A CONVERSATION WITH LISELORE FROWIJN

Interview by Filep Motwary

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Liselaure Frowijn official portrait from Hyeres Festival, by Filep Motwary © Villa Noailles

 

 Amsterdam based Liselore Frowijn,  studied at ArtEZ Institute of Arts Bachelor Fashion Design in Arnhem and graduated cum laude in 2013 with her collection ‘Afternoon of a Replicant’. The collection was about the clash between sportswear and luxury and gave her the winner prize for both the Dutch Couture Award of Frans Molenaar July 2013, and the Prix Chloé at Hyères International Festival de la Mode 2014 with her design for Chloé, where she was one of the ten finalists.

Exactly a year ago, she had an internship in the innovation team of the fabric-company Mantero Seta S.p.A. in Como, Italy, to develop exclusive painted fabrics for clients in the high-luxury fashion industry, such as Prada, Chanel and Gucci. 

 From October 2013, Frowijn has worked as a fashion designer on a six months project at the famous design company Vlisco, in the Netherlands.
Furthermore, is the co-founder of the collective The Much, Much: 18 young talented fashion designers from ArtEZ who presented themselves with guerrillashows and a special event in the residence of the Dutch ambassador during Paris Fashion Week, October 2013. Her work is exhibited on several exhibitions during the past months such as the exhibition Modebelofte 2013 – Future Fashions, during Dutch Design Week 2013 at the Kazerne, Eindhoven, the Netherlands as well as at Modefabriek in the RAI, Amsterdam during Amsterdam Fashion Week F/W14. 
She was selected as new talent for Arnhemse Nieuwe September 2013, which provides a platform for young artists.


As a designer Liselore feels the continuous drive to capture the energy she obtains from art, music, people, and different cultures she is surrounded by, in her work. Fashion is the best medium to translate all of this in one eclectic vibe. It became her playing field, and the challenge is to find the unexpected. Her designs are balancing on the narrow border of high and low cultures. Every new design is as a living painting, carefully built up as a collage, where she is always searching for the perfect balance between aestheticism and imperfection, juxtaposed all together. 
Her designs are for women with a curiosity for the world, they are explorers in heart and soul; ambitious, curious and independent.

Her work was also presented in China at the Salon exposition ”SALON/BJ” in Dashilar, Beijing from September the 25th – October the 3rd, ‘’WinterSALON/14 at the Hans Lensvelt, Herengracht 178, Amsterdam and AMFAD, a new design-fair for Amsterdam Fashion, Art and Design in January 2014.

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The concept of her latest collection ‘’Fracture space’’ is based on the wardrobe of a woman who is fully at ease with herself. She moves elegantly and dynamically in space, and lets no person interrupt her energy. Instinctively she knows the base of pure luxury. The silhouette is based upon biking-jackets and polo-shirts, carried out in tweed, and finished with sporty pipings. Liselore combined her own developed and hand painted fabrics with materials from the outdoor industry, together with rich jacquards from Italy. With this collection she caught all vibrations of this enervating year, all bits and pieces that surrounded her and developed her signature. Like the paintings of Kokoschka she examined during the development of the collection: his powerful paintings displayed the energy of his characters, and he unrevealed their soul on almost an animal kind of way with his rough brush. His work inspired Frowijn to develop rhythmic prints, floral and striped, carried out in colours inspired on the landscape-paintings by David Hockney. During SALON/BIG BANG ‘14 Frowijn has presented her new collection and fragrance in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. The talented photographer Olya Oleinic did the campaign of this collection.

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FilepMotwary: Liselore, which experiences helped you form your own aesthetics?
Liselore Frowijn: I think many different experiences did help me. But the first word that comes across my mind is art. As a kid I travelled a lot, and my parents took me to all kinds of exhibitions and buildings, since my dad is an architect. I carried on having an urge to see and create art, and going to art school was a logic thing to do. To see the works of great artists like Matisse, Basquiat, Cy Twombly or Gerhard Richter deludes me. I cannot help it, but I can get lost in a painting. It thrills me to see these layers of colors, shadows, geometrical shapes, pictures and spots creating an entire world of imagination on one centred square.

I did not want to be an artist myself, or maybe I did, but it’s not the way my mind works. Fashion is the best medium for me to create. The energy I achieve from experiencing art, my friends or the concerts I visit, provides me the energy to create myself. Without this I couldn’t work. All these impressions pile up in my head and forms my ideal aesthetics.

Besides, I have always been intrigued by identity, and how people dress themselves, in different cultures, but also here in my street in Amsterdam. You see great things, especially on the streets of London, but also in Bangkok or Istanbul. All women have their own feeling for luxury and style, it’s amazing to discover this.

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FM: Your work was first introduced at the 29th edition of Hyeres Festival. How was that experience for you?

