very happy with the “What can I say?” video. I feel it’s an achievement for me to be able to say that.

    I can still stand behind what I did three or four years ago even though I might be on a different path creatively nowadays. But then people always have an opinion. Before, they commented on me being too simple and not making anything out of myself, that my videos were without style or artistic punch. Now they say I am trying to be too sexy and take focus away from my music.

    That simplicity was my trademark and I’m messing with it. I decided long time ago just to trust myself and do what I feel like. I can’t win everybody over anyway. They expect you to stay the same, be familiar. At the same time they want you to change and do something new, show a different side.

    I’m just sticking to my guts, trying to create something personal. It’s a thin line between being private and personal. Private is not interesting, but personal is, otherwise you’ll just be the same as anyone else. I hope I can get respected for what I do, but I don’t expect everybody to like me or my personality.

    LA - the right place for me to be right now
    I want to be in a position where my music is fully MY body of work. If that means I have to struggle, that’s what I’ll do. It’s all about putting the music out there when it’s ready. I have enough material to release an album tomorrow if I wanted to, I’m just missing the icing on the cake.

    I am writing and performing. I work on a lot of new things. This summer I will perform a little, work and stay in LA. I want to evolve as an artist and as a female singer in today’s music industry and I need to find my true identity as a performer. I love the relentless drive and ambition in this city. I think this is the right place for me to be right now. I feel very relaxed and motivated.

    It’s all about music for me, and here nobody is questioning that. I can be who I am and I can be on the inside and on the outside at the same time. I can be seen but also be someone that can disappear when I feel like it. This is the way I wanted to feel while growing up in Sweden. I am feeling that now.

    jewelry LOREN STEWART
    leather harness ZANA BAYNE 
    jewelry LOREN STEWART      
    shorts LEVI’S
    bra LOREN STEWAMICHI NY
    rabbit fur jacket 12345 CLOTHING
    jewelry LOREN STEWART

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