And so, the curtain rises on a new issue of FANTASTIC MAN – the 20th
edition, for Autumn & Winter 2014. Indeed, the mysterious
mustachioed figure on its cover is double Oscar-winning Mr. CHRISTOPH
WALTZ, an acting Austrian who, in defiance of Hollywood convention, has
risen to international prominence in his sixth decade. In a vastly
entertaining interview, the star of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, DJANGO
UNCHAINED, CARNAGE and now BIG EYES discusses the advantages and
pitfalls of being a late bloomer. Elsewhere in this well-rounded issue,
the chronicler of international fashion commerce Mr. IMRAN AMED is
profiled, as is the exceptional Canadian author and rtist Mr. DOUGLAS COUPLAND, plus the phenomenon of French-language
cinema Mr. XAVIER DOLAN. The latter showcases his precocious versatility
in an array of ravishing outfits. Speaking of matters fashionable, a
definitive guide to the new season’s luscious WINTER COATS is proudly
presented, and revered British critic Mr. NICHOLAS DE JONGH prescribes
unusual getups to be worn for an opening night at the THEATRE. Those
yearning for a cherished but DISCONTINUED PERFUME will hopefully find
solace in a nostalgic reportage entitled ‘EXTINCT’. There’s plenty more
besides, of course.
Oh yes, it’s the all-singing, all-dancing pop sensation Robyn! In this
issue for Autumn and Winter 2014, the exuberant Swede speaks about her
extraordinary transition from ’90s teen star to mistress of her own
musical universe. This tenth edition of The Gentlewoman is replete with
women of international glamour and worldly wit – the Scottish
broadcaster Kirsty Young; Dutch artist Marlene Dumas; the hilarious
American comedian Kristen Wiig; indefatigable journalist Vanessa
Grigoriadis; British soap star Maddy Hill and the new face of Japanese
fashion, Chitose Abe of Sacai, are among them. These in-depth interviews
and chatty articles are interleaved with fantastic fashion stories and
thoughtful sartorial expositions, while essays on the art of hosting and
fastidious case studies on delightful details all provide new
perspectives on modern living.
The multi-disciplinary Danish artist Henrik Vibskov (b. 1972) is always
newsworthy for one reason or another. In 2011 he won the coveted Torstein and Wanja Söderberg Prize. In the spring of 2014 he created the costumes for Alexander Ekman’s A Swan Lake at
Oslo’s Opera House. Just recently he held a solo exhibition at the
Design Museum in Helsinki, and in June of this year, he showcased his
latest collection at Paris Fashion Week. The magazine Kunsthåndverk caught up with him betwixt and between his many projects.
Against his will, many people have tried to describe and categorize
Henrik Vibskov: avant-gardist, Renaissance man, fashion designer,
drummer, artist. The point is that Vibskov does many different things.
He has his own clothing label, plays drums for various musical projects
such as ‘Trentemøller’ and is scheduled to collaborate with the
Icelandic artist Bjørk – also described as an avant-gardist – in
connection with producing the album ‘Medúlla’ at the Brussles Opera. He
is also preparing for a large solo exhibition at Daelim Contemporary Art
Museum in Seoul and developing a perfume.
OK. Many projects. Difficult to categorize. But there is one
characteristic common to all Vibskov’s projects: he uses a conceptual
approach. The conceptual framework for presenting each new clothing
collection is developed to the Nth degree; it causes wonderment,
combines beauty and ugliness, and is always surprising and innovative.
Another characteristic is the high-quality handicraft that goes into all
he makes, be it a knitted garment, a print on clothing, or the objects
that coalesce to become the ‘world’ surrounding a new collection.
Just reading the titles of Vibskov’s collections ignites the imagination: The Fantabulous Bicycle Music Factory, Big Wet Shiny Boobies, The Human Laundry Service, The Solar Donkey Experiment.
These titles indicate the conceptual frameworks in which his
collections are presented. Everything hangs together in a strange way.
Talking via telephone from Copenhagen, Vibskov says he tends to explain
his artistic practice as to set up a universe that includes worlds or
particular societies with characteristics used to represent the
‘We try to create identities that reflect the construed society, the concept or story we’ve developed’, he explains.
