Etw.Vonneguet designer draws inspiration from Pina Bausch for new collection

by Samuel Thomas

Special To The Japan Times

Under the alias “Olga,” the Japanese designer behind Etw.Vonneguet has long been part of the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo, all the while challenging the institution by opening public auditions for models and welcoming anyone to her shows. This time she will break away from the official event to show a collection as part of the Shibuya Fashion Festival (2:30 p.m. on Oct. 19th; Miyashita Park in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo). The Japan Times talked to the pioneering designer to learn more:

What was your motivation to participate in the Shibuya Fashion Festival?

I always want to present my collections in an entertaining fashion, and Shibuya Fashion Festival is first and foremost about entertainment. I was looking for a different place and way of presenting my work and this just felt like a great way of approaching my show this time.

At the official week there are certain contractual obligations as to how I can formally present my work, so there are certain things I could only do at the Shibuya Fashion Festival that I wanted to try this time around.

Why do you open your shows to the general public?

That is something at the forefront of my mind: I feel like my fashion and my message needs to reach as many people as possible. The industry is important, but so too are the public. I don’t think that either one should be catered to more than the other. I have never thought of limiting my shows to the industry; the only limit is the size of the venue, and with Miyashita Park as the venue I feel like finally everyone who wants to come will be able to. It is also a place of great meaning for me: It is the symbol of Shibuya, a truly public place and one that links so many people together.

What is the importance of the format of the show for you?

I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with a conventional runway, but the way I see things now that’s just not right for me. I don’t want to do anything the same as anyone else. Whatever I do, it has to have impact.

What was your last collection like?

The concept was “random value” and I originally made all my clothes in 3-D computer graphics before inserting a randomized element into the data to corrupt it. I wanted to challenge the idea of perfection in modern technology and produce something even I couldn’t predict. I wanted to think about the effect that using computers in the design process could influence the ultimate product, and the final clothing patterns the code produced were truly unexpected.

And what can we expect from your next collection?

I was inspired by the film “Pina,” about the life of German contemporary dancer Pina Bausch. In it, there is a quote: “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.” That idea being that we must shine in life or we will lose our sense of self. In fashion it is much the same, for those who love fashion, not dressing up is the same as not existing. For that we need fashion with spice that elevates our feelings and sends us soaring, hence why I named it the “Spice of Sense.”

Likewise as a designer I need a show to transmit my message and fashion. I find it hard to put directly into words, so I shall let my shows do all the talking.