• photography by MARC LITVYAKOFF

    An Interview with Katya Shehurina

    Written by Marianne Lindgren by Sandra Myhrberg

    Katya Shehurinas dresses are made of materials that touch the skin like a gentle evening breeze in the summer. Floating silk, fur and lace. The design is sleek, yet Bohemian. Pretty far from the anti-fashion Katya grew up with in Latvia, then  still occupied by the Soviet union.

    I was born in 1983, and remember the Perestroika times. During the Soviet era it was difficult to find something different or unusual- because everyone was supposed to be equal. I believe that is the main reason why people of my generation are so eager to create something beautiful and different, full of personal identity and strong spirit. 

    When did your interest in fashion and fabric begin? As a small child. I couldn't sew but desperately wanted some clothes for my dolls. So I cut arm holes in fabric tissues and draped and belted the dolls. Actually this is how it worked during the Soviet era; everything we couldn't buy we had to creat ourselves!  I am grateful to have been born then; it gave me a huge creative force!

    You mostly work with exclusive materials. Have you ever thought about designing casuals? I have tried it. Immediately after I finished my degree in haute couture in Paris, I started my brand and focused on everyday clothes. This was despite my love to exclusive clothes made with love and long hours of handwork- because  I thought it was easier to start this way, with casual clothes.

    But after some years of experience I concluded that it was impossible to compete with monsters like Zara, H&M and other companies who can create stylish clothes with fairly good quality at a very reasonable price. That is how I returented to my roots. Today I believe that in near future there will be only two types of clothes- the cheap, stylish massmarket clothes and the very luxurious type made with devotion. Everything in between will disappear.

    Since 2011, you have your own boutique in London. That seems quite bold, the comptetion in London must be severe? I was too young and naive to be afraid when I started, and that helped me a lot. I still believe that everything is possible. I am surrounded by great people who are helping me a lot which is very important. You can’t do everything by yourself.

    How was it to be an aspiring fashion student in Paris? How did you experience Esmod and the Parisian fashion atmosphere, isn't it quite an harsh environment? It was from a really harsh environment at one hand but on the other hand: where can learn better if not in the cradle of fashion itself? I was really lucky to have such great teachers! 

    Where do you find inspiration? I try to find inspiration everywhere, this can be people, art, emotions, strong historical figures. The most difficult and important thing in my work is to find something new each season, whitout betraying my brand’s essence.
    Favorite  material right now? For the last seasons-the combination of lace and microfibre.

    How and where do you live now? I live in Riga but  travel a lot to London and Paris.

    Which person, dead or alive, would you like to see waring your design? I would like every person to wear our clothes.  It is one of the greatest feelings in my life to see someone wearing and appreciating something I've created.

  • 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

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