“Retracing myself through time: my aunt Irene who worked as Haute couture seamstress for Chanel during the 30ies and 40ies / a woman that scared me but fascinated me so much, always dressed in black and always wearing some bizarre dark glasses….when I was absorbed in the dark-punk culture I used to realize some dresses for myself (they were really absurd) / I also took care of some simple aspects concerning the clothes in my work as a performer, all the dresses created for my theatrical performances. The first accessories – Area sculptures from which Everything was born.
I can’t forget about Art because I am an artist..what I wanted and want Area to be is not only dresses or accessories, but containers full of artistic substance, sealed by my soul and by all the things that I am. Also for this reason I sometimes chose to return a tribute through my collections to some primary figures such as Pina Bausch or Vanessa Beecroft, Francesca Woodman, etc.., as a manifesto of solemn bond between my soul and art’s soul. My collections carry inside (and outside) the blood, the scars, the cuts of body art school where I recognized big artists as Mothers and Muses. Every collection is a strong stream that comes from the bowels with which I try to overwhelm ad sometimes to cherish –as a diagonal blade on the skin- the persons that comes in contact with it.
And to preserve all this I always fought to remain independent in order to self-produce me, to promote me independently. I hate being conditioned, I need to choose if I want to breathe or not to breathe. The approach to the garment’s construction starts from a sculptural conception / give shape to the substance, accost it to sartorial concepts that I find interesting / deconstruct, revisit, eviscerate. Area is my space, my emotional/perceptive and physical place in which I find art, fashion, music and theatre…the place of those who are able to feel the rest through the dress..
Area becomes also a place of others, of those persons that collaborate with me, the photographers, the illustrators, the artists, the musicians that allow the becoming, the evolving. A family in which I create…in which each one of us creates because we share the same way of feeling.”
The 1976 born, Italian Barbara Bologna is a sculptress and body art performer who after graduating from the “Accademia di Belle Arti” in Brera –Milan in the year 2000 has gone on to create her own clothing and accessories line : AREA by Barbara Bologna.
FilepMotwary: Barbara, one can say that you re more of an artist rather than a fashion designer. Where do these two forms of expression cross in your opinion?
BarbaraBologna: I`m an artist not a fashion designer. My creative process doesn`t come from a scheme but by impulses. I think the extension of both things is different, an artist lives his creativity like a physiological impulse searching with this to fight every type of scheme, a fashion designer must follow these schemes to fulfill an idea. I create following just one rule, the impossible.
FM: You worked as a body art performer for four years before you actually practiced fashion. How did you decide to move towards that direction?
BB: Through a segment of my life afterwards, which was the theater, where I began to create costumes, accessories, scene designer and consequently I started in fashion , almost naturally.
FM: Your SS14 look-book goes a bit further than just a stylized number of images. You have created an environment, a context in which your heroine underlines her presence….
BB: The images of the SS14 came partly from visions which I see through 6 months of work inside a collection. In every collection a woman exists who has a type of personality, a place , a color, some music a perfume. I need to encode the emotional world which surrounds the woman I decide to create. And I look for, through the images to make this perceptible to who is observing.
FM: Was is your intention to expose within each new collection?
BB: To transmit a message, loud and clear. In every collection there is a theme that is read in a message which I would like to show to the world, to make them reflect, feel emotion make people aware, help, change. I don’t feel as if I am exhausting possibilities. In every season I feel as if I’m starting all over again, as if my life had begun again starting from zero, Full and dense.
FM: One must love something to be devoted to.. Why did you choose fashion to begin with, how?
BB: The dress, the style, I reach the person and I let culture evolve. Likes all forms of art in general, fashion is more personal and it rests on the person like a second skin. I chose fashion because it is the strongest channel to reach the body and soul, The strongest contact and that which lasts longer.
I have always been fascinated by the culture of dress, as it has always underlined cultural and social mutation. With the theater and my previous work in body art I analyzed and studied the body, skin, as objects and movement. The soul as an expression, the transition to fashion has been the natural consequence of this path.
FM: What are your morals when designing?
BB: Very varied, as one is when one is pregnant. I have never had children, but I`ve given birth many times.
FM: Who is the Barbara Bologna woman then?
BB: A normal woman who tries to do her best and more, for what she feels to be important.
FM: Are your collections personal—about what you want to wear, or how you are feeling the moment you create them? Where does the impulse come from?
BB: A fixed rule doesn`t exist. It is never a rational process, it only comes from inside me, certainly contaminated by what my being perceives of the world. The world around us is important. I don`t create for myself but for other people. There is always gratification in the moment that you create even for yourself. But the focus is always the outside , the eye of the world, for me.
FM: How connected are you with the current fashion scene, especially in Paris and Milan?
BB: I adore Paris, it makes me feel suspended. I present every collection, (men’s and women’s) in Paris at the same place, at the same time, that of a woman. The place (Galerie Hors Champs) almost a second home to me, where every season I can express all the work I`m doing at that moment. Just like people who come into contact with me at different times.
This last season Lily Gatins, a person who is very close to me and my feelings, has become the “muse” of my work, her strong personality has been able to add power and concept to what I have created. I try to take within the “moment” of fashion something more humane/artistic, tied to the soul, with performance (theater-music-installation) which I create every season to present my collections. In a different way to fashion business but those which represent me perfectly up to today what I am.
BB: The chance to create clothing nearer to a piece of art, rather than just a t-shirt , the real number of t-shirts produced in the world instead of more artistic clothing. It`s sad to think of a dress which is only useful it would be like thinking our skin is only useful.
FM: Is there an era in fashion that made an impact in the way you think, the way you create?
BB: No, not in fashion, there was in the theater and certainly in music.
FM: What is it that you find most intriguing in a man and in a woman?
BB: The elegance of both.
FM: Future plans?
BB: You can perhaps see it soon, but for now let`s live in the present .