Haider Ackermann took Joyce.com on a spiritual and visual journey, through his aura, collections and music tastes. Click here for more Interview by Filep Motwary based on questions by Lucienne Leung-Davies Photography by Filep Motwary Film by Antoine Asseraf / The Stimuleye Written by Lucienne Leung-Davies
A precious backstage memory during the photoshoot and interview with Mr Ackermann
American designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim surged into the global spotlight in 2002, as the co-founders of New York City’s preeminent boutique, Opening Ceremony. With its keenly curated selection of luxury brands, the shop quickly attracted the attention of the fashion world at large, and in July 2011, Leon and Lim were appointed as the creative directors of Parisian label KENZO.
The strong friendship shared by this creative duo dates back to their years at UC Berkeley in California, where they met as students in early 2000. After a decade of successful project launches and hotly anticipated collaborations with other labels and designers, they continue to challenge fashion habits and to conceive new methods of design.
Today, both are enthralled by the KENZO spirit, which they perceive as a lifestyle all its own, and the label is shaped by the singular creativity born of their partnership. The originality and diversity of patterns and prints, the bright colours, music and rhythms of disparate cultures from around the world are all inspirations behind KENZO’s revival: under the guidance of Leon and Lim, it strives to achieve a universality which will seduce men and women of all ages.
Fashion has been a catalyst and playground for socio-cultural movements. Today's trends are tracked from street to runway and back again at such speed that subcultures can barely exist beyond the brands. In what way do you feel today’s fashion is relevant?
KENZO: Fashion has and always will be one of the easiest ways people can express themselves. We love drawing inspiration from everything around us: culture, art, music, food, travel, and from seeing what people are wearing on the streets. Today’s fashion, the product of a more connected world, is extremely relevant for what KENZO stands for today. That connectivity is what brings people together: streetwear melding with tailoring, night and day, comfort and style. All of these elements and more make fashion right now an extremely exciting place to be.
Do you think that something originally pegged as a luxury fashion brand could evolve into something that ends upbeing a mainstream feature? Is it a good thing being mainstream or not?
What some people seem to forget is that KENZO as a brand was never intended to be “luxury.” Kenzo Takada, when he founded the brand, dreamt of creating collections accessible to the street. We feel that mainstream isn't a negative word and that mainstream fashion can still be heavily design oriented. KENZO has always been democratic, and since joining the company in 2011, we wanted people to remember this. Mainstream usually means something collectively appreciated and that is something we like to celebrate. We would love for KENZO to be a household name around the world.
Do you think it's always advisable for designers to be very visible, seemingly available to and engaged with their audience? Should relatability, especially in this age of social media and hyper connectivity, always be a goal? How should a designer understand himself or herself in relation to the consumer?
It really depends on the brand. For us at KENZO we love engaging with the customer because that is where you see if your collections are something people will want to buy and wear. We want people to understand who we are as a company, and in order to do that, we have to understand who they are as clients. Social media gives us a direct link to our customers and we love being able to have a dialogue with them. They can ask questions, discover more about our world and become a part of the KENZO community.
You're surrounded by collaborators coming from very different directions. For KENZO, how important is the idea of "family," and the creative exchange with its members?
It’s super important for us. Both at KENZO and Opening Ceremony we work with our friends. It creates an open dialogue and brings out the best ideas. Working with collaborators such as Spike Jonze or Chloe Sevigny, people we have known for such a long time, is a joy. It’s important to love what you do, and what could be better than brainstorming or working on projects with people you admire and respect on both a personal and professional level?
Talent is an obvious thing to look for in a contestant, but what other qualities do you think will be important to look for in a designer, right now, in 2014?
We will look for a strong point of view as well as for someone who understands the importance of the whole process of design. It is important to be able to understand the business aspects as well as all the creative ones. Also, we will look for someone who has both drive and a sense of humility. What is the last thing you saw, read, heard or felt that stimulated you?
Carol:Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, an animated film by Miyazaki.
Humberto: Seeing The XX perform an 40 person intimate show in New York.
NOTE: Interview questions were put together by this year's Hyères Festival Blog Partners:
Steve Hiett pursued a Masters Degree from the Royal College of Art Graphic Design before his Swinging London years, which saw him travelling the world as the lead guitarist of Britain’s psych/pop group The Pyramid. But it was not until an unfortunate accident on stage deprived him temporarily of his Fender—namely, electrocution from an ungrounded microphone—that he turned back toward his roots in the visual arts, and picked up a camera. Initially documenting his own group while on tour, he was soon photographing the international rock scene at large.
