• photography by MADS TEGLERS

    An interview with Barbara í Gongini

    Written by Michaela Widergren

    It’s literarily as cold as ice outside. I’m in Copenhagen, backstage at the overly crowded and very warm Barbara í Gongini aw13 show. When I get the chance to speak quickly with Barbara, flashes are going off and on as the surrounding people are filming us with their phones. I get the impression that I’m not the only one trying to get a word with the Scandinavian redhead.

    Tell me how you started the collection?

    We actually started with a team this season, we wanted to cut into the surface and construct openings so you can see through the fabrics so that you could compose the garments together in different layers.

    And this is your first men’s line, right?

    Yes, the men’s line is our absolute first, so we are super happy, Barbara says smiling and quickly introducing me to her passing assistant.

    Is there a difference creating for men?

    No, I don’t think so because actually this is the very base, so it’s within the same collection as the women’s line that was originally cut for women; we just took the most masculine parts and tried them out in a different silhouette.

    How are you working with sustainability?

    It’s a consideration for all to make and we are very much in the debate all the time. What we’ve found out is that it’s a very complex issue. You know, ecological cotton sounds fabulous but it’s still polluted… So what we have done is that we use recycled plastics, I mean, until the industry gets cleaned up, we’re just going to find our own ways and work with sustainability in ways that we believe in. For example, there is a Japanese company that can create textiles that can easily be compared with silk, but it’s completely made out of plastic. It’s so high-tech but still super refined.

    How do you feel about using animal products?

    We used to work with fur but when we got directly in contact with the suppliers to have a right on discussion with them, what we learned is that they couldn’t guarantee us anything. So we keep to sheep only, and we found Scandinavian suppliers for that. I mean the conditions are really important for us.

    After out chat I’m filled with warmth, but not from the temperature in the room, it’s from my talk with Barbara. I love a designer with a point of view and a greater understanding of eco-responsibility. I’m sure all of us standing in the buzz backstage felt the passion and ambition of the team, not just aiming to create new garments, but also aiming to create new ways of creating them.

  • photography by ROMEO MORI
    hair & make-up CELINE EXBRAYAT
    bandana worn as a belt KILIWATCH

    An interview with Lou Lesage

    Written by Mari Florer

    One who watches

    The 22 year old Parisian actress and singer Lou Lesage has dreamt of being on stage since she was a little girl.
    – I used to reenact scenes from movies I had seen, she says.
    Lou describes herself as an observer: one who watches.

    Her parallel careers come naturally to her. She has been encouraged to sing in her family and her voice is really beautiful with both softness and attitude.
    Lou has big ambitions. She wants to be remembered for her work, she says, and she has already come quite far.
    She has one album released; Under my Bed (2011) and she has participated in several films; LOL (Laughing out loud, 2008), My little Princess (2011) and Océane (2013). Now she has two new cinema projects going on for next year.
    – I’m very excited, she says.

    Her parents Pierre Emery and Gil Lesage have helped her a lot. They are both members of the band Ultra Orange. Her father looks like a French version of Iggy Pop and it’s he who writes and composes his daughter’s music.
    Both Lou and her parents are inspired by underground bands from the 60’s and 70’s like The Velvet Underground and The Stooges. If you are a Stooges fan you can hear a lot of musical references to them in her record.
    Her favorite songs currently, from this era, are; She loves the way they love her by The Zombies, Mon amie la rose by Françoise Hardy, Anyone who had a heart by Dionne Warwick, Ballad of a thin man by Bob Dylan and Atomic by Blondie.

    Even when it comes to fashion, the 60’s and 70’s are of great importance. Lou Lesage does a lot of vintage shopping. For example you can see her in high waist trousers and her favorite accessory is “the hat”. It is a style that reminds of a young style icon like Jane Birkin.
    – I don’t really know why I’m attracted by this kind of esthetic, Lou says.
    Her own favorite style icons are Françoise Hardy, the young Brigitte Bardot and Françoise Sagan.

    Is there a French philosophy when it comes to beauty?

    It’s the beauty of mind that matters.

    You live in Paris. Can you tell our readers about your favorite
    shopping places that they would not want to miss?

    I don’t have favorite places. The beauty of Paris is that you can find secret and cool places in a corner of a street. You have to walk in the little streets without knowing where you go. But I can suggest La jolie garde robe on Rue des Commines.

    Do you have a favorite clothing label?

    Thomsen is a great brand. They do a lot of beautiful shirts with colors and patterns with birds. And Le Mont Saint Michel - it’s very Frenchy.

    What is Océane about?

    A young girl from the Parisian suburbs and gets dumped on a highway station. She follows a stranger, Oliboy, an odd forty-something musician who is about to do a summer tour in the south-west of France. She will discover his life philosophy in an authentic isolated surf camp - a timeless summer paradise.

    What is your favorite French film at the moment?

    Sue mes lèvres (eng: Read My Lips 2001), a Jacques Audiard film with Vincent Cassel et Emmanuelle Devos. I love it!

    Any dream project you want to do or be a part of?

