January 25th, 2012
Fam Irvoll is one Norway’s most colourful, eccentric and expectation-defying designing exports. Having assisted the likes of Vivianne Westwood, Gareth Pugh and Peter Løchstøer, Fam‘s work gained considerable momentum in both cult and celebrity pockets (Paloma Faith, Gaga and Cher Lloyd have all sported her outre-wear). She takes us through her fantastical SS12 mens, womens and childrenswear collection, modeled exclusively for Wonderland above.
Explain the major themes on display in your SS12 collection – I’m getting playful, mother-daughter vibes, and for the womenswear batch, a kind of avant-garde working girl…
[laughs] Amazing. The womenswear collection is definitely inspired by Asia and Japan. It was made after watching hundreds of crazy Japanese Anime films – and the colour palette is super Harajuku Kawaii. As for childrenswear, I wanted cute’n'candy, but sort of the same palette as the adult one. I wanted it to be less pink than I’ve done before.
What has the reaction to it been so far?
It’s been really positive, more so than previous collections. I guess it might have been something to do with the more commercial pieces – more wearable and mainstream. I personally always appreciate those kinds of pieces as I’m a big fan of over-the-top, dress-up craziness.
What intrigues you about distorting traditional sizes of inanimate objects, and using them to shape head garments – such as the scissor and cigarette pieces. What role do they play in shaping the themes?
Often a big role. I love to oversize regular objects such as cigarettes, cake, fruit, plush toys, scissors and so on, and put them in places where they don’t normally belong. I really love uses of 3D in fashion. I find it extremely interesting and exciting. I love the sort of pop-art-meets-fashion stuff.
Which designers – or on a broader scale, artists, directors or musicians – inspired the collection?
I don’t have an artist or designer that inspired this particular collection – it’s more based on Japanese anime cartoon films. In general, my absolute biggest inpirations are Jeff Koons, Tim Burton, Bjork, Cindy Lauper, Grace Jones, Harajuku Kids, Party Monster, 90s clubs kids, mad rave documentaries, Push Wagner paintings, Keith Haring and children’s toys. I love to spend time in toy stores and hours on YouTube searching for crazy 90s documentaries.
What are your main methods of bringing an idea to life – how long does the process usually take?
Usually when I start my collections, I spend a good three weeks doing research – often that consists of hours and hours online, reading books, watching film, reading magazines, going out clubbing and watching people. Then it depends on how far into the collection I am. In the beginning, I’m really lazy but when I’m in the middle of all the craziness, it will take me like one day to make an outfit from idea to finished to garment. I work best under pressure – often the last five weeks before a show is when I make everything.
How do you react when you hear that certain celebrities have cottoned on to your work? Is it a surreal feeling? What’s the best compliment you’ve had to date?
It’s quite surreal when you see the things that you made in your tiny studio far, far away – on the no-man’s-land of Norway – on some celeb’ on MTV. I think the nicest compliment I’ve had was from Marina of Marina and the Diamonds – she described my work as crazy, fun art pieces.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently working day and night on a new collection called “Monstermash.” It’s a special collection to me as it will be the first one I’m showing in London and also because I have a collaboration with the amazing underground creepers on shoes for the collection. Yay!