Before designing her own clothing and accessories line, Barbara Bologna was a sculptress and body art performer who graduated from Accademia delle Belle Arti in Milan. The Italian-born designer utilises fashion as an outlet to explore her own personal artistic freedom and create art stemming from her soul. We at Schön sit down with Bologna and discuss her spring/summer 2015 Collection, a line that stays true to Bologna’s DNA of operating outside the usual codes of fashion.
Viewing the collection, there seems to be underlining tones of romanticism. To what extent have you experienced your depiction of ‘love’?
For me, the collection this season has some personal romantic links, although for me love and romance have little connection to one another. Love is passion, and romance is the expression of passion. In my life, love is important because it’s a trust in some way. If I don’t feel passion in my work, then it’s impossible for me to do anything. Love is like a possession of things; it is for you and the connection you have with another, with yourself and what you surround yourself with.
You described the white garments with blood splatters as representing “something that as humans we hold of personal value.” Which personal values inspired you to develop this theme of work?
My message to everyone is to live, not only with the body, but also with the soul and mind. For me, blood is life, so when you lose some, you lose something from your life. I think it is a necessity for us to think about their life and live to our full potential. Blood and death are commonly connected, but I wanted blood as life.
Do you think of yourself as a victim of fashion? Why or why not?
In my work, I try to do something more original and contemporary every season. I do the same in my life. I don’t claim myself as a victim. The victims of fashion are the people that don’t do something new and don’t find the force to do anything strong.
In your work, there is a sense of an alternate fantasy. What is the difference between reality and fiction?
Reality and fiction are present everyday in the life of a person, making the difference difficult to find because sometimes you feel fiction is reality and reality is fiction. We should be clearer in our life and stop trying to be what we are not. People who stay in the middle are real, while fiction and reality are completely opposite and sometimes very confusing between one another. This makes me very sad because it is quite difficult to understand what is real because fashion is very focussed on aesthetic. Things such as clothing and makeup are irrelevant. For me, the soul is the only thing that is real.
On a final note, has your work up to now led to a sort of self-discovery?
Every time I do a collection, I discover a part of myself, so I treat it like a growing process for both my mind and soul. Every season, I discover a secret part of my mind and this is one of the most beautiful things about my work. I love a puzzle and every season I discover one more. Sometimes when I dream, I see the complete puzzle.