Marina Hoersmander is the Berlin based Franco-Austrain fashion designer known for her hand crafted work with leather. Inspired by prosthetics and the body, Sang Bleu visited her in her studio to find out more about her and her work.
Did you always want to study fashion?
Initially, I studied business in Vienna and London. That was kind of an ultimatum set by
my parents. However it was always certain to me that I would eventually end up in fashion.
I must say that I already feel that my business degree has helped me a lot. It
prepared me to look at fashion from another perspective. I am definitely
aware that if I wanted to pursue making art, I needed the financial support.
When I finished my business studies I applied to Esmod in Berlin and moved there.
I have always thought that I would live in Paris. But after my first collection
I realised how many of my friends were based in Berlin. They supported me
at every step of my collection, they were hands on from the very beginning.
I am not sure if I would have been able to do all of this on my own in another city.
How did your internship at Alexander McQueen come about?
Shortly after I took the internship last summer. I sent an application first
and they invited me for an interview. I remember, the interview took
place late in the evening, after 10pm. Most of the team was still there,
working in the studio. I was thrilled, as they had offered me a place on the spot.
I stayed there for three months. I enjoyed working there and it gave me plenty
of inspiration for my future collections.
You seem to be very inspired by muscles and orthopaedic belts,
where did this inspiration initially came from?
It actually came up at the McQueen internship. I was doing research and
stumbled on oldtime orthopaedic corset pictures, used to cure scoliosis
(a medical condition in where a person’s spine is curved from side to side).
What’s interesting, the first corset originally derives from the orthopaedics.
At the same time, I became very interested in a skin condition called smallpox.
This is where the name of my collection ’Ilpox’ came from. The ruffles on my
designs are literally inspired by a skin drying off and eventually coming off
your body. I’ve gotten into this whole universe. I used orthopedic bandages, also
preowned and I adapted them while working on my pieces. It was essential to me
to preserve the original bandages colour changes that occur with time.
Where did you get them from? How easy was it for you is to obtain such elements?
Ebay! Household sales! I don’t know actually who would buy this kind of stuff!
(laughs) It’s actually very hard to find anything like that, even on Ebay. But I guess
I was lucky and I found someone who had a lot of cleaned up, but used bandages.
Obviously, I ended up buying every single piece they had. When I work I take on
inspiration literally. If I get inspired by such a difficult subject, I work with real
materials such as bloody bandages as well. One of my friends who works at the
Charité Hospital, once brought me this neck brace, that I have originally used as a
construction reference. The ’stiff neck’, which is part of my collection has been
strongly inspired by this brace. I need to admit, that in a way, I really got stuck
on the orthopedic products. I am totally absorbed by them. I definitely am a
visual person who will take inspiration literally. I am not easily inspired by
a falling leaf or anything like this. I’m a bit more pragmatic. This is why
I don’t want to let loose of the topic so fast. For the next collection I don’t want
to completely step away from the orthopedic subject, I plan to build on it. That’s why,
for my new collection I have been inspired by the human brain. I guess you could
say that I took on neurology now… (laughs) I work a lot with leather, the
drapings are inspired by how the brain folds. I’ve been trying to make my collection
a little bit more wearable. I’m always looking for a good balance between art and
wearable garments. There’s always this question of connecting the two. And
I know it can be done. I see my customer as a woman who understands my designs,
loves a mix of body conscious corset inspirations and fetish. She can buy a
coat with a little leather strap and feels the spirit of the whole collection, but it’s
not like she needs to show it in an obvious way.
Could you tell me about the mood boards that you make?
At the beginning it was really difficult, because everyone’s reactions to my topics were negative.
People asked me why I didn’t create ‘pretty things’, why designers always take inspiration
from such dark places. Of course it was hard in the beginning, but honestly I think the
results are really aesthetically pleasing. So of course you can create something ’beautiful’
out of something difficult or even sad. Often the motor of doing what I do is still dependable
on people’s reactions. Luckily I have received a lot of positive response after my first collection.
That’s what drives me.
How do you start a new collection? What is your work process?
Recently just before I finished my last collection I wasn’t sure what could be my next step.
After that I took some holiday, simply to recharge my batteries, trying to do nothing for
a while. This helps me a lot. After a short while, I start getting new ideas and something
was crystallising in my mind about what I want to do next. It’s an ongoing process. After
that you start talking to people and eventually new ideas are coming to light. My sister
is a neurochemist for instance, so that’s how I started to learn more about our brain.
I started to explore it, I stumbled upon those wrinkled dogs, and also later those grey
naked cats, with all the wrinkles, you know? I just got inspired by their skin, how it falls,
what sort of pattern it creates. Then there are many other elements that come together
and eventually I start to draw.
Would you say, that your work process is mainly based around drawing?
Do you also use different techniques?
I draw all the looks. I couldn’t start working on a new collection without drawings.
