Monday, July 20, 2009

Henrik Vibsvok

Calling Henrik Vibskov a “fashion designer” would be quite the understatement. He may be best known for his explosive prints, theatrical runway shows and witty ready-to-wear designs, but fashion is but one gem inside Vibskov’s twisted kaleidoscope of creativity.

Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2001, the Danish designer has lived in a minefield of film, music, art and fashion. His conceptual cinematic endeavors earned him London’s acclaimed Beck’s Future Prize. His large-scale art installations have been shown at such venues as PS1, Palais de Tokyo and the Sotheby’s Gallery in New York. And when he’s not prepping for the runway, filming or sculpting, he keeps the beat as the drummer for Danish musician, Trentemøller.

This laundry list of creative pursuits may seem excessive, perhaps even schizophrenic, but Vibskov seamlessly blurs the lines of his many mediums to build an artistic world that knows no boundaries: “I don’t separate between the things that I am doing. When I do an installation, I [might] take a piece and use it for a print in the next collection, or the other way around.” Perhaps this explains the designer’s notoriously fantastical fashion shows. Each of his runway sets is a full-on installation, an elaborate work of art that merges with his clothing to build yet another dimension of the Vibskov universe.

Fall 2009 was one of his best extravaganzas to date. Titled “Human Laundry Service,” the collection explores the tension between man and machine: “We are always surrounded by electric and mechanic things that have straight lines and precise workflows. But we counteract them as human beings with our imperfection, our soulful existence and our need for coziness. Doing laundry is one image for this.”

This relationship was played out on a surreal Copenhagen runway. Behind the catwalk, models crowned with extended top hats walked inside three-meter-high black-and-white striped wheels. Their steps powered the curious spinning contraptions, thus completing the circuit of what Vibskov describes as a “human-driven laundry machine.”

But where would a laundry machine be without the laundry? That’s where Vibskov’s Wilhelminian fall collection comes in. With such diverse influences as classic menswear, the Amish, hippie communes, 18th century carnivals and magicians, both the men’s and women’s looks were colorful combinations of chevron striping, tribal prints and dark plaids. Pajama-esque jumpsuits, wide cream suspenders and patchwork blouses were just some of the playful features. Oversized jackets, a quirky bubble skirt and sculpted coats and dresses constituted unique yet wearable staples.

Below, Vibskov gives us a glimpse into his whimsical psyche by outlining his three favorite fall looks:

“What looks like a poncho here is actually a blanket. It’s very soft and warm, and one should have one on any car backseat of the world.”

“This one I like because of the strong color contrast. The green and the black almost seem to work against each other and there is a huge tension.”

“The collection is inspired by traditional American clothing from the days of the settlement. This shirt transports this spirit well.”

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