Beautiful high end fashion photography and astonishing presentation through a mix of contemporary graphics breaths a completely different air to the label with the traditional and cultural inspiration. This is the perfect recipe, to mix something old with something new, and create an unexpected outcome that catches everyone’s attention.
I first became familiar with Susanne Bisovsky’s work couple of years ago after visiting the MoBA Arnhem Mode Biennale 2013 exhibition – ‘Fetishism in Fashion’ in Netherlands curated by Lidewij Edelkoort. At the moment Susanne’s work is being exhibited at Trapholt Museum of Modern Art in Denmark until early January 2016 which also curated by Lidewij Edelkoort this time under the title ‘FETISHISM Obsessions in Fashion & Design’. Having the opportunity to talk to her partner Joseph Gerger we have the chance to learn more about the label. As he describes ‘It´s rare to find somebody you can work so close with.’
What is the idea behind Susanne Bisovsky and the label?
A long lasting and intense approach and, if possible, not walking right into the trap of the so-called world of fashion and lifestyle. We are working with many aspects of historic clothes (because it is not long ago since conscious clothing has started out), old technologies, new techniques as well as contemporary influences we find acceptable. The wheel should not be reinvented again. Paradox enough, but that is what we attempt in our haute couture salon.
When was the label established and which other designers did Susanne work with during her earlier career?
The label was established nearly 20 years ago. In the first year at the Academy of Applied Arts Fashion Department, Vienna, Susanne Bisovsky was engaged by J.C.Castelbajac to work in Paris. After that she designed for Helmut Lang, Kathleen Madden and a number of German and Austrian labels producing traditional clothes fashion. In 2000 I got involved with the label SUSANNE BISOVSKY.
How do you chose the textiles and silhouettes you are working with for each season?
We develop a lot of designs for fabrics. We scout through archives, and we read a lot (of books) to be able to look behind the currently clichéd surfaces. The silhouettes are basically and always nearly the same (…the wheel).
Are you working on a new collection at the moment?
Right now we are working on the image between a sweet Viennese girl, serving a cup of hot chocolate and a well dressed lady under a slightly tamed influence of Balkan and Gypsy glitter, and it is called ‘Viennese Chic’. But in general we try not to think in collections or seasons. We also believe that clothes can be used for a lengthy period time and could occasionally be combined with something newer. More a kind of modular system than catching the hectic and meaningless sequence of trends.
Are you interested on how tradition can be interpreted within contemporary society (through the exploration of high end fashion)
We really do live in a parallel universe and what we are interested in is barely reflected within contemporary society. The minimum which satisfies people nowadays makes us wonder. There is a lack of education. So what kind of tradition are we talking about? When people propagate ‘tradition’ they usually describe something frozen. And from that point of view new traditions are not needed. All we do is to surround ourselves with old/-er and experienced people and have wonderful conversation.
What is about the folklore culture that fascinates you?
The innocence and artlessnes
Melissanthi Spei is an Athenian born fashion artist based in London. Her heritage in combination with her creativity inspires her to create contemporary and sculptural garments. Part of her identity as a designer is to use industrial materials for something historical and old through the exploration of traditional arts and crafts and their projection to contemporary aesthetics. Melissanthi has taken an interest in exploring different parts of folklore culture around the world and ways to revive them within the fashion context.