Black Lips and Androgyny
When the time of the year arrives that open-toe shoes become obsolete and work hours start ending in darkness, good fashion isn't merely frivolous - it has the power to save our lives. Kate Sylvester's Autumn Winter offering does just that, with sharp cuts and soft colours that are the product of an unlikely muse... the New Zealand socialite Black Lips. Kate takes us through who this character is and why she inspires her so.
Tell me about the inspiration behind AW10... Who is this Black Lips character, for those of us who don't know?
Kate Sylvester: Black Lips was the nickname of a very beautiful, glamorous socialite who used to storm around Auckland in the 80s wearing an eccentric wardrobe of menswear, military uniforms and school gym slips. She always wore black lipstick hence the nickname. She would scandalise her posh society friends with stunts such as wearing no trousers with her suit jackets (nothing's new Lady GaGa!) and dragging her snotty punk toyboy along to yuppy parties.
What was it about her that attracted you?
She's just so fucking cool. I've always loved her style and her subversive attitude.
How did the AW10 campaign relate to your vision behind the clothes?
We wanted to capture Black Lips sexy, transgressive attitude in the campaign. The collection is a sophisticated mash up of very feminine womenswear and very masculine menswear and so we pushed this concept all the way, putting 'her' in menswear and 'him' in women's lingerie. We created a sexual tension by always keeping one of the characters dressed and the other very undressed.
Tell me about what the shooting process was like... Who photographed/styled it? Where was it done?
My partner, Wayne Conway, was creative director and translated his vision for the show into a shoot. Karen Inderbitzen Waller, who styled the show, also styled the campaign and shot it too. We shot it in the big, dirty warehouse where we held the show as it had the perfect, moody atmospheric light that we wanted. It was a great day as we are a tight team, Wayne and Karen collaborate with me right from concept stage and the campaign shoot is the culmination of months of work. I love what we achieved.
Where do you see winter fashion headed this year?
Throw on your boyfriends jacket, steal his trousers and wear them with the girliest top and highest heels you can find.
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