Barbara I Gongini is no stranger to the world of the avant-garde. On the contrary, she’s an exemplar of the creative niche and its Nordic constituents. Deux Hommes last saw her Spring/Summer 2017 collection a year ago at Copenhagen Fashion Week where her runway channeled the unquestionable spirit of a particularly well-known Tim Burton character.
Catching up to speed with Gongini’s latest, the upcoming Autumn/Winter 2018 collection highlighted distressed knits, treatment-washed textiles, deconstructed draping and of course, user-interactivity. And to be quite honest, it’s not all too different from her previous collections. Well, that’s just the thing with the Faroese designer: it’s all about building a continuous wardrobe that cooperates in tandem with the pieces you already have. This isn’t a brand that churns out a twice-yearly collection to fit the given trend of the season. Encouraging sustainability and careful curation, Gongini underscores the intellect and sentiment that stands as the framework for any successful designer.
“For me,” she said, “the Nordic Spirit is raw and unspoiled. It captures the primitive essence of ancient heritage and interplays with the empty spaces of nature.” Natural materials like leather and wool are hallmark tenets in Nordic design. There’s a sobriety in the thoughtful detailing that speaks volumes.
Given her designs thus far, it obviously comes as no surprise that Gongini involves herself with other creative and inter-disciplinary Nordic contemporaries. She recently released a film short titled, “Film Module Modular,” that narrated man’s development from the primitive to the futuristic through choreography and visual design.
Once the collaborators discussed the premise of the film and the creative dogma at hand, they were left to their own devices and reconvened on the final day with their projects completed. Rather than touching base periodically throughout the creative process, Gongini felt that this process was more organic and freeing for each creative. She explained, “The goal and intention was aligned, but everyone had the freedom to create something in [a new] way, how they interpreted the concept. From there derives a unique composition. A concept approached from different angles.”
Danish hairstylists Søren Bach and Joekim Davie Lenny Nielsen fabricated some fantastic headpieces made from felted human hair, while musician HUMAN WOMAN constructed a distinct soundscape with electronic noises that felt bizarrely tactile. Sara Gaardbo, who was responsible for choreography, helped to propel the film further with organic movements. And while we’re only name-checking a handful of the people involved in the project, every contribution helped to flesh the project out to completion.
When we asked Gongini what it was that motivated her in life, her raison d’etre so to speak, her answer was concise: “It is the inner urge to be able to create something that matters. The possibility to express abstract moods in physical forms. To manifest.” Eloquently articulated, Gongini’s purpose is unclouded and clear.