• photography by TONY LANDBERG

    Transitional Seasons

    Written by Katrina Tan by Michaela Widergren

    Like that one extremely, often awkwardly, overdressed guest at a party, the models of Chanel’s Resort Collection last year strutted down the beachfront runway in tweed waist-cinched suits, weighty chunks of jewelry, and knee-high hybrid thong-boots. You’d actually feel a bit bad for them, if they weren’t in the world’s most expensive hotel—Hôtel du Cap in Antibes on the French Riviera—on the luxury brand’s dime.

    The Resort Season is a funny thing. A fairly new, extraneous add-on to the basic four, the Resort Season’s fashion shows kind of just wedge themselves into the overlap of Spring and Summer, only to later appear in stores anytime from Fall to Winter.

    So why the influx of skimpy suits and flowy caftans when all you want to do is bundle up and hibernate? See, the Resort, or Cruise, Collection was originally intended for the affluent customers. Those who flies south for the winter, readily swapping their eggnog for Mai Tais, and regifted towel sets for resort gift shops.

    And fashion hears them. More and more new collections are being churned out for these “transitional seasons”, keeping the store shelves rotating at a steady torque.

    Fashion is always a mirror, it’s never the one starting something,” observes Cecilia Dean in a recent interview with Another mag. Cecilia is the co-founder of her own progressive magazine Visionaire, a former model, and one who's been a prominent figure in the scene long enough to really know what it's all about. “It’s not just clothing, it’s whatever is of the moment. It’s interior design, architecture, clothing, music… It’s what people are into. That’s why it ends up being a mirror of the moment.”

    Of course, it isn’t always as grandiose as penciling in new seasons into the sartorial calendar. Fashion does make more subtle statements: The introduction of the “flapper” shift dress in the 20s, a simple design that even the middle class could make at home, the well-heeled glamour of the 40s to display one’s wealth during war, and the career-driven power suits of the 80s, with their big shoulders, big hair, and big brows.

    Therein lies the truth: Fashion, though frivolous and oft slammed for going against the economic tide, is one of the best societal barometers, with a hiked-up hem or a beefy shoulder pad actually revealing a lot about the times.

    So what does fashion say about these times, or more specifically, about the people of these times? Well, today’s dress code is a bit tougher to decipher. A panoptic scan of both runway and retail offers a smorgasbord of almost every shape and style imaginable—from Rick Owens’ sheer amorphous shapes to Alexander Wang’s sporty-street wear to Versace’s elaborate decorative detailing.

    The models donning these clothes are similarly mixed. Although the standard slim-to-stick figure that’s strutted the runway for the past two decades still reigns supreme, the fashion powers-that-be now make sure to include a smattering of Asians, African Americans, and other ethnicities for a motley model crew. Sometimes, even a curvier model makes it onto the runway (if curvier means anything above the model's golden ratio of 34-24-34).

    Rather than heralding one distinct silhouette or shape, fashion is all about the individual. Or rather, being an individual. Standard schedules, workdays, or, as we’ve already established, even set seasons are a thing of the past. And to suit this new way of life, we now have a staggering number of outfit options—for the women who work, ladies who lunch, and the one who just kind of makes her own way—and, thanks to the Internet, virtually unlimited access to view and purchase them all.

    Fashion, it seems, has become an open field, with the act of getting dressed evolving from a leisurely pursuit to a competitive sport. And it’s every woman for herself.

  • “I’m a future freak. I believe that today’s people, who are

    younger than 50, are going to live in many of thousands of

    years. I don’t believe in “the end of the world”

    Everything is just getting better and better”



    photography by FUMI NAGASAKA / Magnolia

    Interview with Ann-Sofie Back

    Written by Mari Florer

    In front of the grey main door I stand searching for a doorbell. I can’t find any so instead, I carefully knock at the door. Nobody notices, I think. I am about to try again when the door opens.

