Archive for August 2012

The Art of Draping

Matthew Harding or Madame Gres?

Matthew Harding, Fall 2010/11

Madame Gres, 1964

Barbara i Gongini

Nowadays, most fashion designers are trading pure image. Yet, there are some designers (the happy few) still focused on the creative process (the old art of making clothes). For them, fashion isn’t a space filled with polished solutions, but a medium which allows them to experiment with the fabrics, and further, allowing their customers to enjoy experimenting with the clothes. Barbara i Gongini is such a brand.

I’ve spotted the Danish label for the last seasons and I was impressed by their conceptual/artistic/ nihilistic but still gracious fashion approach. Their work (in progress) includes sustainable concerns and fruitful collaborations with creatives in music, photography and film.

I’ve decided to make an introduction on Fashion Salad, talking with Barbara, the fashion designer behind Barbara i Gongini. She was kind enough to answer to my questions:


I think your designs are really outstanding on the fashion scene. Where would you place your work between design, style and art?

My opinion about avant garde is that it is everything from art, design and style.  They are all linked and there is no separation.

How did Barbara i Gongini start? Could you mention a major catalyst?

In the Faroe Islands, where I am from, there was this fantastic woman that was always dressed for any occasion – very stylish.  I saw here one day in her high heels walking the steep hill with shopping bags… I decided at that point – I was about 6 – that creating clothes was my destiny.

You already developed your own dark poetry. Why black?

I work with principles and shape – black is a no color, hence it is a perfect forum for shapes.

Tell me about your creative process. How do you start a new collection? Where’s the big challenge?

I have been working with the square and circle shapes for a very long time.  I explore how to twist and twerk the traditional to the unconventional.  I do not sketch my designs, I drape on a mannequin and explore from there.

How important is the body?

My clothes are not close fitting, hence the body is where we hang our art:)

You really love to experiment with the fabrics. What are your favorites?

Wool, leather, technical silk, shirtings – awhh…. the list is endless.

Do you follow fashion trends?

No.  I follow development.

Where’s the boundary between a poor and a luxurious outfit?

Your own imagination.

Define your ideal customer

A person that gets happy by wearing my clothes, that finds their own personality in my pieces.

What do you think about emerging technologies and fashion?

I think that all developments in ecological and sustainable principles are fantastic and that we should all do our best to take care of the world.

How did the experience of running your own business challenge your designer profile?

There is a clear difference between design and business.  In our team we have managed both to maintain our design profile and to maintain a business strategy by dividing the brand into 3 labels: Barbara i Gongini, The Black Line, and Leather and Accessories.



Raw Elements

Raw gemstones are totally awesome! Look at these minerals, rocks, gems (however they call them!) – the nature fashioned them better than we could; they’re almost magical. The raw gemstone jewelry has become a prominent trend (just visit etsy) . It’s like everybody suddenly discovered the uncut element looks  more stylish than the official polished versions.

I’d like to find a creative way for wearing this stuff and I’m not thinking about small accents here and there: a stone for my ring or a pendant for my necklace. Bolder forms are required! I imagine a belt adorned with these elements or maybe a fancy tiara.  Carrying a stone bag would be a little bit risky (remember Jana Sterbak’s Sisyphus sport?),  but I wouldn’t be surprised to find some stone-clutch in Rick Owens’ next collection.



You can leave you hat on!

The basic rules to follow in order to get a perfect picture: take a girl, get her clothes off and put on a nice hat!

Of course, when the girl is Lady Gaga, the stylist is Grace Coddington and the photographers are Mert & Marcus, the overall effect is even better.

Lady Gaga, posing for Vogue, September 2012, in a gorgeous hat  designed by Stephen Jones.


The Eye Has To Travel

A new fashion documentary, celebrating Diana Vreeland,  will be released in theaters next month.  Suggestively titled The Eye Has to Travel, the movie, featuring one of the most influential fashion editors of all times, promises to be colourful and inspiring . Take a look at the trailer below!



Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Diana’s granddaughter-in-law and film director, declared in her interview for Vogue Italia that “I strongly believe, the legacy Mrs. Vreeland left behind is extremely strong and deep, and  goes beyond being a “mere” fashion revolutionary: she really helped change social history and emancipated women. Her life, which spanned 1903 until 1989, is by all means a vivid portrait of the XX century.


Anna Piaggi

I will miss this lady!


The Power of the Image

Batman lensed by Herb Ritts, one of my favorite fashion photographers.