Dear iDEALS, tomorrow is the first day of the Q&A project at POLIMODA. I will be interviewing people who serve fashion in various ways, from designers, opinion leaders, teachers, students, artists...
My office is just wonderful.. Participants so far include Christian Lacroix, Rick Owens, Diane Pernet, Bruce Pask, Tim Blanks, Maria Luisa, Robin Schulie... A very long and interesting selection of pioneering individuals.
A conversation among opinion leaders from
the worlds of industry, fashion, culture, and training: participants
will include writers and journalists, philosophers, curators,
architects, artists, teachers, and students, all of whom who will be
exchanging ideas on the theme of "The City,
The visionaries: Aki Choklat Alberto Salvadori Barbara Vinken Danilo Venturi Dobrila Denegri Eugene Rabkin Erik Bjerkesjo Filep Motwary Linda Loppa Stefan Siegel
Dear iDEALS, about a month ago, the Director of Polimoda, Mme Linda Loppa, invited me to Italy to participate in a table discussion debate, focusing on fashion's past and present, in connection to Florence.
Among the ten participants was also 30 year old Erik Bjerkesjo, this year's winner for Pitti's "WHO IS ON NEXT" competition. Swedish Bjerkesjo, a Polimoda graduate, focuses on footwear, learning the trade through a variety of internships with skilled Tuscan craftsmen.
The designer launched his own brand as soon as he graduated, now divides his time between Sweden and Vinci, the birthplace village of Leonardo Da Vinci, where he does all his shoe production.
His first step into design were a collection men's shoes, until recently, when Erik launched into clothes...
TRANSMISSION: Art Direction Magnus Liljebergh Photographer Magnus Klackenstam Model KRISTIAN ÅKERGREN Hair JOSEFIN SHERDIN Make Up JOSEFIN SHERDIN FilepMotwary: Erik, you just won "WHO IS ON NEXT", what is the competition about, your prize and what are the benefits of participating in such a contest?
ErikBjerkesjo: The competition is about finding new talents who produce in Italy and have already presented at least two collections. Its about up-coming designers who bring something fresh and new. This time I won and it feels fantastic.
Some of the benefits are to present and sell you product on e-pitti.com, an amount of money as a prize as well as the opportunity to present your work next season at the Pitti Immagine Uomo, be futured in L'Uomo Vogue as well as meeting new buyers and press.
FM: How would you describe your collection?
EB: Its sets its base from my handmade shoes and I got inspired how a shoemaker looks while working, also by the shoemakers that i work with in Tuscany, They get a bit dirty but they are always very dressed up, that I found inspiring and that is how I could describe the collection feels like, in my eyes a new post modern gentleman, that ends up spending far to many hours painting or working with craftsmanship.
FM: How did everything start for you really? Where did you study and how everything evolved after?
EB: I studied and got my Master in fashion footwear design advanced at Polimoda in 2009. It was during my final school project that I got introduced to some shoemakers in a small village in Tuscany and there I started a good contact during and after my final exam.
I worked very closely with my teacher Patrick De Muynck and Polimoda's headmaster Linda Loppa.
On the same day I finished school I presented my work at Luisa Via Roma and shortly after I moved to Stockholm to get involved with some stil-life photographers and amazing art directors. Keeping my contact with Linda Loppa, she became my mentor and she has been helping me a lot since then, something for which I am so thankful for.
Polimoda introduced for the first time 'Future Lab' which means that from now on they will be promoting a new talent each year.
I presented my first real presentation at Villa Favard palace in Florence during Pitti Uomo last season and was truly surprised to see the amount of so many amazing people who came to visit my installation, the likes of Ferruccio Ferragamo, Lapo Cianchi & Tim Blanks.
Short time after that I got an invitation to participate as finalist to become 'Who is on Next?'. This process matured me.. Now I have collaborations with other designers, started with new stockists at in stores around Europeas well as working in my own atelier.
GALOP MARQUIS: Art Direction Magnus Liljebergh Photographer Magnus Klackenstam MODEL KRISTIAN ÅKERGREN HAIR TONY LUNDSTRÖM MAKE UP JOSEFIN SHERDIN FM: Why you have chosen fashion as your profession in the first place.
EB: I think everything started in my mothers atelier when I was a little boy, I remember that I thought it was very cool to create looks, and my whole childhood was around "creating the look. By the time I applied to Polimoda it felt I was ready to become a designer. I was in a post-rock band before I moved to fashion. Today while at work, it has exactly the same feeling I had as a musician making a song. I always have a song reference in everything I do. I love the feeling you can get by listening a song by Frederic Chopin to Joy Division and I want to express myself in the same way by making something beautiful.
FM: How did you form the Erik Bjerkesjo hero / the man you dress?
EB: I think by wanting to express the feeling I get and the character I picture when I listen to music that moves me, movies I grew up watching and the architecture I feel as inspiring to me: then the man I dress appears.
FM: So, Erik, who is this man?
EB: A man with good taste and a personal characteristic look. The ideal man today that would fit my collection perfectly would be Adrian Brody.
FM: And what about the shoes you design. What is your philosophy. What do you think of feet in general?