    I would love to work with Jacques Audiard. But it’s a big dream.

    tights FALKE
    waistcoat OLYMPIA LE TAN
    body WOLFORD
    skirt VINTAGE
    top SACAI
    jacket Vintage A.P.C 
    dress, jacket and shoes AZZADINE ALAÏA
    top SACAI
    jacket VINTAGE A.P.C jacket 
  • written by MICHAELA MYHRBERG

    photography by ANNA GRANBERG

    An interview with Fräulein Frauke

    Written by Michaela Widergren

    It is a dark and cold Friday night in the beginning of October and I am on my way to the oldest traditional theater house in Stockholm, Södra Teatern. This weekend there are a lot of international artists in town, maybe not the typical ones, these ones are burlesque performers and I am about to see them perform at the 3 year old Stockholm Burlesque Festival. If you are not in the burlesque platoon it can be quite hard to even have an idea of what they actually do on stage.
    We all know it is about getting naked in the end, but what about the beginning?
    When I hear the word burlesque I immediately think about Dita von Teese lying in a giant champagne cup covered in Swarowski crystals. To find out the actual facts I went backstage to discuss the world of naked women and tassels with the burlesque dancer and festival co-producer Fräulein Frauke.

    First, tell me about the festival…

    The festival is one of Europe’s biggest burlesque events and is running in Sweden for its third year. It was initiated by Duchess Dubois and The Amazing Knicker Kittens in 2010, had a break in 2011 and my husband John Paul Bichard and I, were asked to join the production team for last years festival.
    It is a great celebration of burlesque, and all the joy, creativity, and warmth this art form has to offer.
    In a festival there are many performers from all over the world, so its a great way for the audience, both “burlesque veterans” and those new to the scene to really get a big and grand experience, as well as it is working as a lovely “community mingle” for us performers, to hang out and get to know each other.

    What’s the essence of burlesque, what’s it really about?

    In one sentence I would say it is “cabaret entertainment with a feministic undertone, using some form of striptease as a medium”.
    There are two forms of burlesque, one can argue: what we call “classic burlesque”, a tribute to the women that did burlesque before the porn industry changed the adult entertainment world in the begining of the 60´s. Ie, a vintage inspired ode to these times (typically 1880-1950) and these amazing and strong women.
    And then we have “neo-burlesque”, that is more “modern” in its take, not necessarily adhering to the vintage aesthetic, and is more about conveying humor, politics, theatre and crazy stunts.
    A lot of performers do a bit of both and in a club there is usually a mix between the two “sides” of burlesque, which is a great way of making it interesting and relevant today, rather than just “pretty”. In all burlesque, neo or classical, feminism and the politics of women in contemporary society are an important element.

    How come that you became a part of the burlesque scene?

    Before I knew what the world “burlesque” meant I already loved it! I have always been interested in sexuality and how we as a society sees and react to sexuality and erotica. I have been singing jazz since I was a kid with my pianist father and always loved the film classics such as Cabaret with Liza Minelli. When I started to do pin-up and retro styled modeling it felt very natural to put all of my interests together and take it to the stage!

    While talking, we are standing in the hallway by the make up room, it looks exactly how you would image it, with large mirrors framed by lightbulbs and with several international artists getting ready for the stage. I feel like a spectator invited for a quick peek into a peculiar world run by sparkling women and men in mustaches.
    I look at Fräulein Frauke, she looks like a 50’s pinup model all dressed in vintage and with carefully curled hair, and I ask how come that you are able to work with some many international artist?

    For a festival, a big community get-together, we have people apply to be part of it. Nobody gets rich from performing at festivals, but its a great way of mingling and meeting promoters and performers from other countries as well as being inspired to up your game and develop. There are often workshops and happenings around a festival which are great for career building. We (me and my husband) also runs “Fräulein Frauke Presents” , one of Europe’s largest burlesque clubs, where we have built up a wide reaching international network of performers and producers.

    What facts do people tend to get wrong about burlesque?

    I think it is getting better and better. In the beginning I had to explain a lot that what I do is not porn or degrading to women. But sure, people are sometimes a bit confused. It seems like it is hard for some to understand that female sexuality and expression, on our own terms, is NOT a degrading thing and that we are not there just to please a male audience.

    Who is the ultimate burlesque style icon and why?

    Oh, that is hard. My favorite burlesque performer is Gypsy Rose Lee- an amazing performer who mixed a lot of humor and wit into her über-glamourus performances. She was biggest in the 40´s and went on to have her own TV show. Today, of course Dita von Teese is the most famous one and she is a glamorous ambassador for the whole scene, but there are countless women (and a few men) both from history and today that are amazing performers and truly inspiring.

    There is a delicate atmosphere in the room. The performers are deeply concentrated but still joyful and energetic. A man whom I later realizes is the master of ceremonies is asking for a cigar without any success. The show is about to start so I begin to round things up with Fräulein.

    What reactions have you gotten from “first-timers” leaving your show?

    Oh! So positive, which is lovely! People usually absolutely love it, because it is not just watching the show that is the deal at a burlesque event, it is the atmosphere and fantasy space we create and invite people o take part of. Most people come amazingly dressed and really immerse themselves in the great environment and open atmosphere where everybody, all sizes, all ages all genders are welcome.

    Later that night, I walk out from the theater all happy and whimsical. It has been a strange evening. I am not sure the last time I got drawn into a different world like this, and it was definitely a long time since I laughed this much. During the show I was surprised how political and gender transcendent many of the acts were. There were overwhelming cheers in the saloon when the group Black Bird Burlesque Cabaret gave a kick to Putin. It made me realize there are many ways of questioning inhumane ideologies and burlesque is most definitely one of them.