Introducing the independent French brand championing sex-positivity.
SEX. Made you look.
And certainly, since its inception in 2014, Paris-based fashion label Carne Bollente has been specialising in provocative, made-you-look-twice embroidered pieces with a message of sex-positivity at its heart. A couple taking a “ride” by the seaside, palm tree and all. An outline of a penis on the cuff of a shirt. “Orgasm” in block capital letters stretched across a scarf.
Tongue-in-cheek erotic content + high-quality Scandi-style silhouettes makes the potential for the brand to turn into an Instagram viral hit very high – and it’s certainly not far off.
The founding threesome (sorry!) Hijiri Endo, Theodore Famery and Agoston Palinko, insist that Carne Bollente, meaning “boiled meat” (more on that later) is the product of a joke-cum-now-actually-serious-business-endeavour. What started off as just a collection of tees has branched out into jumpsuits, oversized jackets and even bucket hats, with their coveted SS19 collection dropping on 1st March.
This season, the obsession level is high with retro postcard t-shirts emblazoned with “Welcum to Italy,” collared dresses featuring women entangled amongst octopus tentacles, and the backs of denim jackets contrast-stitched with epic naked tableaux.
Wonderland chatted to the trio about sex, freedom, and how Timothée Chalamet is their dream client…
How did the three of you meet?
Agoston and Hijiri met on a dating app while Agoston was studying abroad in Tokyo. They met up for a date and although things didn’t work out, they ended up being really good friends. Then Theo and Agoston studied together at an art school in Paris. When the three of us eventually met up in Paris, we all had a big crush on each other but then became friends whilst working together.
Tell me how the brand started out?
It really started as a stupid joke. One night we were having fun with a group of friends and we came up with an idea of creating something we had never seen before, the idea of mixing sex-themed embroidery and cloth.
What does the name Carne Bollente mean?
Carne Bollente means “boiled meat” and the name originates from the legendary porn movie, The Rise of the Roman Empress (the original title is Carne Bollente). Our idol, former porn star Cicciolina is the lead actress in this movie and for us, she embodies a really positive and uninhibited vision of sexuality.
Because sex is such a deep and significant subject for all human beings. Having said that, this subject is often perceived as something you shouldn’t talk about. We strongly believe that everyone should have a real sense of freedom when talking about sex and sexuality. Through this project we want to offer a simpler and more positive vision of the clichés, archetypes and ideas of sex that we see everywhere today.
What kind of person are you designing for?
People who are open or wish to be open to talk about sex and sexuality! Most importantly, people who appreciate our sense of humour.
How do you want people to feel when they’re wearing your designs?
Not naked… we want people to feel confident about their sexuality when they wear our clothes.
Who is your dream customer?
Definitely Cicciolina! And more realistically, Timothée Chalamet.
How hard is it to actually make some of the erotic designs a reality?
We never really have difficulties as we are supported by talented people and factories, and most importantly we are supported by the angel of fashion.
Where do you get your main inspirations from?
Pretty much everyday life, movies, art and conversations with friends. We reflect on our personal experience as well as being strongly inspired by vintage porno. Recently, we fell in love with a TV show named The Deuce by George Pelecanos and David Simon.
What’s the best feedback you’ve had about your designs?
Probably from the factories. We go to Portugal to check the productions twice a year and apparently, the factory employees enjoy making our garments because of our funny illustrations.
Also, one nice story from last year, we received a really positive message from one of our fans from Berlin. When we saw this post, we were so touched and discovered we could make a great impact, we were really surprised actually. So our creations are making a sex-positive statement, hopefully!
What was the main inspiration behind SS19?
As you can guess from the SS19 title “WELCUM TO ITALY” – it is about Italian summer. We made up different love stories of people during one summer in Italy and we want our fans to feel like they are entering a souvenir shop in Roma or a pizza restaurant in Sicily.
How did you want it to differ from past collections?
Until last season, we mainly focused on embroideries, however for SS19 we introduced a lot of new techniques including screen prints, mix of print and embroideries as well as some knitting. And to be honest, we never learned how to make cloth so every season, we learn a lot by trying new techniques.
What are your favourite pieces?
Probably our ‘Everyone I did last summer’ shirt. We printed Agoston’s hand painting on shirt! We are really happy with this piece. Also, our postcard series! We printed vintage Italian postcards and mixed with some embroidered illustrations.
How do you choose the word or phrases that go into your pieces?
We love naming our products. We see each piece and between us we make a contest for the best names. When everyone laughs, that’s when the names are chosen.
What do you think your main intention is with the brand?
We strongly believe we should all have a sense of freedom when it comes to sexuality. We intend to communicate this subject in a positive and simple way. Actually, it was’t our main intention because it was a stupid joke, but with time, we realised that we could go deeper with this subject while keep the humour.
What’s next for you?
We have a lot of exciting projects coming. We will be doing some collaborations with young and established brands. Also, we want to collaborate with different artists.
Any goals next – big or small – you’d like to achieve?
We would like to do something outside of fashion, such as designing a new concept of Love Hotels, or collaborating with a writer to publish an erotic book.