Crystal castles

Scandinavian design is known for being most of the time groundbreaking and fearless. People from the big cold they like to experiment, to be brave and find always never seen before shapes and they’re masters at that. Sandra Backlund is a hard worker and her design is so breathtaking that is almost unreal. As someone that can attach buttons and barely saw i see magic in her work that crosses the very thin line that separates fashion design and pieces of art. We’ re not here to discuss what is art and what is not but if art is ALSO a combination of lateral thinking, craft and creativity that makes common people see common things in a different new way, then yes, Backlund’s work is art. She’s from Sweden and when i think about Sweden i think about Ikea, H&M, Cheap Monday, cheap affordable designy things, and of course lots of cold. But when i see her work my hearth just gets warmer and it gives me the same kind of quiet pleasure and excitement of a big cup of hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream on a very wintery day. This together with a huge feeling of “wow, how does she do it?”. If fashion is architecture for the skin (Nancy Spector) her work takes this to the next level not only in a literal way. She sculpture the body looking for the ultimate oximorous: a geometric silhouette which is soft and sharp; sexy and avangarde wool samurai suit of armours or agglomerate of wool crystals that imitate the firmness of architecture. Each piece is hand made taking the human body as a starting point and stands as a “against fast-fashion” statement itself. The final piece is “hidden” inside the raw material (in this case the yarns) and comes to life through a process of improvisation around the body shape itself in a process that is as radical as old like the world and extremely close to what rainassance sculptor used to do staring at their virgin source materials. In fearless 33 old designer Backlund there’s the same strenght that – to pick just few names – Gaultier, Rei Kawakubo and McQueen used to push their work moving from traditions towards the realms of the unexpected and the unknown.

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Pictures: Sandra Backlund

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