Vin + Omi Interview for The Glass Pineapple
Vin + Omi AW16
Proof that it’s quite possible to be a master of all, designers Vin + Omi have a holistic approach to creativity, also dipping into the worlds of art, film, TV and music. Vin brings with him a background in sculpture, art and his use of innovative materials, while Omi contributes a career in fashion, celebrity and art photography.
This highly creative duo met at a party in 2004 and have been an inseparable fashion power couple ever since, creating theatrical pieces with an experimental edge and a visually exciting overtone. Also consulting on a myriad of multi-disciplinary projects, they’ve been Creative Directors on large scale public artworks, decorated A-list houses and even had their work archived in museums. More than just making great clothes, Vin + Omi tell spellbinding stories through their shows, even developing new fabrics in the process. As comfortable working with Michelle Obama as they are creating pieces for Pamela Anderson and Debbie Harry, Vin + Omi’s statement-making style varies from classical with a twist, to elegantly outrageous.
Vin + Omi AW16
For their London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter ’16 show, Vin + Omi channeled the ladylike looks of the Sixties, with neat shapes, sequinned shift dresses and cropped hair. Futuristic metallics also crept in along with poppy brights and sweet pastels. Of course the brand’s signature sultry silhouettes were included, and plenty of seductive latex. After seeing the show with our own eyes, at The Glass Pineapple we decided we needed to know more about its racy echoes and demure detailing.
Your AW16 show seems to take the audience on the journey of a good girl gone bad. Can you expand on the contrast between the dignified, ladylike pieces and the provocative latex items and the suspenders?
We always tend to have a mix of styles throughout our collections. A general thread running through the garments was sex - Future sex - and what would make each garment sexy in its own way.
Some of the outfits are ‘in your face sexy’, some are more subtle, but we wanted to keep that sensuality throughout.
Vin + Omi AW16
The 1960’s seem to feature heavily, with bob haircuts and structured shapes. What is Vin + Omi’s favourite fashion era and why?
The ‘60's reference wasn't intentional but kind of accidental. We used nail varnish to dye the wigs and it turned them into a ’60’s hairstyle as the nail varnish set them solid!
Our favourite fashion era is always the future. We hate looking backwards!
Joel Conclaves of Daniel Galvin cutting the nail varnish wigs. Image, Alexander Bather
You’ve used a full spectrum of colours from white to blue to canary yellow and red. How and why did you select the colours shown in your AW16 collection?
This collection, as well as having an underlying erotic theme had a main theme of colour. The main inspiration was the range of colours by the nail company, CND. We selected 34 of their colours and matched them to fabrics, shoes, nail art and hair. It was a tricky process... The wigs were dyed with the nail varnish by the Daniel Galvin Hair team and 34 nail sculptures were made in collaboration with the CND team. Matching the fabrics to the exact nail shades was an interesting challenge!
Nail sculptures by CND artists
You both have such varied artistic backgrounds, what is the main thread that holds you together creatively?
We’ve worked together for 10 years and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses very well. We share a flexible approach, we can start to plan a collection and then happily tangent off. We also rarely disagree creatively and can usually see what the other one is passionate about and go with it!
Latex has become more and more popular in mainstream fashion, why do you think this once taboo material is becoming more ‘normal’?
We’ve always used a high proportion of latex. Our very first collection in 2005 was all latex but looser fitting, wearable latex. It was rare for mainstream fashion designers to use latex in 2005 and even stranger to see it used in loose fitting garments. We love the fabric and it will always find a place in our collections.
There are probably three reasons latex is more mainstream now - It’s more readily available, society’s connotation of latex as being solely for fetish wear has changed, and much more latex is seen in film and video.
Vin + Omi launching Creative London 2005
Who is the Vin + Omi person. What are their attitudes towards dressing themselves/ self presentation?
Our woman, or man, is a free thinking creative. A strong minded individual who wants to wear something bold and adventurous. Age, sex and shape are irrelevant. Our clients range from 16 to 70+ years old. We regularly work with Debbie Harry, who epitomises the Vin + Omi woman. Cool with a slice of ‘Don’t give a fuck’.
Debbie Harry wearing Vin + Omi. Image, OUT Magazine
Your Menswear items for AW16 push a lot of boundaries in this relatively traditional arena. How open are your male clients? Do they generally push the envelope quite far?
Most of our male clients are in the creative industries and love pushing the boundaries! There are plenty of fashion houses producing Menswear with just slight changes of colour or button every season. We’re not about that. We’re about blasting Menswear with everything we have and encouraging men to wear something different.
Llama fleece pants and leather cuffs. Vin + Omi AW15
You’ve worked with the likes of the American First Lady and many a celebrity. Who would you love to add to your client list?
We only work with people we really like. It could be their sense of humour or just how we gel together. We don’t work with people just because they’re famous. At the moment we’re having a great time working with a few new bands that have great energy.
There's a few people on our radar but you never know until you meet them if it's going to work. We like a long term relationship with our clients.
How would you describe your personal dress senses?
Vin: I wear whatever is nearest in the cupboard. Omi: Unisex - I wear a lot of Vin + Omi.
Experimentation is a big part of the Vin + Omi aesthetic. What kind of look/ fabric or feel are you working on for next season?
We’ve patented two new fabrics that we’ve worked with in a limited way before. We want to use this next collection to really experiment with them and other new textiles we’re pioneering.
What’s next for Vin + Omi? A new collection, a film?
We’ve just finished working on the Ab Fab movie. We were commissioned to do some complex outfits for Bubble (Jane Horrocks).
Jane Horrocks in Vin + Omi AW16
We’re now working on another film that’s really fun and let’s us really be creative. There's also a few great interior design projects underway which fill in the gap before next Fashion Week! We’re also launching select lines in online stores so watch this space!
With their creative hands in many a pie, Vin + Omi will have all their latex-clad bases covered in the fashion and entertainment worlds. We look forward to seeing this brand’s fierce and fearless designs on the big screen and beyond...
1. Joel Goncalves from Daniel Galvin cutting nail varnish wigs - Alexander Bather
2. Nail sculptures by CND nail artists
3. Vin + Omi launching Creative London in 2005
4. Debbie Harry in Vin + Omi - OUT Magazine
5. Mens Llama fleece pants and leather cuffs by Vin + Omi - AW15
6. Red fur and leather - AW16 - The Glass Pineapple
7. Yellow fur and leather - AW16 - The Glass Pineapple
8. Maroon two-piece with pencil skirt - AW16 - The Glass Pineapple
9. Cobalt latex dress - AW16 - The Glass Pineapple