EB: I made the last myself and I am doing shoes that are entirely handmade. The shoes are made by an older generation of shoemakers that are masters on how they construct them. I also have a certificate from that region that shows its been controlled and made in a old classic way. I am aiming to be involved in everything I design and produce, that I find very interesting and I am doing shoes myself by hand
Feet are a fragile part of our body and we need to feel good when standing on them. :)
EB:I feel fashion is getting a bit more personal. Some menswear designers are very unique and have fantastic products! Although great,Fashion should slow a bit down and focus on getting more personal and better made in terms of craft. The making of organic products today is amazing, so I am very positive about this change , the future.
FM: What is the most important thing a young designer must know?
EB:Focus on construction and production, go with design that speaks to yourself and that you can show in a artistic way, work hard and listen to a lot of different music.
FM: What shall we expect from you in the near future?
EB:I am working hard for next season, so expect a presentation with a second step closer to a post-modern-craftsman...for the new collection.
Dear iDEALS, I have just received some images featuring the collection of young, second year fashion student at Polimoda, Gianfranco Villegas. As he stated in his email, he is "a very determined and ambitious individual and always open to new experiences."
I like that!
His collection was inspired by elegance of dandyism.
Dear iDEALS, it was the third-in-a-row birthday bash, after London and New York, for The Business Of Fashion's 5th anniversary celebration, hosted this time in Florence by POLIMODA at the Villa Favard.
A well respected number from members of the international fashion community gathered at the villa for another night to remember. An event with the most wonderful crowd, the most amazing DJ, who managed to turn the evening to the most romantic incident, under the starlight of Florence...
Dear Filep and iDEALS, I've been in Florence Italy for more than two weeks now working on the costumes of the new production of the historical local Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentina titled “Les Noces” in original musical score by Igor Stravinsky-2013 will be Stravinsky year-in direction and choreography by the contemporary Andonis Foniadakis due to premiere Sep 2012.
Upon research and pure addictive curiosity, I did visit all of the infamous and amazing museums but all the better I also followed the “Fashion week Firenze” mainly powered by the Pitti Imagine Uomo 82 Fair which just wrapped up in great success yesterday and I wanted to share with you images and information as officially Florence is the ultimate menswear style international capital.
At the Pitty enormous fair -and the busy streets too- men wore stylish, thoughtful, elegant styles always in full gear including shirt, tie, scarf, jacket and sometimes lose cardigans on top even with 37C! A gorgeous bunch of styled, handsome gentlemen of all ages on their way to MeMo on Tuesday, were parading in such grace & style excellence in front of Piazza De La republica, that I came up with this new category of men that s beyond Dapper. I call them “Peacks” from Peacocks, as “cocks” might be way to vulgar for such style.
A lot of action during this week among others the fantastic late opening of historical museums such as Galleria Uffici-Eva Cavalli is really and elegant lady even while waiting to get in- and it s dialogue blending history & current Men’s fashion. The impeccably dressed crowd enjoyed among others the fashion show of the Florentine elegant menswear label Stefano Ricci with special guests an amazing group of Masai warriors!
Don’t think Galliano made up models but original, tribesmen looking all surprised earlier in the Piazza Duomo where people were photographing them in cues. Marilyn Monroe at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum was simply one of the highlights of the week as everybody gasped in delight while looking her original costumes and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes she wore in her movies & not only. As I had come across Madonna earlier shooting her new video clip in St.Regis Hotel , I could not help but compare the irony. There was a woman known for her endless chameleon changes-Madonna- who early on her career had to imitate the original-Marilyn- who was celebrated just few blocks away.
On the other hand while watching the “materials” Marilyn used to become such a legend the allure of the mystery and the legend reached new heights as the guests were trying to “read” more of her by the measurements of her dresses, the shape of her shoes, the elegant Time covers on the wall and the art inspired by Marilyn specially made in marble. Breathtaking is a frequent word to use while in Florence, so no shortage of that on the restored historical villa Favard, which served as the location for the graduates fashion show of the highly acclaimed Florentine Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing, Polimoda.
Apparently the Villa was totally restored in 2011 by Polimoda and is one of the very own four main buildings of the institute were students are trained to learn in detail the creative as well as the business side of fashion. You knew it s high fashion not only from some astonishing styles and ideas that paraded down the catwalk but most importantly because Suzy Menkes was present taking notes opposite me. I could not help but envy the students for having it all big time , for their first ever catwalk show surrounded by so much intense emotion throughout.
Dear iDEALS, it was with pleasure that I received Polimoda's Director, Mme Linda Loppa's invitation to visit Italy and participate in a debate among a selected number of fashion experts and pioneers in order to discuss the present and future of fashion and to break or build historical walls within conversation.
In the afternoon of June 19th, I found myself in the city of Florence, entering the historic Villa Favard pallazo. The third part of the graduates' show (a ceremony that had started already earlier that morning) was about to begin and soon one magnificent creation was following another.
The wide-reaching and thematic program developed by Linda Loppa, who is one of the few truly capable of forming visionary and deliberating ways of comunicating, teaching and forming the true meaning of the fashion industry, relies on getting together international students to be trained for a solid future that consists no boundaries.
After a two-decade remarkable career in the design school of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Linda Loppa was invited by Ferruccio Ferragamo to offer her visionary status and expertise to Polimoda, pushing creativity to the max in a way that no-one has ever achieved before.The most solid proof came from what the students presented, their value for craft, creativity and lack of naivete.