LF: This was absolutely amazing. To be honest, I never expected the impact of this introduction would be this intense, for myself but also back home and in the fashion industry. The professionalism I experienced within the team working backstage at Hyeres Festival was brilliant, now I know how things could be worked out, I wish it could always be like this.

Being there with finalists from all over the world was a surrealistic experience. I recently read the autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, the lover of Gertrude Stein, and being there the same vibe I sensed in the book came over me; The air almost thrilled by all opportunities and possibilities realised there. Fashion, art, photography, music collaborated and juxtaposed all together at once. The Villa Noailles has such a history and being and working there felt very special. During the festival people from all over the world were visiting. The last day, I was announced to be the winner of the Prix Chloe, together with Roshi Porkar. Being part of this Festival already felt as winning, but to gain the Chloe Prize is a good chance to gain more publicity for my work and signature, and it does open a lot of new doors. I am excited to see what’s next!

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FM:  Why did you choose womenswear instead of menswear?

LF: My work is the most personal thing I ever did create, it’s like looking in a mirror. With every new piece I wander if I would wear it myself, today or tomorrow, and if I would feel beautiful, strong and confident wearing it. Maybe one day I would design menswear but at this moment it feels the most logic choice to do womenswear since for me, as a woman, there is a lot more to discover. I can imagine when my experiences in the industry are increasing; I will develop the urge to design the look my man would wear.

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FM: In your opinion what are the differences between men and women?

LF: I believe there are not many differences between men and women, except for the fact it still happens women aren’t treated as equal as men, but obviously we are equal. I think fashion is as well. It’s all about the individual and his or her personal style that influences the garment and visa versa. The clothes you choose are melting with you energy and this is what appears to the world, and how the worlds see you.


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FM: What makes a designer important in your opinion in order to last? What about one’s stardom? What are the qualifications?

LF: As a child I saw a documentary of Yves Saint Laurent, the scene where he draws a single line on a school board, and creates the most elegant woman caught me with emotion. This is one of the reasons I dreamed of being a fashion designers, years ago. The appearance this man had, his individuality, youth, energy and power are definitely things I admire. It’s not something he forced to be, he just breathed it. This is how one’s stardom in fashion is created, it’s natural since they are breathing it. They cannot think of being different, they just are.

I see this in many great designers nowadays I admire, such as Miuccia Prada or Dries van Noten. I am not sure if I see them as fashion designer or more as icons, they have this signature that you cannot deny their influence. On the other hand, it’s a dangerous situation since we must never forget to be critical upon what we see. I am not sure if I could point our specific qualifications. Maybe the designers that question our beliefs are the most important ones.

FM: How does really longevity mean in this business?

LF: The best design I ever made is the one yet to come. Working in this business you always try to capture a new thrill, the buzz that is surrounding us, and exactly this is what makes it fun. One of the most important teachers I had, once explained me that the fashion we make is about having fun. No one is actually waiting for another store or brand, and if you wouldn’t do anything no one would notice the difference. The point is to have fun, and to put this vibe and energy in your work, than it makes sense to create and to show the world your view. This means the longevity might not be very valid, but longevity is different from sustainability. Once you buy a garment you really love, like a painting you can’t stop look at, you can keep this for years… Ideally, I want to design pieces you want to collect and wear for years. This is what my wardrobe looks like: my collection of garments is like a growing pack of treasures, every piece have a different memory, so personally in this case the longevity does have a meaning. This means when the longevity of a garment might not be lasting, you can still use this amazing piece on a different way, in a different appearance.

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FM: How did you form the heroine-woman you dress?
LF: The women I design for are not afraid to show the world their strength and confidence, they do not fear to show the world their energy. This equals the energy I have put in my collection, by choosing different kinds of materials, textures, colors and prints. The women I dress are elegant, but bold and confident of themselves. When they enter the room you do not fear them, you notice them.


FM: Is Fashion changing? Towards which direction?

LF: I believe fashion is changing since our world is changing. The first always reflects the other and visa-versa. I do not feel the urge to lock myself up in a studio for months to work on my own. I believe projects where you work together as one multi-talent will provide you a bigger platform, and is the ‘future of fashion’. We are connected with everyone around the world if we want to, due to globalization. This already has an enormous influence on fashion nowadays, and will only increase more. What I did a year ago, with The Much, Much, was a very good experience in what a collective of people can realize, the individual couldn’t match up to this.

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Currently, Liselore is nominated for the Young Designer Award during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven from October 18th till October 26th.
Besides, her work will be exhibited at Premiere Vision in Paris the 16th-18th of October, and in November in Brussels and Amsterdam during several exhibitions.
In October, she will work on a project as creative director at Mantero Seta S.p.A. in Como, Italy, among other projects.

All photos by Olya Oleinic.

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