Of course the garments start to differentiate from the drawings at some point, but I
definitely need to have all the looks on paper, before I start the design process. All my
fabrics are cut by hand, some of the pieces are glued together by laser, since leather forms
cannot be done by machines. Everything is hand made here in my studio. Here
in these holy walls. (laughs)
Marina Hoermanseder was interviewed in her studio in the Mitte district of Berlin,
preparing for her debut fashion show at Berlin Fashion Week.
Though the conversation of the place of print publishing seems to have been ongoing for some time now, it seems clear the indefinite ‘change’ is finally here, a kind of rapture for the media. Print culture finds itself in an almost contradictory state – media has finally and indisputably shifted its primary means of consumption online, now tailored to the endlessly scrolling generation (it occurs to me as I type even Sang Bleu’s main method of communicating is though digital media). Yet the magazine stand has reached saturation and, save a select few titles, seems littered with mediocrity, a constant and reductive cycle of idea and imagery printed in a desperate fight for acknowledgement. It seems fair, then, as the nature of this media is forced to evolve, to question its purpose; if we strip the whole process back, what lies at the core of printing when magazines are no longer media, their purpose no longer a means of communication?
The first in an ongoing series exploring independent publishers in the original sense, the final few occupying the world’s now empty and archaic-seeming photocopy shops, is Kiddiepunk aka the press/label of Paris-based Australian Michael Salerno. Beginning in 2002 Salerno and co self-publish a range of zines, film and music, all centred on a core aesthetic that seems to embody the spirit of what it is to be, as the name suggests, a kid. The label’s latest release is the follow up to 2012’s Teenage Satanists in Oklahoma, a 24-page, A4-sized zine, printed at the local ‘photocopy joint’, whose upcoming issue #2 is previewed with a slideshow-style video of its pages to the sound of Norwegian Black Metal act Burzum, pretty accurately summing up both the subject matter and production of the project.
Salerno spoke to Sang Bleu [...]
This letter was written to photographer Peter Hujar by Warhol superstar and trans woman Candy Darling while she was suffering from lymphoma before her premature death at the age of 29 in 1974 . The now famous photograph named ‘Candy on her Death Bed’ was created for the purpose of being published in Warhol’s Interview magazine and the letter presented here shows us a different perspective to the hauntingly beautiful photograph that Candy had organised. Within these contact sheet photographs we see Candy in bed, limp and frail but her glamour shines through the mundanity of the hospital setting in a completely overpowering way. Even in face of death Candy Darling’s pioneering character provokes a kind of energy that could be produced by an individual as original as Darling.
Candy Darling’s letter to Peter Hujar about her hospital bed portrait, October 31, 1973.
Thank you for at last sending me the contact sheet. I would like two prints of all the ones I have marked. Please call me at xxx-xxx-4219 and tell me how much they will be and I will send you a check.
I am very anxious to get these pictures as I want them printed in Interview and you will get photo credit.
My fans would feel cheated if they didn’t get to see what I looked like in my hospital bed. I think you know how I feel.
Please be speedy Peter this means a lot to me and after the hell I’ve been through I think I deserve this little favor. So call me right away O.K. thanks. I’ll be seeing you soon.
Body Sign Action 2, 1970
The very exciting Viennese Season: Actionism exhibition has just opened at the Richard Saltoun Gallery and is the first major survey of Viennese Actionism in the UK. The exhibition will present the work of Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, Hermann Nitsch, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler. Virtually over by 1970, the radical movement was short-lived but rich and dense in each artist’s output. Performance works, aktions, were at the heart of their work, extending the use and meaning of painting. Blood, animal carcasses, razor blades, and ropes were all used as implements to create these aktions.
This new season at begins with examining Actionism the sensational movement borne out of expressive action painting in Vienna in the late 1950s. The second, Feminism, will present the work of Valie EXPORT and Friedl Kubelka, two artists using their body and the action of documentary photograph to subvert the traditional notion of the “great male artist”. As Actionists chose to challenge the mythology of traditional art mediums such as painting and sculpture so did these two Feminist artists choose to challenge the hierarchy of the art establishment.
The exhibition will include vintage photographs of performances by all four artists as well as one of the original surviving stretchers used by Nitsch, rare in its survival and that he only ever performed six aktions.
Opening its doors yesterday the exhibition will run until the 4th of
April and is open week days from 10am to 6pm
111 Great Titchfield Street
London W1W 6RY
4 Aktion / 4th Action, 1965
3 Aktion, 1965Günter BRUS Kopfbemalung, Aktion, Wien, 1964
Hermann NITSCH Untitled (Blood Painting), c 1965
Hood By Air
Iris Van Herpen
J W Anderson
Comme des Garçons
To celebrate what would have been Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 92nd birthday why not spend your evening watching the masterpiece that is Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom ?