25th June, 2012 Interview Lisa Olsson Hjerpe Photography Paolo Simi
Delicate classical music wafted through the (imaginary) trees this season as we were transported to a rather proper english summer afternoon for a traditional picnic, in a style that only Vivienne Westwood could deliver. Lisa Olsson Hjerpe met the designer before the show to discuss what was in store.
Hi Lisa, what do you want to ask me about today?
Well, actually, I wanted to ask about the main message of today’s show – the inspiration, maybe a little bit about the aesthetics?
It’s difficult for me because this is the menswear show and I do not design the menswear show from the start. My husband Andreas and a man called Francis design this collection, though, they take lots and lots of inspiration and some of the ideas from the womenswear, and I do that. So I interfere in the men’s design, of course, but I’m not mainly responsible for doing it.
So how did the picnic story begin?
Francis came to me and he said, “I want to just use the title Picnic”.
Because you have to start somewhere and we thought, “We’ll just start with this, we can change the title later if we want to”.
But you kept it?
Yes, and therefore we were able to recycle some of my prints that I did before. One is a wine stain print!
Wine stain! Like if you were out and partied and everyone just had such a good time and you got yourself all covered in wine. And it’s better than, you know, the wet t-shirt idea. It’s quite good being covered in wet wine instead, isn’t it?
Haha yes, definitely!
Maybe we should go out and wet the clothes a little bit to get the idea of it. I might do that actually! Yes, I might, it’s a good idea! Yes, I’ll do that, so it looks like it just has been spilled on.
And the other prints?
We’re also doing grass stains and blots of little insects, dual rayon prints and some flowers – it’s a lovely lovely mood! It’s somehow bohemian to have a picnic and a party outdoors, al fresco. It’s nice, don’t you agree?
Yes! Does this collection in anyway reflect on your message about sustainability and saving the environment?
It got no connection whatsoever, except that we are very lucky to get to live in this wonderful world! The world has never been so beautiful, never been so rich. Maybe it was more beautiful 200 years ago, but in this period, which we are about to completely sabotage if we don’t do something about the climate change, we have this wonderful world and well, we want to pray to the earth to thank her for what we have.
How do you like working with the men’s collection, even though you role is rather small compared to your work with the women’s line?
The menswear is always a pleasure because it’s easy and the men are very very sweet and we’re just all having a nice time!
Maybe we should round up, you have quite a few interviews left to do.
Yes, I’m always worried about doing interviews but once I start I’m alright. Believe me, I think “Oh no, I’ve got to do these interviews, what are we going to talk about?!” So actually, thank you. Now I feel ok because I never mind talking about my main messages; about saving the environment, trying to save the rain forest and all this. That is easy to talk about because I am very passionate about it!