Get to know the designers: Anne Sofie Madsen

Couture + Modern Materials = Perfect Silhouettes.

Sedna : AW 2012/2013

To describe our experience at the showroom in words would almost be an injustice to the way Sofie magically captures your heart and soul, and leaves you begging for more.

On a freezing February 3, The Feathered entered a world that dates back 5,000 years. Sofie's depiction of Sedna - half skeleton/half human; Inuit Goddess of The Underworld takes your breath away! 

The concept for this collection as explained to us by Sofie's incredible team; Dalia and Simon, is the story of a woman that loses her life amid the arctic cold. Her Goddess-like character and strength is apparent in the attention to detail seen throughout the collection.  

Exploring the storyboards we were able to join Sofie on her journey while she created this collection. The shapes of the Inuit tupilak carvings were transformed from paper cutouts to beautifully adored statements on the knits. The color palette of the arctic blues and greens portrayed Sedna emerging out from the sea and coming to life in beaded dresses that left a raw and powerful impression on us.

The hand cut fringe pieces were so intricately placed you almost felt as though you were looking at the wing of a beautiful bird in the sunlight.  The reflections of the blue and green pieces merged into rich cream colors that echoed the skeletal features of Sedna. The structured leather pieces in both white and black added another layer of craftsmanship to this already exquisite collection. The vest, a Sofie staple, was present once again.  We had to try it on - it did not disappoint! 

The accessories and the music that accompanied the show were the perfect final touches that tied the whole collection together.  

This was truly a magical experience for us on so many levels. To be able to connect so intimately with Sofie, to really experience how beautifully her mind works, was extraordinary. With the creative energy and oneness this team possesses - the world is in their hands!  

Q & A:
TF: Do you think your innovative style fills a gap in fashion today?

: I believe so. I want to capture a couture finish and an attention to detail within ready to wear. I aim to re-interpret the traditions of handwork and the use of techniques within couture into contemporary materials and silhouettes. The use of decorative surfaces is vital within my work and I am constantly trying to design challenging yet beautiful creations. I find it interesting to experiment with techniques and materials developed for another purpose than clothing and use them in an unexpected ways. For example dresses braided out of shoe laces or embroideries of porcelain.

Everyone is talking about Anne Sofie Madsen these days. It's as if you're something new, although you've worked with some pretty impressive designers. What do you think is behind the recurring acclaim?
I think, it all started after my MA final graduation collection, which gathered a lot of attention from bloggers and the international press…

For anyone who hasn't heard already, how did the recent SEDNA AW12/13 collection come about?
My latest collection took inspiration from Sedna; the half skeleton and half human Inuit goddess of the underworld. The horror of Sedna is a tragic story of a young woman who loses her life in the arctic cold and becomes a goddess with a wish for revenge. The skeleton of Sedna was depicted in the work with techniques inspired by carvings in Ivory from the Inuit tupilak figures. The human side of Sedna showed a more vivid figure expressed through the patterns and fringes covering the garments. Silhouettes inspired by Victorian menswear contributed to the atmosphere of the horrendous story.

Your illustrations are incredibly striking, does each collection or idea stem from the paintings or vice-versa?
The Mononoke SS 12 collection was inspired by a Japanese Hayao Miyazaki animation film Princess Mononoke (1997). While the Sedna AW12/13 was inspired by Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the underworld. The illustrations come after the idea of my collection comes about. Each illustration is in some way connected to the actual collection.

What does your Atelier look like?
We work in an open space with big windows. We have sewing machines on the side and big tables for cutting and arranging materials. I prefer to work in noisy places; I do not need peace and quiet in order to concentrate. The open space allows me to see everything that is going on, help interns with anything, and be around a lot of energy. I am a more productive person in a productive space.

What is the most significant item in your brand?
Aliens. I have a fascination with aliens and you can always find one in my collections. In the Mononoke collection, it is featured in one of the most complicated dresses, which were also named Alien Dress. In the Sedna collection, they are illustrated and printed digitally on the Sedna dress.

Looking at the collection, one is immediately drawn to the intricacies of the craftsmanship. There is a mixture of layers and innovative fabrics, yet there is also a balance between femininity and masculinity. Which for you comes first, the inspiration or the materials?
Inspiration always comes first, usually from studying ancient costumes, with special attention to the details in the symbols and methods used. When creating a collection, I spend approximately 3 months with a team of interns. During the whole creation process everything is work in progress, where we keep on trying out the techniques, composition and mix of materials on the garments. To me, creating a piece for a collection is not about not thinking a garment, but thinking of an expression within a shape, material or color. I learned this from being a student and having to express shapes that had to convey a message. It was a very inspiring but also abstract way to learn how to use materials.

Did you think you were going to become a fashion designer when you grew up?
I actually wanted to draw cartoons. I think, drawing has always taken a great part of my time, but now, I have just found a different way of doing it…

How do you usually go about finding the inspirations for your collections?
Usually if something catches my attention like a film or a myth. I also tend to try to walk around museums and read books…

Is the idea of an object influenced by the material?
I find it interesting to try to use materials used for other purposes in clothing. For example in my Sedna collection I took material used from a Danish furniture manufacturer, Kvadrat, and used them for the frills on some of the dress and skirts. This way I tried to reinterpret the fur on traditional Inuit national costumes through the use of man-made material.

Thrills in life?
The ever evolving fashion scene.

Which music fits with your style?
Always changes.

If you could be anything besides human, what would it be?
An alien.

Something you do differently than most people?
Create garments.

Your dream of happiness?
Currently living it.

First thought when waking up?
My collection.

Last thought falling asleep?
That I really want a dog.

Why fashion rules your world?

Best memory of your life?
First time I fell in love.

The Stones or The Beatles?
The Stones.

Jackson or Prince?

What are you most grateful for?
The help from talented young people, my interns.

Who inspires you?
Yves Saint Laurent, Jeanne Lanvin, Alix Gres.

What is your next project going to be?
Getting shows in New York and Paris.

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