“I think teenage girls are the most powerful,” Jen-Fang Shueh said in an interview once. “They are not so afraid of dangerous things. They want to challenge. When you grow old, you’re afraid that maybe this might be dangerous, that might be hard, so you won’t try new things. But teenagers don’t really care about a lot of things—that makes them the most powerful.”
The designer of Tokyo-based label Jenny Fax makes clothes for exactly this person in mind, where their girls are sweet, yet sinister, taking in an aesthetic that leans heavily on Harajuku subcultures like the Gothic Lolita, and is inspired by manga, school uniforms and prom dresses. Started in 2010, her latest collection touches the range of girly flowery, to dark gothic, We speak to the designer about her label.
You studied at Esmod in Paris and at La Cambre in Brussels. What have these two schools taught you and what do you think of European fashion?
I was not a very good student but Europe allowed me to meet lots of people from different countries and they inspired me a lot.
Who are your fashion mentors?
I don't have any mentors, but my favorite designers are Raf Simons, Véronique Branquinho or Tom Ford in his Gucci era.
You have been collaborating since 2019 with the stylist Lotta Volkova. How did you meet?
A few years ago, Lotta sent me photos of her work. Then we met during my fall-winter 2018-19 collection in Tokyo. We then decided to work together since.
What is the DNA of the Jenny Fax brand?
Want to be “bad”, special, but also be hated and loved.
It is said that Japanese subcultures like Decora and Gothic Lolita, but also American pop culture, such as the 80s and 90s as well as the American suburbs are your major sources of inspiration. Can you tell us more about that?
The Japanese subcultures inspire me thanks to my husband (designer Mikio Sakabe) who is a big fan of animated films and “idol culture”. As for the American culture of the 80s, it indeed rocked my whole childhood growing up in Taiwan. I would say that all the American soap drama series and everything related to the fashion in animated films is a very strong source of inspiration in my work.
Who is the name Jenny Fax referring to?
I like the sound of the name River Phoenix, I tried to emulate it ...
Who is the girl Jenny Fax?
Anyone can be her.
Each of your collections evokes a type of woman. Who is the woman who inspired your spring-summer 2020 collection?
A crazy 80s girl in love, dressed in a beautiful floral dress, with perfect hair and hanging around in a smoky play center or a club, just to please her boyfriend.
If Jenny Fax were a film?
A love story with a hopeless end but “it feels fine”.
If Jenny Fax was a Japanese subculture?
If Jenny Fax were music?
That of a supermarket's.
After a few years at Courrèges, they relaunched their brand Coperni a year ago, and showcased their first runway show earlier in Fall 2020. Sharing the same forward-looking vision as designer Marine Serre, Coperni designers Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer are laying the foundations for a new space age style that is a nod to mod minimalism.
After the launching of your Coperni brand in 2013, which had four collections until 2015, and then seven collections at Courrèges, you relaunched your brand again last year. What were the reasons for this comeback?
We wanted to have fun and talk to our audience. We relaunched Coperni in a very natural way - but with more experience, less stress, and above all with the aim of creating fair and desirable products. Price is our main concern -- we want to anchor ourselves in reality with affordable products for those around us. We have also focused our return to digital projects to be in direct contact with our customers and give them power through interactivity.
Coperni has moved closer to digital with @copernize_your_life and, more recently, during the screening of a short film at Apple for spring-summer 2020. Is Coperni a digitally connected brand?
We dream for Coperni to be the most connected brand possible! We are passionate about technology and it's up to us to offer new solutions. The fashion runway format was invented over 150 years ago by Charles Frederick Worth ... and since then, nothing. With the tools we have, we should be able to create more connections and interactions. “Copernize your life” is an interactive adventure on Instagram intended to support the return of the brand and “Coperni Arcade”, more recent, focuses on questions of interactivity with the consumer and fun.
In two seasons, you have proposed an intelligent wardrobe, which mixes sewing, sixties and minimalist 90s codes. Your DNA?
The idea of the total look has always displeased us because it traps. Our client should feel free to mix a Coperni piece with others that are dear to her. We want models that last and are not strongly associated with a season.
How do you recognize a Coperni part?
Its trompe l'oeil effect? A digital form (Swipe bags and Wifi)? The clothing QR code to identify its materials? A Coperni part must meet several criteria. Simplicity of cut, idea of movement, new detail and inspiration in general from design or technology.