Over the past four decades, Hiett has pioneered a signature style that has become instrumental to the global world of fashion photography. Favoring over-saturated images, off-centre framing, unconventional compositions, and dazzling flash work, his work has been featured regularly in renowned magazines worldwide—from Nova and Queen to British Vogue, Vogue Paris, Elle, and Marie Claire. The Hyères festival 2014 will present the first major exhibition of Hiett’s oeuvre, emphasizing the unsung aspects of his images and re-establishing him as a figurehead in the history of contemporary photography.
Steve Hiett lives in Paris, where he continues to work as a photographer for renowned fashion publications (notably for Vogue Italy), as well as a musician, graphic designer, and art director.
What was the process behind selecting the images for your exhibition at Hyeres? What will the visitors see?
Steve Hiett: Raphaëlle Stopin came to my place and looked through everything I could find. She selected the images.
You didn't plan to become a photographer, and it seems that your early photography was informed by your circumstances while you were on tour. Considering how digital and technological developments throughout media have changed the landscape of photography, what kind of career path do you think you would find yourself upon if you were only beginning your career in the present day? How would a young Steve Hiett go about his business in 2014?
SH: Starting today? I have no idea. Fashion photography is such a complex thing now; lots of politics and all the digital processes, which makes doing a photo so long and complicated. When I started, you just walked into a magazine and the art director would give you a job. I don't think you can do that now. Also, to take a photo, you took a light reading, pressed the button and that was it; what you got back from the lab was it—end of story. Now you are dealing with all sorts of choices and the new world of retouching, which can go on for days. I worked for 30 years and never retouched anything. It never entered my head (or any other fashion photographer) as even a possibility.
There is always some sort of tension in your photography. How do you achieve it?
SH: Tension in my pictures? That must be subconscious: I never look for tension. I look for the right feeling.
What is the last thing that stimulated you?
SH: The last thing that stimulated me? Steve Cropper’s guitar solo on "Green Onions," which I have listened to 1000 times. I listened to it again last night; still has that magic. OK, I know the notes he plays, but it goes way beyond that—it’s a magic thing.
NOTE: Interview questions were put together by this year's Hyères Festival Blog Partners:
For their FW14/15 collection, Ground Zero reveal the fragmentation of their memoris, playfully combined to create a new collage of imagery which are collected from the past, applied with modern techniques that capture the moment, followed by finished ensembles which represent the future...
Ennio Capasa, in London for "Italian Fashion and Cinema", for a unique on-stage interview by Camilla Morton
Fashion and Cinema is a series of events exploring the relationship between fashion and cinema and how the two have always fed into each other, featuring on-stage conversations, seminars and screenings.
The events take place at the Victoria and Albert Museum and at the Ciné Lumière from the 5th to the 13th of April . Italian Fashion & Cinema is part of this program that highlights the Italian beauty. Ennio Capasa has been invited for an exclusive on stage interview with Camilla Morton on Monday April 7th at Ciné Lumière at 7PM.
Together they will retrace the history of the Maison, the collaborations with cinema and the current projects of the brand. The on stage interview will be accompanied by screening of images selected specifically for the occasion. Fashion and Cinema is an initiative by Tristana Media in media partnership with Vanity Fair and in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum and Ciné Lumière.
Nestled in a narrow street in the chic Saint-Sulpice neighborhood in Saint-Germain des Près, the boutique, Les Trois Marches de Catherine B is filled to the brims with vintage treasures, exclusively from Chanel and Hermès.
This shop is entirely dedicated to these two prestigious brands and Catherine, the owner, presents an impressive collection of ready-to-wear and accessories as well as some exceptionally rare pieces and true collector items, such as the extremely limited edition Chanel bike or the Hermès golf bag from the turn of the 20th century. But first and foremost, this shop is a living homage to specific collections from the 90’s at Chanel which Catherine is particularly fond of as well as the Hermès collections elaborated with leather qualities that no longer exist today.
Catherine searches the globe for items to be sold in the boutique. Clients come to the shop to both purchase and sell their own Chanel and Hermès treasures and Catherine may buy from them on the spot, contrary to a consignment shop.
Catherine in true fashion antiquarian style collects for her own pleasure very hard to find pieces from both houses. There is no better example to illustrate this point than the first Birkin ever made for Jane, the Holy Grail for anyone passionate about fashion, acquired by Catherine in 2000. Proven expert, people flock to the shop to have their collectables authenticated by Catherine. Since the shop’s opening in 1994, no counterfeit item has crossed the threshold of the boutique.