Posted by Irene Ojo-Felix | January 15th, 2020

Industry, Now



Portrait by Ben Hassett for

#IndustryNow The cycles of social media impel us to embrace then move on from trends and discourses faster than ever before. The life span of a single work––an editorial, a campaign, a show, a stint––is shorter for it. Fashion’s only unconditional term is the future: operating a year ahead, after all. So, in an industry where change and relevancy are the full stops at the end of every sentence, wanted to highlight individuals who add permanence to the community–some at their start and some at their top. Photographer Ben Hassett gets up close and personal for with the creative forces often behind the scenes. They are the Industry, Now.

Hair takes on a transformational quality within Charlie Le Mindu‘s gifted hands. The hairstylist and costume designer has pushed the boundaries of what hair can accept with provocation, curtailing the classically safe in favor of surreally crafted color, shape, and dimension. As he creates the ultimate fantasy, there is an impish aspect to his life’s work whether it’s a purple polka-dotted, 70s bowl cut or shaped to look like a savage lion or a costume made up entirely of silky extensions, donned by the Queen of Camp, Lady Gaga. Also with a sense of the punkish extreme, Le Mindu’s rebellious skillset promotes thinking outside of the box.

Is fashion and beauty better than it once was?
I like to look at the now and future. Fashion and beauty are fast and ever-changing, especially with the huge impact of social media. We as users are so heavily influenced by what we post, see in posts and, of course, by tailored marketing. I believe that we need to re-learn to look up from our phones, laptops, and technology and be inspired but what is around us – I would still much prefer to go to a museum or a nightclub and live rather than be force-fed what we should perceive as beauty and fashion. I think we all have a personal relationship with fashion and beauty and that we all have the right to decide what is right for us.

What was the turning point in your career?
There have been a few turning points, the first one was when I was 14 and met Carolina Bambina from the band Kap Bambino and she opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know – it was so exciting! My eyes have stayed open which has allowed me to adapt and be free in my career. I’m bridging the worlds of fashion and costume design in the ballet world at the moment, which was a dream of mine – I think I would prefer to call my turning points, avenues on the main road.

Is making beautiful things enough?
The question is, is it ever enough? Inspiration and dedication to my work will always be enough, there is so much more work I would love to do and share with the world. I’m working with this amazing choreographer Alexander Ekman at the moment at Staatsballett Berlin and his work is all about power and precision. The power of this collaboration has also allowed my imagination to be turbo-charged.

How does design naturally and seamlessly evolve with the times? How much do you need to reinvent with an original design?
My designs evolve in time and by project mostly. I remember when I started my first collection in fashion I was making everything beautiful, but never really thinking of the way to wash it because they were more art pieces to me than garments. I would rather see them in a museum show than on a catwalk, but this was until I discovered the art of costume makers and Opera houses. It totally changed my vision and changed my perspective – when I started working in dance I listened to what the performers needed. I can say that my designs before went extreme, but now are more focused on being easy to wear and comfortable first. All linings in my designs are removable by zips so you’re able to wash the lining, without worrying about the fabric on the outside. In terms of design, I always try to go further in the process, but collaboration comes first, when I see choreographer I will always view to his choreography then design to this – the marriage of different art makes something strong.

What’s your favorite part of the process?
My favorite part of the process is at the beginning when I have to meet the artists I’m going to create and brainstorm with. As a French guy, I love to show off references. Figuring what people are into teaches me so much and that’s why I listen to every single person. We all have great ideas and shit ones and it’s the moment of thinking how far we can go. Obviously my favorite team for campaigns is always with Romain Kremer, Anna Trevelyan, Isamaya Ffrench, and Daniel Sannwald – we have such a laugh and ideas come so quickly. Then there is the result of how it’s going to be viewed and what my friends or followers think about it.

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