    A blonde woman lets me in. Behind the doors, down the stairs, Ann-Sofie Back stands looking up at me as I enter. Her little dog runs forward to welcome me.

    “I noticed I just wrote “interview” in my calendar so I was a little bit unsure about whom I was going to meet”, she says.

    I smile and introduce myself to Ann-Sofie. Then I turn to Beverly, her dog.

    In her tiny office there are just a table and a couple of chairs. While she is out getting a cup of coffee I curiously look at the sketches on the wall.

    She enters the room, sits down, arms crossed.

    It is obvious that this woman has integrity, but I am not so sure that this is a trait that will make this interview an easy ride. This can go either way.

    I ask her how much of her time I have.

    “How much do you want?”, she asks. She’s smiling.

    Ann-Sofie Back was born in Farsta and raised in Stenhamra, both suburbs of Stockholm. She tells me that her parents’ lack of interest in clothing, culture and art was a major reason why she is a designer today.

    “It was a sort of revolt against the ugliness that I felt at home”, she says. “I think of it as a typical middle-class designer thing to do. To break free from all of that”.

    OM: How was studying at Central Saint Martins (London) in comparison with Beckmans College of Design (Sweden)?

    AB: Beckmans was very different then from what it is now. Now, it is very much better, more interesting and more theoretical than when I went there. Beckman was, strange enough, not so into fashion. At that time the common opinion in Sweden was that fashion was a bit superficial and silly. Central Saint Martins was very different culturally. Suddenly, I found myself admiring my teachers and really felt that they had a lot of knowledge.

    After Ann-Sofie got her MA in Fashion Women’s Wear, she started her own label Ann-Sofie Back. At the same time she was freelancing for ACNE. She also worked for the British designer Joe Casely Hayford.

    OM: What was it like, working for ACNE?

    AB: It was so very long ago. I had great fun with Johnny. He really is an eccentric and special person. He chooses the people he likes and you get a lot of freedom. He has great confidence in his employees. That’s how I felt it at least when I was there.

    In 2005 Ann-Sofie Back split her clothing line in two. The result is Ann-Sofie Back Atelje and Back. Back is a diffusion line.

    The craftsmanship is of great importance in Ann-Sofie Back Atelje and the clothing is therefore much more expensive.

    OM: Who do you have in mind when you create your clothes? If we take Back for example?

    AB: I have to say the same as other brands are saying. A strong woman between 25-50. Or maybe 55. In reality our average costumer is a little bit older than we thought in the beginning. She is intelligent, knows what she wants, dresses for herself and all those things they say.

    But unlike other brands that describe their customer in a similar way, the Back-woman really dresses for her own sake or for her female colleagues. She is not someone who dresses for a man. This is true also for the Atelje line. I think you must have some self distance, and it might sound silly, but I think you could not take your so-called femininity and sexiness too seriously to estimate the Back collections.

    OM: Is there any artist who inspires you?

    AB: No, I have not been at any art exhibitions lately. I feel quite distanced from that world. When I started as a designer it was trendy to mix art and fashion. But I think that fashion is so much more interesting as a way of expression compared to art and much more challenging to work with.

    OM: So, how do you find inspiration?

    AB: It is usually from things that bother me. It could be a social phenomena that I really can’t deal with or I don’t like.

    One example is my collection autumn/winter 2008 who was inspired by celebrity obsession. It was a very clear phenomenon, especially in England when I lived there. They are terrible, these gossip magazines and how they hunt celebrities, and this whole misogyny. It is a very scary and weird mentality.

    So I made a collection that was inspired by this. At that time the most wanted women were Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. But it’s not that I think I solve any problems through my clothes. It is more like I get inspired.

    OM: That brings me to another question. Are you a feminist?

    AB: Yes! This whole discussion is so remarkable. Those who say that they are not feminists, do they not want to have equal pay? That’s what it is all about, if you ask me. I get completely angry with men and women who say they are not feminists.

