Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Five With: Iekeliene Stange and Victor De Bie

Model Iekeliene Stange and artist Victor De Bie, both of Dutch heritage, chose a German word to title their latest exhibition: Umfeld. “The closest translation is probably ‘surroundings’" says De Bie. Appropriately, their well edited selection of paintings and Polaroids shown at London’s Horse Hospital this month paid tribute to everything from boyfriends to new babies to ageing park graffiti.

De Bie, a former modelling agency scout turned pro painter, provides a great match for Stange, the face of ad campaigns like Sonia Rykiel and an aspiring photojournalist who’s just as legit behind the camera as in front of it. Look for more of their exhibitions later, but for now, let them tell you how it all came together.

How did this partnership come about?
Victor De Bie: I guess you could say she’s my muse. That’s how we met. After graduation I worked for a modelling agency in Paris and in Brussels, and I was a talent scout. One day I was shopping at a market and I saw Iekeliene. I had to talk to her…Now, a lot of the characters have her features.

How do you get the ideas for your work?
VDB: I think that maybe no one will remember a story, so I have to make a painting out of it. I switch something off. I’m not there anymore. I painted my nephew, but I’m not going to think, “I’m going to paint my nephew.” I knew he was born, and I was so happy. I had never seen him before the painting, and then it looks exactly like him. My brother was like, “That’s him, that’s him.” All the pictures you’ll see [from my paintings and Iekeliene’s photos] are friends and family, all in different situations. It’s a story of our surroundings, our lives, our homes, Holland.

How did you choose the Horse Hospital as your venue?
Iekeliene Stange: We wanted to be quite cosy. This is different from the usual gallery. It has a lot more character. It was a lot of work putting everything together. I was modeling last month and back in January. We went location scouting when Victor was here…and we just looked at the images over email. Skype helped a lot.

Iekeliene, you’ve already had a well-received photo exhibition, I like ponies, in Berlin. Do you think you’ll ever compile a book of your images?
IS: That’s something I would consider. I’m hoping to have more time in the future. At the moment, modelling is a sure thing. I don’t have anything to complain about…I just want to show people these different cultures. I think it’s really interesting. I love that every country that you go to, even in Europe, every country is so diverse and has so much history and culture and so many traditions.

Any plans for another London exhibition?
VDB: I’m addicted to London now. I thought maybe I could do something in October, or otherwise next April. I’m just discovering London, and now Iekeliene’s bringing me to all these cool places. I’ll come back more, definitely.

For more about the exhibit, visit

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our Five With: Betty Jackson

Internationally renowned fashion designer Betty Jackson has an impressive resume. When she was chief designer at the fashion collective Quorum, in the '70s, she worked with legends like Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell. Second, her work in fashion earned her an MBE. And finally, she delivered a knockout runway collection this season, with the Telegraph's Hilary Alexander gushing backstage that she'd 'redefined feminism'.

Now, she talks to LondonNet about how it all came together, and where fashion is going now.

What was the jump-off point for your latest collection?
We always start with colour and fabric, and we wanted to be quite optimistic. One of the main fabrics is mohair, which is the lightest fabric in the world. It looks bulky but really isn't. And then we wanted to mix all the prints up.

Besides some bright prints - anemone-print, wood-grain - you have some darker influences. What was that about?
It was a bit more to do with Tim Burton and all his animations, and sort of more surreal. We wanted to pull all of these odd elements together.

How do you think the economy will impact the fashion community?
I think everybody's spirit is different. I think we will get through it. It's going to be a hard time, no question, because it's probably going to be deeper than anything we've had before, but it just means you have to work harder. You have to concentrate and do what you do best. We're fairly upbeat.

Who are some of your favourite up-and-coming designers?
I think there's a lot of great talent. I love what Richard Nicoll is doing, I love what Danielle Scutt is doing. Christopher Kane is already established and does beautiful, beautiful things. What Giles has achieved in a very short amount of time, it's fantastic.

People tend to be really uninhibited here, don't they?
Well, yes. There's also all the music and theatre, and wherever you want to go, it's an inspirational place.

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