Monday, November 9, 2009
The Horst Interview: Romain Kremer
Romain Kremer Spring/Summer 2009, Tokion Magazine
It is not by coincidence that one feels highly attracted to Romain Kremer’s exaggerated vision. A conceptual approach taking the principles of aggression and softness ad absurdum. By re-establishing the definition of menswear that is marked by the inevitable necessity of body-conscious tube dresses and deconstructed warrior suits. And we willingly surrender to his agenda of neo-masculine provocation.
What would you say is the reason for the current urge of designers to experiment with gender identity, especially by creating versions of the men's dress?
I believe that today's man is a bit lost, in an identity crisis. Instead of assuming a position of power he may well want to choose to be an object. Tomorrow's man is today's woman.
An identity crisis…
The fashion press has been pushing male nudity for years now, same as they’ve been doing with women for so much longer. Presenting boys as lust objects. So, it seems to me that the generation that grew up exposed to it, wants the choice to be considered as an object, same as women have that choice. But menswear isn’t really delivering to those needs, so many boys feel lost. So I try to design for them as well.
You have always been ahead of your time. Androgynous visions with a futuristic and ironic hint. How does your inner world look like?
My inner world is hard to explain. It’s mostly about the everyday sensations I have and how I react to them, with now and then a spaceship brainstorm. So a crossover in between reality and fantasy, lacks and fears. But I don’t only design out of my inner world. What I try to propose is, to me, realistic for today… or maybe tomorrow.
Your SS09 tube dress is quite infamous already. I would totally wear the white one with sneakers.
This collection was about sport without the codes of sportswear. Like trying to explain to an alien, that’s holding paper and pencil, what sportswear looks like. A few days before the show I ended up with this dress, the pink one, and I realized it was exactly the message of the collection, so I decided to make ten of them. I think why people liked them so much is because a pink dress for boys has all the elements of being feminine, yet on the catwalk, the boys in their Nike’s looked everything but girly. They looked strong and aerodynamic. So the dress became a way of introducing this story about the boy and how he’s built, how he moves, in a range of colours.
Spring/Summer 2010, Backstage
Would you design an underwear collection for Horsti?
What’s a Horsti?
What is your prediction for menswear in a close and in a very far future?
I don’t really know. What is sure is that there is still a lot of work to do. Men’s wardrobe is usually frightening. They either try too hard, or not enough. I think the problem is also the icons. It is kind of a disappointment to see no male celebrities assuming a more daring fashion sense. I know there will always be a need for tradition, but what to me is dangerous is when nothing challenges tradition and people don’t realize they’re in a straight jacket.
Could you pick one favourite look from each of your collections and describe shortly why it is significant to you?
Spring/Summer 2007 The collection was inspired by the foire du trône. And that top is basically a rollercoaster harness.
Fall/Winter 2007 I really love that t-shirt. The length and fit of it was kind of in between an oversized tee and a dress. That length kept on coming back ever since.
Fall/Winter 2008 There were so many details on that look, really a war piece, but we don’t see anything because it’s all white, lost in light. I liked that.
Spring/Summer 2009 The dress was a last minute addition. It kind of felt like the cherry on a cake to me.
Fall/Winter 2009 A plastic suit with a circular hat covering the face. Because people really got that collection, what it was talking about, as early as this look appeared. Were the boys wearing transparent jackets? Or did their skin transport to become part of the garment?
Spring/Summer 2010 A blue micro pandemic with blue briefs. Because it was the more minimal way of explaining the story. In a world where we need constant protection, even to breathe, people would still want to look sexy on the beach. It is always about the relationship between the naked body, and the garment. Does the man wear the clothes, or is it the clothes that wear the man?
Is there one style that you continuously work on and refine season by season? An obsession to create the perfect version of a particular kind of garment? A repetitive element in your work?
Yes, the hybridation of the pieces. Not really a shirt or a jacket. I like it when the piece has an unidentified meaning. I am bored with the traditional menswear wardrobe. So oldschool. Who is wearing a 3-piece suit from a designer these days? At the same time it is almost the only proposition on the catwalks. It is or too shy, or student’s fantasies’ looks…
Your collections evolve in a more and more minimalistic and conceptual direction. The graphic character gains strength, the wearability becomes a more abstract idea…
Yes totally, that is what some would maybe call maturity?! While others would call it immature, I guess. I’m just trying to get my ideas out there, then hopefully boys will push the boundaries themselves.
If you could compare your design aesthetics with an object, what would it be?
A neon plastic rocket.
Fall/Winter 2009, Dazed & Confused
How was Romain as a little boy?
On Buffalo’s at a techno club in a village in the south of France.
Can you already give us a little insight on your AW10 collection? What is the overall direction, what is one characterisitc piece?
The past three collections looked kind of schizophrenic from distance. But to me, they were a logical follow up with a common theme. With the next collection I’m going to try to finish the story. Let’s say, it’s going to talk about ‘eating boys’.
What are, besides fashion, your private obsessions?
Everything is an obsession to me. I’m obsessed with being obsessed.
How does the perfect male archetype in the Romain Kremer universe look like?
There is no special male archetype in my design, it is meant to be for everyone. I design for footballers as well as for dancers, I hope people see that…
And last but not least: Who are you?
Somewhere in between Yayoi Kusama and the crazy drunk at the corner of my street.