Viennese designer Marina Hoermanseder is dominating the runway and her prostheses-inspired, fetishistic designs are already making waves in the fashion industry. Having turned a few heads with her Autumn/Winter 2014 collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin, her progressive silhouettes, infused with seemingly sadomasochistic elements, are bound to reinvent couture. The young master of leather will show her ready-to-wear collection at London Fashion Week for the first time next week. Schön! caught up with the Austrian born tastemaker prior to her London debut in this exclusive interview.
After your Autumn/Winter 2014 collection successfully debuted at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2014 in Berlin, how do you feel about showing at London Fashion Week for the first time?
I’m very excited and honoured to be a part of this very important event, not only to express myself as a designer but also to showcase my designs and creations. The nervousness will start escalating prior to the show, but overall I’m thrilled and looking forward to another fantastic show. I’ve already met the team and it’s a great working atmosphere.
Your collection is composed of leather corsets, straps, and bondage-like buckles… as a Viennese designer, were you influenced by The Night Porter? Are your designs inspired by cinema?
I think I know what scenes you are referring to… But, no. I have to say I usually don’t draw inspiration from cinema. I’d rather take objects as an inspiration because my mind needs to be completely free and unprejudiced. In this collection it was the human brain, orthopaedics and the sphinx cat that inspired me… so I tried to put these inspirations, which are not a priori thought to be beautiful, into a fashionable context.
Is there a relationship between fetishism and fashion? If so, how is this relationship personified in your designs?
I guess fashion is a sort of fetishism and fetishism is part of fashion. I am a material fetishist, that’s why I love working with this amazing material leather. I don’t aim to shock or to be provocative with my designs, I rather want to impress with handwork.
When you design, who do you design for?
I know my designs need courage and a lot of self-confidence. But it’s also what they give. This is achieved through all the subtle but effective details, like leather buckles holding the sleeves up. A standard top, for example, will have the sex and esprit of my work, in it with just a hint of little studs in the seam …
Your designs reveal a sculpted, almost inelastic silhouette that is artfully blended with free-flowing fabrics. What inspires you to intermingle rigidity with more subtle fabrics?
I think it was the goal to manage the tightrope walk between haute-couture leather elements and more commercially-orientated pieces. I did study economics, so I know that I need to add commercial elements to my beloved leather pieces, in order to be able to sell to a larger market.
As previously discussed, a large part of your latest collection is crafted out of leather. What is it like to mould and hand paint leather? What is the creative process?
Leather is a totally new creative concept for me, for numerous reasons. I’m always impressed by how you can transform raw hide into a real garment and the way you can work with it when it’s wet. Believe me, it takes time. I like the fact that leather can be incalculable – a lot of the design really evolves in the process. A little pleat that happens accidentally suddenly becomes a new concept for a new piece.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your training at Alexander McQueen in 2012?
I learnt some very important key qualities at McQueen. The most important is to invest enough time into your work and to keep trying to accomplish whatever it is you’re trying to create. It’s very important to work as a team and to stick together in tough times. Sometimes, when I am cutting and painting metres and metres of leather stripes on my kitchen floor, I use Alexander McQueen as a motivation, because I know he made his first collections with the help of friends in a garage in East London.
And finally, what comes next for Marina Hoermanseder?
A wise friend told me “learn to walk before you run.” I’m trying to take one step at a time and not to rush things too much. I will now get my strategy finalised. Time flies. I am already working on the next collection …. It’s all very exciting!
Words / Chloe Rash
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