Barbara Bologna, Conceptual fashion as a means of artistic expression

Her skilful use of contrasting materials and sartorial influences accentuate a capricious, yet consistent defence at conventions, that aims to examine the connection between individual identity, artistic creeds, nowadays fashion and the world. I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara Bologna and finding out more about her AW18/19 collection, available now at ENTRANCE.

 

Interview by Diana Colcer

Photography: Vlad Andrei

Styling: Amir Doboș

Barbara Bologna portrait by Daniele Golia

An artist first and foremost, Italian-born designer Barbara Bologna — a former sculptress and body art performer who graduated the “Accademia di Belle Arti” in Berera before deciding to launch her own clothing label — uses fashion as a means of perpetual artistic expression. She is fiercely independent, original and provocative and makes a habit of operating outside the usual creative rules, designing items that strongly assert identity and individuality. Her collection for the AW 18/19 season, available now at ENTRANCE, speaks volumes and fluids, associating textures and asymmetric details with urban conceptual accents. I had the pleasure of finding out more about Barbara Bologna and her creative process, in the interview bellow.

Barbara, you once stated that you are an artist, not a fashion designer, but these two forms of expressions clearly came together in your work. Please tell us how does the artist in you influences your designer persona?

Indeed I said this many times — i will always think of myself as an artist and not a fashion designer, because this is the direction i decided to take in my work. I chose fashion and then create collections, outfits, clothes, accessories as a material, as one sculptor chooses the material to be moulded. I believe here lies the connection in me, between this two forms.

Green cotton blend loose elongated bomber jacket by Barbara Bologna featuring long sleeves and a front zip fastening. Green snake printed leggings by Barbara Bologna featuring an elasticated waistband.

What are your artistic values, what is your general artistic vision and how did you express them in your latest collection?

The answer to this question is very complex. I believe in direct expression, in a inner concept or thought that has to be perpetually communicated to the outside world, in the reality of emotionality, and i adore challenges, because i think a challenge is a strong starting-point for reflection.

 

When did you first realise that you wanted to become an artist? And why did you decide to move into fashion?

I don’t remember when i decided to become an artist, it probably just happened. The theatre performance was definitely an inspiring channel that made me think about dressing a naked body, and so was the fashion.

Red black cotton blend front printed hoodie by Barbara Bologna featuring a hood with drawstring tie fastenings and long sleeves. Red puffer elongated jacket by Barbara Bologna featuring long sleeves and a front zip fastening.

How did your experience as sculptress and body performer came to influence the way you design?

I often follow the three-dimensional vision of sculpture to create patterns, volumes or images. I create prints starting from images taken with a phone and mixing them with drawing. All this process ensures a large part of the visual imagery for each collection, and it is not just the sculpture that contaminates what i create, but above all a set of arts that flow inside of me, creating me outside of myself.

 

You once said that your designs feel like your children and the process of making them feels al lot like giving birth. Please elaborate on that.

I live each of my collections with a child, so yes, the process of pregnancy and delivery is just the time for creating collections.

I expect a lot, that they have the power to scream in a powerful way to the world, that have the ability to be understood, to move thoughts and emotions where there is only a sterile observation, to  exist where there is only a simple appearance.

Barbara Bologna portrait by Daniele Golia

What do you see when you envision the women wearing your creations?

I see strength and freedom, without fear.

 

But who is Barbara, the woman behind the artist, behind the designer? What does a typical day look like for you?

I am me, simply what you see through my collection… My typical day is full of what i create, if not in practice, it persists inside my mind. In the remaining time i eat, drink, sleep, have sex. I live, like every other person.

Black puffer asymmetric jacket by Barbara Bologna featuring short sleeves, a front zip fastening and a ruffled design. Black cotton blend loose track trousers by Barbara Bologna featuring an elasticated waistband and a cropped length.

What are the things that you find less inspirational in your everyday environment or in the current state of the world? And what are the things that provide your with the desire to create?

Boredom and the spasmodic search for something. These are the two things that i find not stimulating, and, probably, they are consequential and opposite, but with an identical result — the alignment of the human being. To answer your second question, there isn’t something specific that gives me the desire to create. I have the desire to create because i have something to say. I’ll probably stop creating when i have nothing left to say.

 

Do you feel your designs have an impact on street style?

I think that, in a way, yes. In some sense I have always tried to create something different — i mean, a different view on this kind of style, which I find at the end, very interesting.

 

Finally, what is something that you feel you need to achieve as soon as possible, professionally or personally?

Being really happy, even if happiness does not exist at the end.

Red puffer elongated jacket by Barbara Bologna featuring long sleeves and a front zip fastening. Black leather boots by Guidi.

Model: Sasha Palma / ICAN Model Management

Make-up: Corina Constantinescu

Photographed at the “Ana Aslan” Gerontology and Geriatrics Institute, Bucharest.

All featured Barbara Bologna items available to shop at ENTRANCE.