Anne Sofie Madsen is a multidisciplinary fashion designer from Denmark, who combines her skills as illustrator with the creation of clothes and accessories. Hard working and highly talented, before launching her own label, she trained under John Galliano for Dior and worked as Junior Designer for Alexander McQueen. In this interview, she talks in deep about her creations and introduces us to her mesmerising yet dark universe.
How it was working for Alexander McQueen as Junior Designer? Do you remember any remarkable experience?
Alexander McQueen had a extraordinary talent for the art of storytelling. I also learned something very important about myself, the greatest motivation for me as a fashion designer was to have my own name on the neck label.
Where do you search for inspiration? Is there any recurrent theme you like to explore in your creations?
I search for inspiration in many different places. For example for the collection Sirens of Chrome A/W 13-14, I watched the film Sirens of Chrome by Jesper Just and after, I started looking for sirens (female monsters). I searched everywhere, from mythology books to animation films and computer games. I also watched different documentaries about Detroit, and found some amazing pictures both from photo journalists and art photographers.
Which materials are your favourites to work with? Why?
I am constantly looking for new materials and methods to develop textiles. During the last four seasons, I have had several successful cooperation agreements including Swarovski, Kvadrat, Alcantara and Kopenhagen Fur. In the cooperation agreement with Alcantara, I developed many new techniques with the use of digital print and laser cut; and in the cooperation with Kopenhagen Fur, I experimented with hair removing, cutting and shaving.
Your collection "Cherrilee s/s 13" is captivating, experimental and darkly poetic, Where does the idea for the collection come from?
The Collection is inspired by the Miracle Strip amusement park in Miami, Florida, a once popular but now decayed holiday paradise at the beach, ruins of memories of joy and pleasures. Everything in this collection should look like a Malibu Beach Barbie who’s been buried in the playground for about a year and then picked up by a pit-bull, presenting the vision of abandoned thrills and discarded pleasures. Many of the shapes and prints represent forms and objects that are melting or decaying; all the fabrics are hand dyed so they look like old polaroids bleached by the sun. One particular silk top in the collection captures the imagery of this world: a woman’s ghostly face, two white pit bulls, mirrored dinosaur heads, the dark forest at the edge of a small town and floating ice-cream cones that drip and melt into the folds of the shirt; the nostalgic glimpses that faintly echo a suburban sadness"
In your latest collection, "Sirens of Chrome A/W 13-14", we can see a continuity with the previous pieces, but in a darker and a more "savage" way. What is the concept behind it?
Inspiration for this collection comes from Jesper Just's art film, Sirens of Chrome (2010), that centres around four women driving through an empty Detroit and end up at the Michigan Theatre ruins, which are currently used as a parking lot. This collection depicts a female that is regenerating from human to half monster and half machine. She is a siren, a female monster and, at the same time, the outcome of a post-apocalyptic city where mechanics have begun to blend with humans.The theatre ruins, reflected in the car, has inspired the motifs for the digital prints; they show decayed marble and rusted surfaces. The accessories are made of hand crafted leather inspired by monster elements. Other techniques include shaped fur, using hair remover, and cut in graphic layers to make it look artificial yet animalistic. The materials in the collection are both hard and tough as metal and leather, yet smooth as fur and silk. Car interior fabric has been printed, laser cut and braided to create some of the pieces, to represent machines. Silhouettes are developed from distorted proportions and abnormal features, while facial jewelries are used to accentuate this look.
On the other hand, your illustrations are really captivating and intriguing, Can you tell us something about them? What is the connection between them and your fashion designs?
I really like to draw and I still work as an illustrator. I mainly do graphic novels and youth books, and I have had 8 books published since 2011. I work a lot with illustrations in the prints as well. I used to do fashion illustrations for different magazines, but at the moment I can’t find the time.
Is there any future project you want to share with us?
My company is in constant development. But right now, my future project is to finish my S/S 14 collection.
Sirens of chrome Aw 13/14
Cherrilee S/S 13