In the monograph Henrik Vibskov (2012), social anthropologist Camilla R. Simpson reflects on Vibskov’s worlding’:
‘One thing is clear to me after spending time at the Henrik Vibskov
Studio and together with the man himself, is the fact that wherever he
goes, whatever he does, he builds up little worlds around himself. Like a
scenography that automatically pops up around him, as he inhabits a
Vibskov is widely known for creating strange worlds where the clothes
become costumes and the catwalk becomes a stage for performance and
theatre. But he is also acclaimed for the fantastic handicraft used in
making his clothes:
‘The modern society we live in is moving faster and faster, so I think
people like it when they can relate to things that are already used,
which have taken a long time to make. Handicraft and uniqueness are more
valuable than 3D prints. The way we work with our hands has always been
relevant. The biggest change, since I graduated from Central St.
Martins in 2001, doesn’t have to do with more-or-less handmade things,
but rather that there is now a greater acceptance of the idea that
designers can also work with other artistic expressions. It’s OK now to
be multi-disciplinary. That wasn’t the case earlier’, says Vibskov.
The multi-disciplinary aspect of Vibskov’s practice – particularly
the way he contextualizes his collections with theatre and other art
forms – provokes the thought that people in general feel a need to
‘Maybe I stress people out when they can’t categorize or define what I
do. It may be that I’m more of a musician than a fashion designer. I’ve
performed music for more than 30 years. I don’t like to think that much
about what I am. I don’t need to define myself, and nor do I feel that
is my role. All I need to do is be productive. When you’ve been part of a
creative world for many years, it’s the working and playing with new
concepts that you’re passionate about.’
So you don’t like it that people try to describe and define you and your works?
‘No, actually. In a recent New York Times article, I was
described as ‘the new Renaissance man’. What the fuck is that about? I
don’t understand it – and I don’t like the word.’
Vibskov’s play is always about renewing his expression, but it is
also about giving people an experience that challenges their
conventional ideas about what a fashion show, a dance costume, a catwalk
or a cardigan sweater is.
Identities and Prune Cake
OK. Finished with trying to create definitions and complicated
explanations. Vibskov’s universe consists of many parts that are what
they are. Shall we put it like that? Our interest lies in the societies
he creates, and in their attendant identities. Both parts are
indefinable. Vibskov’s models often wear strange hats and vision-test
glasses. He may use a wig that completely obscures a model’s face, or a
crown topped with a plastic propeller. He equalizes gender differences
by dressing male models in skirts and by supressing facial
While all the starting points for presenting his clothes are similar,
the expressions are completely different. Clothes are about expressing
ourselves and communicating something to those around us. Vibskov has
often said that clothes and fashion constitute one of our fastest
systems of communication.
‘It’s not my job to determine what people want to communicate by
wearing my clothes, but I hope that for some people, it has to do with a
relation to one of our performances, concepts or stories. All the
clothes have a sewn-in label with the name of the collection they belong
Do you wear clothes from your collections?
‘No. I usually use the same boring clothes all the time. I was
probably a bit wilder in my younger years. I have three identical pairs
of trousers and four identical shirts. So it looks like I use the same
clothes every day and never wash them. It’s like the apple seller who is
so tired of apples, when he goes home, he will never make an apple
cake. Probably he doesn’t make prune cake either’, Vibskov concludes.
Cecilie Tyri Holt is editor of the Norwegian crafts magazine Kunsthåndverk where this interview was originally published.
Join Henrik Vibskov Boutique NYC to celebrate the launch of a new artist collaboration Tee Shirt series, which is exclusively available at the Soho Boutique. The first shirt in the series, designed by Lisa Hanawalt, shows famous NYC landmark buildings decorated with boobs. Beers provided by Brooklyn Brewery, and poster giveaways from Playtype.
Henrik Vibskov Boutique NYC
Tuesday, September 9th
456 Broome Street
SOHO / NYC
boutiques in the neighborhood, MM6, International Playground and Other
Criteria, are also hosting events during the same time for your Soho
Block Party hopping pleasure.
The HENRIK VIBSKOV BOUTIQUE has been open since 2006 in Copenhagen and New York April 2011. All stores reflect the universe of Henrik Vibskov – they are the only three places in the world where you can preview the unedited collection. To broaden the palette of what we find unique we have mixed in pieces from a long range of other designers and artists.
WWW.HENRIKVIBSKOVBOUTIQUE.COM is a satellite of the HENRIK VIBSKOV BOUTIQUE in Copenhagen and New York. Its aim is to reach out globally to all corners of the world with exciting products, special editions, old classics, books, magazines, shoes, skin-care and make-up, from a range of local and international designers, artists and creators, which we think create a new, progressive and beautiful collection of pieces.