When London designers come to conquer the runways at Paris Fashion Week, they give the City of Lights a colorful sheen. While the so-called “off” shows might not have the same front row attendance as the shows that dictate the moods for the upcoming season, these shows have certainly proven to be the most advanced ones in terms of spectacle. Lest we forget that the runway, apart from its professional function to showcase the work of leading creators, offers a 10-minute escape into dream universes, where visionary creations can be explored. Pam Hogg and Charlie Le Mindu are the masters of runway spectacle.
Exaggeration and futurism are the core values for the two London-based creators. Pam Hogg no longer needs an introduction. Active in the fashion business since the 80s, she has established her own style by playing with an eccentric look, surrounded by minimalist lines. Meanwhile, the young hairstylist Charlie Le Mindu is experimenting with his all time favorite material on the catwalk: hair. His muse is a cross between Cleopatra, Frida Kahlo and a thing from outer space. We let the young designer define her for you:
sleek: As a stylist, hair has always been your passion, on the catwalk you’re taking it to a whole other level! Dresses were not only made out of hair, but out of fake fingernails too…
Charlie Le Mindu: Indeed, I wanted to reach this level where fashion and beauty are fusing with each other. And as a matter of fact, most of the time we only pay attention to make-up and maybe hair, but not to other details which define the world of beauty. It’s very important for me to take the world of beauty into the world of fashion and to present it on the catwalk. Most of the times these two worlds are different, beauty is just added to fashion but not perceived on its own. I just wanted to show that both worlds work equally together on a catwalk.
sleek: Your own creations have major references to the golden twenties, there’s a burlesque attitude in your collections. Is this your way of expressing nostalgia?
CLM: I just like to work with basics. There are some values and looks that never get out of fashion. I use this type of inspiration as a working template. On this references, I work on my techniques in order to reinterpret them and create them on my own. Basic references are just a most important source of inspiration.
sleek: Although you are French, you opted for London by showing your first collection there in 2009 and now you’re showing on the Parisian catwalk. How come?
CLM: I just think Paris is more creative than London regarding fashion. Of course, I love London, it’s young, inspiring and I just love to live there, but Paris is just more professional. You really have a creative result here, plus the quality of the collections is better. The French are still bound to artisanal values, as they’ve been taught to do by couture values. It’s a kind of creativity that I can identify with.
sleek: You’ve collaborated and worked with iconic women like Veruschka, Peaches and Rossy de Palma who closed this show… would you call them your contemporary muses?
CLM: ‘Muse’ is a big word, most of them are just friends. I’ve always been attracted by very powerful women, with a strong identity. I just love their aesthetics, the way they express themselves.
Photos by Morganistik