Diana Orving’s SS17 ‘ABSTRACTION’ for Fashion Week Stockholm is a show we won’t forget anytime soon. Orving is not only a designer, she is an artist. Her apparel flawlessly joins form and utility — a reminder of the connection between the human body and our clothes. And in some way, the connection between ourselves and the world around us.
Orving is one of those rare souls connected to nature and that inner voice… Not surprisingly, in this very moment, she is warm under the Sicilian sun, probably soaking up inspiration for future collections.
A moment in between exploring the Sicilian island, Orving was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Let’s focus a little bit on the new collection. Looking back, what are your strongest memories from the creative process?
Having the opportunity to create a show in collaboration with Alexander Ekman and the dancers from Sthlm 59 North is one of the most exciting things I’ve done. I feel there are many similarities between the choreographer and the dancer’s work and my own process when I improvise to find a certain shape, which I re-arrange and refine to get the right balance, weight, resistance and flow. Improvisation, concentration and repetition.
What I love the most about ballet is how the dancers make their movements appear so easy and natural, while knowing it requires training since childhood and strict discipline to be able to achieve that level of expression. I view my clothes as a “room” for movement, I want them to be characterised by lightness, ease and flexibility but still have a strong aesthetically expression.
Can you pick one design that strongly symbolize the vision behind this collection?
The long shirt-dress, a classic shirt that ”blossomed out” with the intricate details of the collar and loops that allow the garment to be worn in several different ways. Changeability, movement and flow permeates the entire collection.
I create my own custom textile printing, and for the SS17 collection I allowed my abstract patterns to dominate. The prints create a deep and explore colors from indigo, rust red, white, black and shiny copper. The silhouettes are long and flowing, loose but body-conscious. Many of the garments are changeable, with the help of loops and ties you can change the garments shape and find your own way to wear them.
How about “rituals” around your work process. Do you have a place where you usually work, if so, how would you describe this space & what makes it special?
My studio is in an old farm house in the center of Södermalm, Stockholm. It is hot like a sauna in the summer and freezing cold in winter. It looks like a mixture of Dallas and a mountain cabin, full of clothes, antique furniture and things I have collected during my travels. This place is far from a white cube, it’s a wonderfully inspiring place where my friends and people I work can visit and lay down on the red velvet divan, sit and talk at the bar or try on clothes. I often ask women I know to try on half-finished garments, to hear their reactions and get a better understanding of the garment’s form by seeing it on different body types.
I love the weeks before a show. I am very focused, almost manic, working excessively long hours each day. I allow myself to be as open as possible, examine every idea, to follow every impulse while I have to take quick decisions and dare to let go of ideas that don’t feel relevant in the big picture, even though I put a lot of work on them.
Is music a strong part of your life/work process? A song you would play on repeat right now?
The music I’ve played on repeat recently is composed by Mikael Karlsson. This is also the music I used for my show at Fashion Week Stockholm. Karlsson also made the music for Alexander Ekman’s ballet “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. It will open again at the Swedish Royal Opera now in September. Anyone who hasn’t seen it should go, wonderful music!
You are Swedish, tell us a little bit about what you like the most about this dreamy land in the north?
I love nature, I love that we have tax-funded schooling, health care and child care. What I don’t love are the long, dark winters and an increasingly racist and lack of solidarity in the social climate.
Usually when we create something, new ideas are born. Any new ideas, projects or techniques you wish to explore in the future?
I started working with a metal mesh and created different sculptural elements. The photographs of these textures and sculptures became the foundation of my prints for the SS17. I did have a last-minute idea to involve the sculptures in the show, but in the end decided I wanted time to immerse myself and explore this expression more before I was ready to show it to the world. So the next step is to work on my sculptures or whatever they will prove to be…
Something in particular you would like to see more of in the world of design & fashion?
Lust, courage och poetry.
Photography (runway looks): Mathias Nordgren
Photography (portrait): private
COLLECTION SS17 ‘ABSTRACTION’
Designer: Diana Orving
Choreography: Alexander Ekman
Dancers: Stockholm 59o North
Music: Mikael Karlsson
Stylist: Christopher Insulander / Link details
Make-up: Åsa Karlsten
Hair: Philip Fohlin / Link details