Who does Coperni work with? Who does what?
We work together on all aspects of the business. Even if our roles are very separate, Arnaud takes care of the business. I take care of all the creation.
Between the required traceability, the power of influencers, the vague sportswear ... what are your specifications?
We are fighting two fights: innovation - from digital to sustainable - and chic. The word “techno-chic” is the title of our specifications.
25-year-old Irish designer Roisin Pierce captured the attention of the public just last year, where she won the prestigious Chanel Métiers d’art Prize at the Hyères Festival. Her collection, titled “Women in Bloom” worn jurors over with her intricate fabric sculptures and ornate headpieces made in collaboration with Priscilla Royer, artistic director of Maison Michel, but within, lies a darker story.
“I felt a responsibility to tell the story which was driven by anger, really; Irish women have experienced so much misfortune, and I knew I couldn’t just ignore it,” she said, on the impetus of her collection.
Growing up in native Ireland, the designer trained at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, where she learnt to explore fabric manipulation, using her own method of manipulating material to create different layered textures by combining innovative 3D weaving and traditional textile techniques, with materials such as lace, crochet or needle, embroidery, gathered ... And was taken with Ireland's darker side of history too. Irish women were relegated to the “Irish Magdalene laundries” for women who gave birth out of wedlock and were forced to labour to atone for their sins.
Between prayers and silence, the work was laborious and exhausting. With Piere’s ready-to-wear collection, she opposes the alienation and oppression of the laundries, while highlighting her muted creativity. The young woman offers new perspectives to key techniques of textile crafts of the nineteenth century, zooming in, zooming out, destructuring and then restructuring.
“I chose to modernize old techniques by developing my own manufacturing methods,” said Roisin Pierce to M, the magazine du Monde, on the sidelines of the festival last April , “And the feminine collection is entirely white so that the eye only focuses on the technique. ”
Certainly one for the maximalists, the Brisbane Australian Rachel Burke starts her designs with the principle that one creates with dreams and meaning, with everything they do.
The self-proclaimed “tinsel maven” is known for her dresses that are akin to Christmas garlands, with purple, fuchsia, blue, green, gold metallic fringed jackets, in pearl earrings, charms and mismatched cabochon - certainly not one for the faint at heart! Her designs shine bright like in the treasure box of an 8-year-old girl, and yet it ties up nicely in elegant fashion.
Picture a view of Leake Street Tunnel, London: Susie Bubble in a four-layer trapeze dress, worn over a Marine Serre sweater, topped with the joyful extravagance of Rachel Burke in front of 487,000 Instagram followers. Theatrical, cinematographic, operatic ... the fashion of Rachel Burke is intimately linked to the stage: “As a child, I went on an expedition in my mother's wardrobe, I perched on her high and sparkly heels,” she told us during an interview for L'Officiel. “Growing up, I turned to the theater, and I developed an obsession with costumes for cabarets, musicals like The Phantom of the Opera. From there, my passion for bizarre fashion was born. ”
Weird like the tulle works of Molly Goddard or Tomo Koizumi, and bizarre like Matty Bovan's new vintage romanticism, her trademark had fallen to her, seemingly from the sky (or from the tree): “Five years ago, I stumbled upon an old box of Christmas decorations. I experienced this material for the first time by sticking it on a jacket base and I loved the result. When a friend asked me a few years later to make her a costume for a performance at the Splendour In The Grass festival, my memory immediately reminded me of that jacket.”
Other ready-to-wear pieces soon followed, accompanied by suspensions or immersive experiences based on fringes. These “Tinstallations”, Rachel Burke coins, are milestones of a global perspective to repeat the use of recycled material to find and convey meaning.
“An artist like Yayoi Kusama has created a global universe around her works of art, a universe that ranges from painting to photography, including sculpture and fashion. The launch of this clothing label was seen at the time as a further extension of his artistic practice. ” The way in which Alexander McQueen, Meadham Kirchhoff or Viktor & Rolf revolutionized fashion with new materials, new forms, also inspires Rachel Burke. Like the de-inhibited approach of his contemporaries Goddard, Koizumi and Bovan: “I like to live in Brisbane, in my suburban neighborhood, because the homogeneous and above all safe way in which people dress there encourages me to 'extrovert myself', to adopt a more daring or even stranger style. Sometimes, I put on one of my creations and I go for a walk in my neighborhood. People look at me like I'm crazy: I love that feeling! ”