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    photography by NICOLAS FØLSGAARD

    An interview with Gitte Jonsdatter

    Written by Tayfun Yilmaz by Michaela Widergren

    Fashion with Collaboration - MUUSE

    It is a wonderful September day in Copenhagen, the kind where the drone of the metro construction at Nørreport Station is overpowered by a crisp, fall fluorescence. And somewhere, amidst the glow, is my destination. I walk further into the city centre, and there on a quiet side street, I find it: a huge door. The door opens onto an inner courtyard, where instead of flowers all I see are smiling faces. This is what I have been looking for—the place where creativity meets business; the place where design visionaries are born. Welcome to MUUSE.

    MUUSE Co-founder Gitte Jonsdatter, all blond hair and warm smiles, comes to greet me. She introduces me to the staff and then pulls out a few MUUSE samples to show me. And in a span of a few moments, I get the impression that this chic, yet cozy workplace is a hotbed of talent, innovation and ideas.

    An American with Scandinavian parents, Jonsdatter’s resume weighs heavily in work for research companies.

    GJ: I have a design innovation background. In America, I worked as a consultant / researcher. My work focused on understanding the cultures, habits and ways of living in different parts of the world. While working with a Danish startup as a consultant, I moved to Denmark. Here, I found my future business partner David Dencker. Together, we launched MUUSE.

    MUUSE is a company that attracts talented fashion designers and tastemakers alike, and where collaborations are essential to its DNA. It develops and produces quality collections in collaboration with design talents from all around the world, which are sold both online and through partnerships with independent retailers. Jonsdatter says that the foundation of MUUSE finds its roots in the future of fashion, in creating designer collections in small, curated editions that are made to last.

    WE ARE THE FACILITATORS

    TY: What is the history behind MUUSE?

    GJ: First of all, we wanted to make a difference. During my years working as a researcher, I experienced a lack of communication between customers, companies and creators. I wanted to work on resolving this problem. There are so many inspired and well-educated fashion designers graduating from fashion schools, but most are unable to fulfill their dream of designing their own collections. Creating a piece of clothing doesn’t end by designing it, there is a much larger, often unseen, process that comes with it. If a design is to be mass-produced, it has to be washable, it has to be wearable, it has to be introduced to consumers, and much more besides. It is difficult for a young designer to do all of this alone. So with MUUSE, we wanted to create a space for new talent—a place where designers can express their vision and we take the responsibility for the rest of the work. You can also see that people are becoming far more interested in small collections from boutiques than those from larger, mass-produced labels. The curated collections, like those we create, give people unique, quality designs they will treasure for years to come.

    Jonsdatter says that today, launching a brand means that the designers need to have design sensibility—the ability to hone all their knowledge to support the product. Designers must also have a good understanding of production, public relations, and marketing. MUUSE handles production, sales, PR and marketing for our designers so they can focus on their design. In the end, it is the designer’s name in collaboration with MUUSE that is attached onto the clothes of his or her creation. We work as facilitators for the designers and for consumers who not only want to discover new designers, but unique designs.

    DESIGNERS ALWAYS COMES FIRST

    TY: What is MUUSE’s motto?

    GJ: Our motto has always been about prioritizing our designers. They are the most important part of our brand. Good design makes everything work better. MUUSE gives them the opportunity to focus on their designs and create something they will be proud of.

    As it stands, MUUSE is the only brand that gathers designers and consumers in such an ingenious way.

    GJ: It is true that we don’t have any competitors, because there isn’t any other brand that works as collaboratively as we do. Our way of doing business differentiates us from the rest of the fashion sector, MUUSE is a brand that works exclusively in close designer collaborations.

    TY: How do you get in touch with the designers?

    GJ: We contact fashion schools from all around the world. Besides that, we have the MUUSE x VOGUE Talents Award, which is a fashion design competition in collaboration with Vogue Italia. Last year, a Swedish fashion designer, Lina Michal won the competition, and we have already begun working with Lina to create a MUUSE Editions capsule collection for 2015. Competitions are one way in which we scout young, talented and inspired designers.

    Although MUUSE is still emerging in some markets, the brand is known by many in Scandinavia and the United States.

    GJ: There are many interested people from the fashion sector who want to wear pieces that are specially made and cannot be found in ordinary shops.
    Jonsdatter says that many people discover MUUSE through the self-promotion of its designers. But the MUUSE x VOGUE Talents Award has also boosted recognition, and MUUSE often partners with international and Danish media too.

    GJ: Our brand now appears on the trend pages of many fashion magazines, which such positive proof of how we are growing and thriving.
    MUUSE both operates their own online shop and sells their styles in carefully selected independent boutiques. Their online shop enables consumers to meet the MUUSE designers from every corner of the world. But for some, there are worries about the digital shopping experience and feel it is still safer to shop the traditional way.

    TY: How do people trust your service?

    GJ: With the MUUSE shop the fear of regret from shopping on the Internet is redundant. We take care to ensure detailed sizing information and instructions are made directly available on our online shopping page. If something happens or there are additional questions, our customer care team is also there to help.

    TY: What is your aim for the future? Where do you see MUUSE in the future?

    GJ: We hope that MUUSE will continue to grow and be very successful in the future. Nowadays, people have the tendency to prefer clothes that give them a feeling of uniqueness, and large brands cannot satisfy this desire, but this is what we do. Our designers are carefully chosen and every item has it’s own identity.The enthusiasm for buying special products is evident, and here in Scandinavia, the movement is already on its way!

    MUUSE offers superior service to customers from all over the world with its selection of design talents and original creations. The gateway to MUUSE: www.muuse.com

  • photography by SANDRA MYHRBERG
     
     

    An interview with Minna Palmqvist

    Written by Michaela Widergren

    I meet up with Minna at her studio just outside of the city, next to the well known art space Färgfabriken. We sit down in the large old factory that’s now her office, and has been so for four and half years and start talking while drinking coffee out of neon bright yellow mugs. I’ve been a fan since the last collection, which she remembers, “Weren’t you the one who came up to me after my show last fashion week and said you loved my work?”. Yes, that was me.

    MM: First, can you tell me about your latest collection, SS14?

    MP: I start working on my new pieces from the same basic idea as previous collections and garments, which is the female body and how it is presented, the chaos around it and how the fashion industry is constructed. This time I focused on having an actual show… I think most people know me for working with conceptual art installations and hand made show pieces. I have actually worked also with ready-to-wear for a long time, and I felt it was time to show this to the fashion audience. I started thinking about problems concerning people’s everyday wardrobe, for example women struggling to get in to smaller sizes, so then I made cracks in the garments to give the body room, I wanted the body to claim it’s space. It’s much about cracking up and brimming over. I’m still working with quilts, running over and leaking through seems. I don’t want the body to be captured inside the clothes. The AW14 collection is a continuum of the movie I made a year ago that was based on breaking down and building up garments and looks.

    MM: Was that when you started making the fat cell like patterns?

    MP: Actually no, I started working with that in 2009, at first is was more of an art project for the show pieces but then I started bringing it in to the ready to wear as well. Some people think it looks gross, and I guess it does in some ways, but that’s what I like bout it, I like when you can’t really make up your mind if it’s beautiful or disgusting. For example I’ve worked with swarowski crystals used as sweat stains, that’s one method I’d like to evolve and work more with. I think a lot of what we consider ugly could easily be transformed in to something beautiful.

    MM: When I’ve read about you, you’re often portrayed as being strongly political, are you?

    MP: Hmm.. I guess I am. In the beginning of my career I didn’t think like that. I think I was afraid that if I’d state being political I’d be taking to big a words in my mouth. But now I know better - the way the world and the fashion business is looking today, how can you not be political? Politics doesn’t have to be about talking, writing and knowing most, but about doing and thinking, making active choices. There’s politics in both our private and public lives, everything is intertwined. So I’m political, there are things that I believe is wrong and that I have strong opinions about, for example the differences between sexes. Women are still being judged by their looks and not by their competence, and that is being political.

    MM: Is it hard to be political in the fashion industry?

    MP: No, I don’t think so, well, some people think I’m being pretentious, they just want me to make beautiful clothes. Which I do so it’s not the garments themselves that are political it’s my driven force, I find inspiration in my frustration. I’m surprised over how much focus has been on my creating process, I feel as if people are in the mood for politics.

    MM: I’m sure a lot of people would like to be political but don’t have the courage.

    MP: There’s a lot of times I get stomach aches after saying something “political” because I’m better at forming objects than expressing myself in words, but on the other hand I feel as if we need to discuss those things, people need to start talking.

    MM: Are you afraid to say something “wrong”?

    MP: I used to be really afraid of that, but then I started thinking, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Maybe someone will question what I said and maybe I’ll realize I was wrong. Everybody has a right to be wrong sometimes. I’m not always comfortable to make political statements in words, as I said before, although I like to discuss politics as we are doing right now. I’ve come to realize that’s one of the reasons I work with design. It’s a silent way of being political.

    I start thinking about the runway show Minna presented, the show itself was what you would call political. She used models in different sizes and ages, which sometimes happens during fashion week, but is still clearly a statement, the reviews were great.

    MM: The SS14 collection and runway show was received really well, what has happened since?

    MP: I know, that made me really happy. I wanted to show runway and ready to wear looks because that’s the world I’m in, and at the same time I felt as if my small changes mattered, using the women we did. Mixing typical models with untypical models on the runway is something that I hope to do again, and preferably in a larger scale. Because of economic reasons I actually can’t make my first samples into so many sizes, since the same samples need to work for both show and press, and press usually wants to borrow size small for their shoots. I also liked the fact that the models came in to the runway together, showcasing them as equals. And it made me even more happier that the people watching and taking part of the show appreciated those small efforts of change.

    Going through the runway show in my mind, I remembered taking notice of the white crystal covered sneakers worn by all of the models.

    MM: Were’d you get the shoes from?

    MP: Oh, the shoes are from LA! But the bling bling was put on in the studio for the show. My stylist Nicole Walker was there during the summer, we e-mailed about different styling ideas and both agreed on that the models should wear sneakers. It felt pretty good.

    MM: Are you wearing them now?

    MP: Yes :)

    MM: Did you ever think about making shoes yourself?

    MP: Oh my god yes, I think about it quite often, shoes are so much fun. I just started making bags which is a bit more easier to produce, it’s a great product since it doesn’t have to come in different sizes. There’s just one bag size for all body types.

    MM: The fabrics you use are quite stretchy and also a lot of your garments are loose to the body, is this to make them fit different shapes?

    MP: In some ways it is, but it’s also a personal preference. I don’t want the garments to be restrictive. For example, I’ve tried on jackets and coats with my friends and a lot of the times they garments fit around the shoulders but not around the waist. That says something about the size system to me, I mean, I don’t think that it’s just me making friends with women that has large bottoms. Those are the kind of things that I try thinking about when I’m creating new pieces.

  • photography by SANDRA MYHRBERG
    stylist JOSEF FORSELIUS
    hair PHILIP FOHLIN / LINKdetails
    set & prop stylist MATTIAS MARKLUND
    model MINNA P /Stockholmsgruppen
    photo assistant ESTELLA ELOFSDOTTER
    stylists assistant SACKARIAS STENIUS

    Femme Fatale and The Private Eye

    Written by Lars Holmberg by Klokie

    We love the game, for it is, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, more real than life.¹

    The label “Film Noir” often evokes glossy images and lustful sighs from cineastes as well as generally style-minded people. The Dream Factory produced many films associated with those beloved noir elements, particularly black and white crime dramas with roots in German expressionism², American detective and crime novels³, and the Great Depression, starring many actors we now associate with Hollywood's heyday from the early 1940s to the late 50s⁴.

    What made the films so visually special? The settings, characters, and plots firmly established the genre, as did the style and presentation of the film medium itself: lights dimmed, smoke, fog and the darkness of night underscoring the mystery. Largely depending on budgets that did not allow for lavish set design, in most cases Noir films were relatively small productions. This limitation ironically allowed writers, directors and filmmakers to be more free in their expression. Famous actors' egos and agents were not as meddlesome when it came to molding the films' content.

    A connection can be made between the major studios and contemporary fashion houses that in many ways are limited when it comes to visual expression – restricted by traditions and not least of all by economic considerations. Noir films are characterized by a greater range of experimentation than contemporary major Hollywood productions. Expressionism helped to produce a semi-documentary style of filmmaking. Though unspoken production codes prevented the films' characters from getting away with murder or committing adultery, dialogue and on-screen events tended to challenge the limits of what was considered permissible for the time.

    Plots varied, with a selection of key figures that says a lot about the zeitgeist: private detectives, civilian scouts, aging boxers. The perpetrator of a confidence trick (or “con-trick”), the honest citizen lured into the criminal world, or the innocent who just gets in the way. All the characters shared a distinctive style and created an ideal type that has become a trend-setter for future film productions. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, and the Coen brothers make clear reference to noir tradition in their work.

    Typical characters reveal the era in which Noir films were made. They represent the types as ”the other” (or ”normal” to make use of one of psychology's most used but least problematized concept) to which all others can mirror themselves. The boxer and the private detective are part of the American dream: the freedom hero, the loner. He lived dangerously, with uncompromisable style. There was a man who many wanted to identify with, while the con is always present among us, in the form of car salesman or contemporary telemarketers. The man that just gets in the way of a crime is someone that all of us can sympathize with.

    The films are often crime dramas set in suburban landscapes. Suburbia might play a larger role in the films' successes than one first imagines. One of the fundamental elements of the American dream is about a house outside the filthy and dangerous inner city. In the beginning of the last century, that dream became within reach for a larger group of society's members. They moved up the ladder of society from Ellis Island, through lower Manhattan's dirt and crime toward the safety and clean air of suburbia. But as much as the suburb created a sense of security, the new lifestyle also brought with it loneliness and ennui, especially for the women who were expected to work full time to maintain a façade.⁵

    Security created a form of suburban angst, and one way to ease the pressure was a moment in front of the big screen while the ideal-typical character got to be the average American's alter ego and live the alternative dream: a life in which it was possible to live out their fantasies without fear of the neighbors watching. Suburban anxiety can be summarized in two ideal-typical characters: the “Private Eye”, and the “Femme Fatale” (even if the roles are not represented in all Noir films).

    FEMME FATALE

    A Femme Fatale was common during the 1940s and 1950s. Some of the most famous operators within the Femme Fatale role are Barbara Stanwyck, Phyllis Dietrichson, and Marlene Dietrich, as well as Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Jane Greer. Eary on, Brigid O'Shaughnessy (played by Mary Astor) murdered Sam Spade's partner in The Maltese Falcon, Gene Tierney played Brent Harland in Leave Her to Heaven, and Rita Hayworth played perhaps the most famous Femme Fatale in Gilda.

    Narcissistic wives manipulated their men. The women were strong and independent, but always worked within the context of what was permissible for a woman to do at the time. Style and clothing were central to showcase lives that were almost perfect on the surface. The characters played the role of the perfect hostess, and the clothes illustrated that perfection and mental instability are intimately linked. A common approach in the films where mental illness and perfect exteriors often interrelated as portrayed famously by Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.

    The actresses played the role of the Femme Fatale so perfectly that the makeup department was superfluous. Hollywood's most prominent fashion designers - and especially Edith Head, who won no less than eight Oscars for her work - helped to create the elegant style that signalled a perfect surface, but also a challenging sexuality in combination with the underlying desire for something else. They coupled the Femme Fatale with the ancient notion of woman as the uncontrollable and sexual body, feeling as opposed to reasoning, and manifested by sexuality and madness.