    OM: What is the best thing about Sweden?

    AB: To go out with my dog ​​without being afraid that she will get bitten to death by a pit bull terrier. It could be a really big problem in London. I did not think about it until I got a dog. In the area where I lived, it was quite dangerous. Crack house dogs everywhere who really had been trained for aggression. I was terrified every time when I was out.

    OM: Do you think there is some interesting designers in Sweden today?

    AB: Yes, several. There are many who are talented in different ways. I cannot pronounce their names but it is a duo that is new, Altewai anything. (Altewai.Saome) … I think they have some kind of international level on what they do.

    Sandra Backlund is a fantastic craftsman, a technician that must be admired.

    ACNE, it is impossible not to be impressed by the journey they have done from jeans to high-end fashion. There is no other designer who has ever done it ever before. It is an entirely new phenomenon.

    OM: Is the craftsmanship just as important as the concept for you?

    AB: I was not interested in that for many many years. I was very interested in the opposite. I worked with fabrics I felt lied. It looked good from afar, but when you came closer you could tell that it was knick-knacks. I wanted to reverse the luxury phenomenon.

    Now when we are doing this Atelje line, of course the quality is very very important. I think it is a matter of balancing - to be smart and choose between the intellectual or aesthetic judgements.

    It is probably why I admire such designers as Sandra Backlund. She is a perfectionist to the core.

    When I think of the next question, I suddenly hear a snoring sound. I really can’t focus. I bend my head down to looking for the source. It is Ann-Sofies sweetheart Beverly who is sleeping on the floor.

    OM: You are using linen fabric in your latest summer collection. Is it not a rather unusual or untrendy material to use today. Is this another way for you to break standards?

    AB: I have used linen several times and it is just because it has such a questionable reputation. You see a certain type of women in front of you. Maybe a kind of older arty woman or librarian. That’s why I think it’s interesting, of course - to do something that I might wear in such a material.

    OM: Is there anything exciting happening right now in the fashion industry?

    AB: As I am also working 50% for Cheap Monday, there’s one funny thing. The jeans are back, from in fact being a bit boring for a few seasons.

    Then, purely personally, it has gone amazingly well last season. I have a business partner, a great designer, and someone who take care of the economy. They all make my life so much easier compared with when I worked in London. Then, I always had the last word.

    OM: Which materials do you think are coming in the future?

    AB: Self-washing materials. I think it would be nice if we did not have to wash our clothes. It would also solve some environmental problems in case they found such a material. I am also very curious about what will happen with 3D printers.

    I mean, will we buy clothes in stores or will we download programs and print out clothes at home? The stores will they be gone?

    The power in fashion have already been taken away from the old elite and put into the hands of consumers. The bloggers caused a bit of that tradition. Maybe it is another step in some kind of democratic process. I do not know.

    OM: Self-cleaning material. How does it work?

    AB: I have no idea. But I’m sure it will come within a few years. I am a future freak. I think of course, that those who are under 50 today will live for several thousand years.

    OM: That reminds me of Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia.

    AB: I have not seen it. Is it a disaster?

    OM: The end of the world.

    AB: I do not believe in the end of the world at all. Everything is getting better and better all the time.

    stylist MEGHAN SCOTT / Magnolia

    make up PARI DAMANI / Agent Bauer

    hair SHERIN FORSGREN / Link Details

    model ANNIE / Nisch Management

    photographer’s assistant HANNA RICHTER

    jewellery BJØRG

  • illustration by MICHAELA MYHRBERG

    Giovanni's Room

    Written by Philip Warkander by Michaela Widergren

    In his classic 1956 novel Giovanni’s Room, author James Baldwin at one point describes the relationship between time and the individual. One of the main characters of the novel, the unfortunate Giovanni, tells the narrator of how he experiences the temporal context of human existence, in which all thoughts, deeds and actions are carried out:

    Time is just common, it’s like water for a fish. Everybody’s in this water, nobody gets out of it, or if he does the same thing happens to him that happens to the fish, he dies. And you know what happens in this water, time? The big fish eat the little fish. That’s all. The big fish eat the little fish and the ocean doesn’t care.

