As one of the members of our current obsession Das Leben am Haverkamp, Gino Anthonisse creates visionary garments inspired by a fascination with ethnic elements and (dreamy) menswear silhouettes. We chatted to the Dutch designer about his quest for wonder, the importance of photography and why he loves working with his friends.
Can you tell us about the collection you just presented?
I’m aiming to get back a little bit of the lost wonder. For my new collection I continued the quest for wonder that I started with my graduation collection by making collages, as they are a crucial starting point for me. It’s a highly visual and clear way to experiment with silhouettes and designs. I aim to create surreal and wondrous design using experimental materials. For this collection, origami became an important part of the process. I found a way to make pieces of clothing without the help of a sewing machine, even paper became a big part of the collection—one simple square became a suit jacket or a bomber-like jacket.
As a collective, how do you think your diverse past experience helps when working together?
Within the collective there are a lot of overlapping themes we work with. However, every designer has a very personal way of designing. Internships at Bernhard Willhelm, Henrik Vibskov, Christian Wijnants and Bless have given us all a different view on the design process. By joining these experiences we have a lot of different views, which really helps in the way we explore the boundaries of fashion.
You create very surreal designs, but the photography of the pieces continues this surrealist aesthetic. How important is photography for you?
Photography is just as important as the collection itself—one cannot go without the other. Every collection calls for a specific photographer. During the process of the collections I invite the photographer to my studio to discuss the concept of collection and establish what the shoot needs to express. The aesthetic of the collection needs to be right in every picture. This year I worked with Lisandro Suriel, his work and look are just as surreal as my designs. He also shot my graduation collection because I knew he would bring the collection to the next level. For this shoot, Lisandro did a lot of the art direction and I did the styling. The whole set was made of paper, just like half of my collection.
What do you enjoy about working in a collective with three other young creatives?
The thing I enjoy most is our friendship, which is what brought us together. Working together has a lot of advantages; we can divide certain tasks such as press, sales, finance etc. Besides all the practical advantages it’s a lot of fun to work together—we share a studio and because of this, the process of our collections is something we’re all involved in. When giving each other feedback we are honest and have strong opinions, which really helps during the process of the collection.
Your previous collections have been showcased at Paris Fashion Week. What was different about this show?
Our last collection was showcased at Paris Fashion Week where we had a showroom and an exhibition at Atelier Néerlandais. This year the showroom was in Paris too, but we chose to do a show experience in Amsterdam during Fashion Week. Within the show every designer had a chance to showcase their collection in their own way and create an experience to go with the collection, which makes a bigger impact.
What initially inspired you to combine classic menswear garments with ethnic elements?
I’m very interested and inspired by both, so for me the combination made a lot of sense. The contrast between both themes is something I enjoy a lot when working with them. Within classic menswear garments, tailoring and fine-tuned details are very interesting, whereas in ethnical costumes it’s all about the appearance and effect, and most components are very roughly made. Expressing a strong visual concept but working with technically well-made pieces is something I really love doing.