    PRIVATE DETECTIVE

    Femma Fatale's opposite, a private detective appeared in such iconic Noir films as The Maltese Falcon, where Humphrey Bogart plays Sam Spade, and Murder, My Sweet with Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe. Peter Lorre, William Holden, Erich von Stroheim and James Cagney all played the memorable detective with the classic trench coat, a slouch hat, three-piece suit and the obligatory cigarette.⁶

    The quiet, thoughtful, smoking man who lives at night: he is alone and is one of the few who, by his lifestyle, challenges the suburban dream and the American myth of freedom, that are held mercilessly captive by the social norms and rules for how to live.⁷ Through his connection to the city, to alcohol-free conditions and violence, he is representative of all that trapped men crave. While representing reason, the equally ancient notion of the mind, the thinking man who is not fooled, not even by the Femme Fatale that confuses all the other men with their style and sensuality.

    ¹ Engelmeier Peter W. Fashion in Film, 12.

    ² The German expressionists focused on the morbid and gloomy emotions and spared no effects. They had a strong impact on both literature and film. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is a typical example of 30s-expressionism. Emile Nolde, Luwig Kirshner, Oscar Kokoscha and Max Beckman.

    ³ It was the style that today we usually designate as hard-boiled where writers like Dashiell Hammett (Red Harvest), James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice), Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep), and the most prolific of them all Cornell Woolrich, who wrote books that formed the basis of not less than thirteen films.

    Styles connected with Film Noir are normally linked to Hollywood, even though it was recorded films in both France and the French productions Pépé le Moko (1937), directed by Julien Duvivier, and Le Jour see lève (1939), directed by Marcel Carné and especially Jules Dassin moved to France in the early 1950s as a result of the Hollywood blacklist, and made ​one of the most famous French film noirs, Rififi (1955). England Examples of British noir from the classic period include Brighton Rock (1947), directed by John Boulting; They Made Me a Fugitive (1947), directed by Alberto Cavalcanti: The Small Back Room (1948), directed by Michael Powell and Emeric press burger; The October Man (1950), directed by Roy Ward Baker, and Cast a Dark Shadow (1955), directed by Lewis Gilbert. Terence Fisher directed Several low-budget thrillers in a noir mode for Hammer Film Productions, including The Last Page (aka Man​ Bait; 1952), Stolen Face (1952), and Murder by Proxy (aka Blackout; 1954) and Japan Stray Dog (1949), directed and co-written by Akira Kurosawa, contains many cinematographic and narrative elements Associated with classic American film noir.

    ⁵ Suburban anxiety is the main theme of American film. American Beauty in 1999 with Kevin Spacey and Anette Benning in the lead roles is perhaps the film that most clearly illustrates the sense in which millions of Americans recognize themselves.

    ⁶ Other seminal noir sleuths served larger institutions, Such as Dana Andrews's police detective in Laura (1944), Edmond O'Brien's' insurance investigator in The Killers, and Edward G. Robinson's government agent in The Stranger (1946).

    ⁷ “Jackets were cut wide to take handguns, casual trousers where held up by broad suspenders. The shirt was in a contrast color, tie and pocket handkerchief care fully chosen and striking. Rings of gold chains signalled the wages of fear ” Engelmeier Peter W. Fashion in Film, 14.

    net (worn as headband) STYLISTS OWN
    top MENCKEL
    belt MADE BY STYLIST
    vest in feathers RODEBJER 
    skirt H&M
    blouse MENCKEL
    sequined dress NLY 
    net STYLISTS OWN
    faux leather trousers BACK 
    blouse RODEBJER 
    hat VINTAGE
    gloves ANNA MARGARETA SVENSSON 
    / THE SWEDISH SCHOOL OF TEXTILES
    top HELMUT LANG
    neckpiece STYLISTS OWN
    hat VINTAGE  
    top MENCKEL
    sunglasses STYLISTS OWN
    coat GANT
    top MENCKEL
    dress RALPH LAUREN
    net STYLISTS OWN
    faux leather trousers BACK
    blouse RODEBJER
    skirt BACK
    coat HOPE 
    top MENCKEL
    boots TIGER OF SWEDEN
    sunglasses DRIES VAN NOTEN 
    suitcase VINTAGE

    dress ANNA MARGARETA SVENSSON

    / SWEDISH SCHOOL OF TEXTILES
    net STYLISTS OWN

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