    For some reason I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this brief passage. In a few sentences, Baldwin has captured the sense of anxiety and powerlessness a person experiences when faced with the seemingly indifference of time; we live, we die, but in a larger perspective, none of it really seems to matter. Our existential traumas, struggles and difficulties which for us are a matter of life or death, is of no relevance to the universe.
    Depressing as this may sound, I couldn’t stop thinking about Baldwin’s work, but now focusing on the whole novel, and my reading of it. Originally published in 1956, I read it for the first time in 2012. When I read this text, I see it for the first time, and for me, the text is alive. This way, Baldwin has counteracted the supposed linearity of time and escaped from the demarcations of the indifferent ocean. Through a creative process he has suspended the laws of time, and in a way overcome his own mortality.

    A few weeks after I finish reading Baldwin’s short novel concerning events of Paris of the 1950’s, I am in the middle of a new project; Marcel Proust’s In Search for Lost Time. Based (among other places) in the same city as Baldwin’s, Proust’s work spans over several decades, through winding passageways and surprising twists and turns through time, as elaborated by Proust himself. The taste of Madeleine cookies and scent of hawthorn bushes awaken his memory, making him reminisce over times past. Through a deeply personal perspective, he controls the narrative, filling it with detailed descriptions of sexual escapades, romantic infatuations and social ambitions. Long forgotten incidents and people now dead are brought to life, woven into the fabric of Proust’s imagination. Similar to Baldwin, Proust also takes control over time, questioning its linearity and instead molding it into the shape of his own desire.

    I read In Search of Lost Time while in Marrakech, Morocco. One morning, I visit Jardin Majorelle, former home of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent. The two were deeply fascinated with Proust, and have even named the guest rooms in one of their other homes (Chateau Gabriel, near Deauville, France) after characters in the book.
    To an almost extreme extent, YSL was inspired by references from his own life in his fashion design. His passion for art and weakness for Arabic aesthetics (which he discovered through his long stays in Marrakech) were articulated in his collections. This way, his private experiences and personal preferences were materialized in commercial products, to be sold and worn all over the world, by people who had no connection to French art of traditional Moroccan style, thus blind to the references in the garment they wear.
    Here, the artistic legacies of Proust and YSL become interlaced. While I read Proust in the former hometown of YSL, I note distinctive similarities in how they operate artistically; using ideas that emanate from subjective and secretive existences, they employ memories and reflections to create a world of their own. This world is open for visits by others, albeit only temporary ones. For Proust, this is carried out through words, while YSL does it literally; designing garments for people to dress up in, wrapping themselves in the worlds of his creation.
    This tactic takes us back at the starting point; the relation between individuals and time, and the possibilities of overcoming the contextual demarcations of our existence. Interestingly, both Proust and YSL were physically weak and neurotic, placing them in the category of the smaller fish in Baldwin’s ocean, easy prey for bigger and stronger forces. However, using the power of imagination, they create their own worlds, inventing personal rules and value systems, thus overturning the logic of the mainstream and the ordinary outside of their sphere. Visibly weak but with imaginations stretching outside of the limits of their place in the ocean, they subvert the order of things and, in this way, cheat the logic of time and death.
    When I visit Jardin Majorelle YSL has been dead for some time, and his memorial is situated in the garden where I spend my morning, now accessible for the public. But, carrying the Proust-volume in my bag, I have a sense of being able, as Proust did once himself, to edge myself back through time, to when YSL and Bergé were sitting in the garden, engulfed in the stories of Paris past. YSL may be buried here, but his notion of upsetting and tricking time is encoded in the structure of contemporary fashion, thus continually living on through the works of others.



There’s nothing to see here.