“This issue of AnOther Magazine is an exploration of fashion design in its purest sense, of designers and creative directors unique in their passion for independence, individuality and the sheer heartfelt expression of their points of view,” writes editor in chief Susannah Frankel in the editor’s letter which begins the A/W16 issue, themed CONNECT/DISCONNECT. “They work in teams; they are profoundly connected to their own families, both real and created, and to making things, to the emotion evoked by the touch of the human hand. All, in their own way, are disconnected from the mainstream, from the white noise and the constant stream of unedited product and information that is all too easy to be swept up in today. Instead, they are uncompromisingly committed to building and connecting with their own worlds.”
Inside the issue, Christopher and Tammy Kane speak to Deborah Orr about their deep connection to their hometown; Alexander Fury reflects on Demna Gvasalia’s common ground with his founding father Cristóbal Balenciaga; Naomi Campbell describes the deep connection which exists between her and her "papa" Azzedine Alaïa in a feature by Susannah Frankel. Here, we meet five of the writers, photographers and stylists involved in putting this issue together, to hear their own thoughts on CONNECT/DISCONNECT.
Sarah Piantadosi (above) photographs the AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You section
“This is a picture of me (on the right) and my closest friend Tara Woodbury, who I've known since I was five years old. We were obsessed with swans and jumped the fence at the zoo to have our picture taken with these majestic creatures! This picture is a sweet reminder of two rambunctious dreamer girls."
What’s the most precious thing you’ve been handed down?
“My EU citizenship.”
What do you think unites all of the people in the AnOther Thing section?
“The selection of personalities in the AnOther Thing portfolio is quite diverse, but what unites them is that each has a strong and unwavering personal vision. Whether it be Mark Colle's approach to floristry, or Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's commitment to pandrogyny. Steven Philips is wonderfully dynamic and so passionate about clothes, and Jehnny Beth is on a mission to create some of the most powerful music ever heard.”
Who in pop culture, or the wider world, did you connect with the most when you were growing up?
“When I was 12 I was completely enamoured with Billy Corgan, to an embarrassing level. I had every Smashing Pumpkins album, knew all the words and had posters on my wall. I loved the confessional lyrics, and especially his anti-hero uniform – the "ZERO" T-shirt and silver trousers. I had a black fish I named "Pumpkin" who jumped out of the tank a week before Jonathan Melvoin died of a heroin overdose and Jimmy Chamberlin was kicked out of the band. I took Pumpkin's death as a grave omen. Things were never quite the same again.”
Julia Hetta photographs Print, Floral, Graphic, Optic, styled by Agata Belcen
"The photograph is of my mother."
What was the mood you were trying to create with your story?
“Something not too certain.”
If you had to describe your story in three words, what would they be?
“Patterns, flowers and girls.”
Who was your favourite teacher at school, and why?
“My very first teacher, when I was the age of seven. She was a young hippie.”
What is the first photograph that you remember taking?
“A portrait of my brother, he was my first model and I photographed him for years.”
Lotta Volkova styles Balenciaga, photographed by Harley Weir
How did you and Demna first meet?
“Demna and I met through our friend in common Peter Bersch, in clubs in Paris a few years ago. Peter invited me to Vetements first collection lookbook shoot to check the clothes and the brand. Apparently I mentioned to Peter that I loved the clothes but thought styling wasn't making the most of it – there was no stylist working with Vetements at that point – so the next time I saw Demna he was like, ‘well, you didn't like the styling, why don’t you do it yourself then?’ That’s how we started to work together!”
What do you enjoy about collaborating with him?
“I feel we are on the same page in terms of references, background, taste, interests and no fear to explore our ideas and have fun with them.”
Who in your family, and in the wider world, did you connect with the most when you were growing up?
“My mother was a strong influence on me. She has exposed me to art and fashion and encouraged me to always be different and find my own way in life. In the wider world, I was obsessed with Gaultier, McQueen, Helmut, Westwood, supermodels, rockstars, punks, goths… Outlaws in general.”
What was your favourite outfit when you were a teenager?
“A stripy glitter brown and beige turtleneck, worn under a fake Versace black PVC sarafan, and real Prada futuristic satin flat shoes. 90s indeed!”
Deborah Orr interviews Tammy and Christopher Kane
"The photograph is of me with my dad."
Why did you want to interview Christopher?
“Because, he was born and bred in the ruined ex-steel town too and I thought it wonderful that he created such beauty from such unlikely beginnings.”
Was the experience of meeting him and Tammy what you expected?
“Not at all. It was a very intense, strange and almost magical experience, like no interview I've ever done before.”
What were you like as a child at school?
“I was quiet, shy, routinely bullied and very eager to please my teachers.”
Who was the teacher/person who inspired you the most?
“My Latin teacher, Mrs Holmes.”
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
“Having seen my Dad do a hard job that he hated, I just wanted my work to be something I would want to do even if I wasn't being paid for it.”
Alexander Fury interviews Demna Gvasalia
“The picture is of my parents, Janet and Vince, from about 1980 I think.”
How and when did you first meet Demna and Lotta?
“I met them both on interview assignments - I think everyone else has met them at parties, but I don’t really do those…”
What interests you about Demna, and his interpretation of Balenciaga?
“The challenge. I feel like lots of people were quite trepidatious about if he could translate his aesthetic into the couture heritage – or, as he says, ‘attitude’ – so emblematic of Balenciaga, which he overwhelmingly succeeded in.”
What do you think it is about his approach that has seen him become so successful over the last few years?
“It’s an alternative. A different way of thinking than the total look – that is very hard, quite cruel, sharp and challenging. These clothes are challenging, but in a much warmer, more affectionate way. They’re cool, but not cold.”
Who was the teacher/person who inspired you the most?
“My old art teacher, Eileen Gartside. She sadly passed away. She was a formidable, incredibly inspiring woman who utterly terrified me. She’s the reason I’ve got any success at all.”
Is there a piece of clothing from your childhood that you particularly loved?
“Last year, I bought a coat from John Galliano’s Autumn/Winter 1996 collection. I would have killed for it aged 13. The favourite clothes I buy now are Galliano, from that era. Garments that I always wished I could own, which I can own now.”