There´s a connection between fashion and sculpture. The use of the third dimension, the negative and the positive forms, the use of a plinth. The body in fashion is similar to the plinth in art and is inevitable for the garments, because a garment without the body is just a piece of fabric, that nobody need. The garment become to it´s real form only through the body.
The fewest fashion designers make this connection visible. The Stockholm-based designer Minna Palmqvist makes an exception. Trained in Turku, Finland and the Konstfack College of Arts Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Minna Palmquvist creates minimalistic clothes with a conceptional approach. Her current AW 12 collection is characterized by a modest use of colour, abstract forms, drapings, volumes and structures. Shades of gray, black, white and cream stand next to different materials, geometrical cuts and drapings which create a new perspective of the bodies volume. Strange forms seems to sprawl over the body and are hidden under simple and straight jackets or dresses. Palmqvist shows sophisticated coats and jackets, casual shirts, dresses and skirts which combine conceptual and classical elements. But not only the form of her clothes makes Minna Palmqvists label so particular: The way she present her clothes is outstanding and take also refer to procedures from fine art. Her models are placed on small plinths formed like abstract shoes.
This week Minna Palmqvist answered me some questions about her work and her life in Stockholm and the stunning concept behind her label and the current AW 12 collection. Enjoy the interview.
Hi, please tell me a little bit about you and your label
MINNAPALMQVIST is a highly conceptual fashion brand obsessed with the female body in fashion in particular and in western society in general. Through ready-to-wear garments and atelier made art/fashion pieces I like to communicate and discuss all the obsessions and issues with the female body that us women are brought up to have. By adding elements to the clothes that we generally don't want our bodies to have I want to create a clash between what we wish for and what we actually have. I call my design concept "Intimately Social" which stands for that clash between the socially accepted body and the intimate, personal body we hide underneath our clothes.
What is the concept behind your current collection?
My concept on the female body issues is always the same, but the input and angle changes by time. The AW12 collection is inspired by an art installation I did in 2010; A female torso sculpted from 23kg of butter, and photographed during 10 hours as it was melting to just a pool of fat. The collapse and destruction of the originally perfect body inspired me to the heavy, padded and falling shapes in the collection. AW12 is also a continuation on the same theme which I did already for SS12, but that time as a collection of show pieces, more a statement than something to wear. AW12 is based on garments usually found in a base wardrobe - the coat, the sweatshirt and the jersey dress. It sounds a bit messy when explained like this, but even though I talk about AW12 and SS12 I don't actually work bound to seasons, it is more a way to communicate with the customer. My way of working is more an organic flow where pieces come and go and are re-shaped and re-worked by time, then when it is time to present the New Collection as dictated by the business of fashion, I "freeze" my work at that point, and that is what becomes the current collection. Did you follow? Haha...
Do you have your favourite piece? And why?My AW12 favourite is the Falling Cape Coat. It defines my style very well in just one piece; it is dramatic, asymmetric and sharp, soft and draped, oversized yet fitted. I am also very pleased with the subtle yet literal shape taken from the melting butter sculpture, which is the way the right side of the jacket looks as if about to fall off the wearers shoulder.
What kind of person do you imagine wearing your clothing?All kinds of strong and fun women with a big interest in design and art in general. I have a lot of interest from classy and independent women in their 60's as well as trendy 20 year olds and everything in between. I love that! the fact that my clothes seem to have no age. It is more a feeling and a statement.
Do you wear your own clothes then?Not too much, since it somewhat feel to close. I need the distance to keep the energy. I do wear my coats and my absolute favorite piece in my closet all categories is actually the Oversize Bra Dress - like wearing a stylish pajamas all day!
You work with a lot of different drapings, volumes and structures. How important is the craftsmanship to realize all these factors in your work?
The process, the experimenting and the doing is very important in my work. It is very much about the detailing and the construction. When it comes to the craftsmanship this is essential in the part of my work I like to call Atelier, which is my hand made objects available to the customer upon request only. This is my real passion, to slowly sculpt something that almost becomes a body in itself. Everything is done by my hands and the domestic sewing machine in the Stockholm studio. It adds so much to the feeling and the value of the piece.
How important are the following terms in your work: form, colour and composition?
Form is a key word in what I do, and I don't only see form as an aesthetic value but also a speechless communication. I am very color sensitive and have for a long time embedded my self in soft anemic colors related to my own skin color, I am just not a person of strong color but after 5 years of beige and grey I am now actually testing some other colors for next season. We'll see if I keep them haha. Composition is also extremely important to me. The balance of a garment or an object. One detail can really lift or ruin a whole piece.
And what is about abstraction?
I love abstraction that is rooted in something very concrete. My references are always rooted in the female body issues but can be interpreted in a very abstract way.
I really like the way you present your garments. Your models stands on plinths like sculptures. What is the idea behind this? Do you see any link connection between fashion and sculpture?
Thank you! The plinths are actually an art piece made my my good friend and artist colleague Ingela Nilsson (www.ingelanilsson.se). They exist in various shapes, where all of them refer to The Shoe, and is a play with our vanity since you cannot walk in them. Just stand there as a pretty sculpture. Just like we do in some actual shoes. This reference and also the aesthetic of her work fits very well with my own concept and we decided to use them for my photo shoot to give the model a somewhat passive look. She is a sculpture in the sense that we put her there, we made her hair and her makeup and made her our object. I think that is an interesting reference.
Do you have your own philosophy?
When it comes to my working motto, it is "Work hard and be nice to people"
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?
I started by doing a bachelor in clothing design at design school in Turku, Finland where I learned all the technical skills of clothes making. From there I went to do a masters in textiles at Konstfack College of Arts Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Here I could use my technical skills to develop my own artistic language. It was a perfect combination for me. From there I have slowly been working on building my brand, while working as design assistant at Filippa K and also doing some freelance designing. All that gave me knowledge i never got from school, and all together it prepared me to take the step into working with my brand full time.
What makes good design for you?
The thought behind it, the execution and the sustainability aspect.
What does it mean to you to live and work in Stockholm, SWEDEN ? Do think your style is influenced by the city?
I think it is definitely visible that my brand is Scandinavian in it's colors and cuts. I don't think about the city when I design, but I am sure I am influenced more than I am aware of.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
In a café with a bunch of friends or in my sofa watching bad quality TV eating sweets. Not very exciting. But I am usually so tired from work this is what I appreciate most. Once every third month you find me dancing like crazy on a hip hop dance floor.
How has knowing to appreciate art and design affect the way you live?
It widens my horizons and my way of looking at things.
Buy Minna Palmqvist´s clothes here
Photo: Anna Rönnqvist
© Minna Palmqvist