“GADJO MANOUSH INUIT – le New Look Néo-Groendlandais”
“GADJO MANOUSH INUIT – le New Look Néo-Groendlandais”, might be a bit of a mouthful, but none the less it is the title of the last JØRGEN SIMONSEN HC A/H 2018-’19 collection. Behind this very title lies a hybrid of 3 different sources of inspiration, that on paper might seem very distant, but through Simonsen’s way of interlacing and making these co-exist, are coming together in a surprising, innovative and utmost interesting way, shaping up the collection and addressing itself to a strong, feminine, daringly individual yet sensual woman of the 21st century.
The point of departure for this Autumn/Fall couture show, was the capsule collection in seal skin, made by Simonsen as a commission for NAPA in Greenland – hence the INUIT in the title. This collection was an exercise in what happens, when a creative is inspired by a foreign culture and its heritage, adapting it into his or her own field of work. The national costume from the west coast of Greenland was reinterpreted, reshaped, revisited and revitalised – merely as a suggestion, and not as a dictation from Simonsen. It was subsequently met with massive appraisal for its sartorial outcome and deep set respect for the original source material, and today the 5 silhouettes are living as a traveling exhibition. As Jørgen Simonsen was invited to exhibit this capsule collection in his place of birth, Struer, in Denmark by Rie Nyborg at the Art and Cultural Centre “GIMSINGHOVED”, the pair thought it would be a great idea to open the show – with another show – namely a proper couture show, presented as it would have been in in Jørgen Simonsen’s hometown, Paris.
Funding was secured by Mrs. Nyborg and a group of most generous sponsors (amongst them Færchfonden, Kopenhagen Fur, Hvidbjerg Bank, Bang & Olufsen, Revisionsfirmaet Krøyer Pedersen, The Kirsten and Peter Bangs Foundation, TROMBORG, Millesime, Louis Nielsen as well as the entire hair and make-up team) and Jørgen Simonsen sat down over a period of 5 months and built out the existing 5 outfits with another 52 passages for the planned show in January, 2018.
Fleshing out the Inuit angle from the capsule collection, Simonsen thought of another stigmatised, misunderstood and ill perceived element (besides the beautiful, natural and outmost sustainable material, that the seal skin is!): the Roma tribal people and their rich, intense, proud – and visually “loud” – culture full of tradition and history. Not necessarily the Romas as we know them from the Balkans, but the original travellers hailing from Rajasthan/Punjabi in Northern India. Colours – and interestingly clashing juxtapositions of the same – as well as combinations of patterns, textures and materials in general stems from this source of inspiration in Simonsen’s latest collection. Having been pigeon holed for so long for “only being able to do fashion-black” – this is a smacking, vibrant, highly visual, spectral answer to that statement. Finally Simonsen pays homage to the 70-year anniversary of Dior’s “New Look” – an utterly feminine silhouette, celebrating freedom, life, excess, beauty and refinement, albeit in his own Scandinavian Cool-infused handwriting, for a modern, daring, strong, individual, 21st century couture-loving woman.
Contrasts at play, visualised to total perfection, is one of Jørgen Simonsen’s strongest suits and a central, carrying pillar in his fashion, always aiming for the ultimate outcome as a créateur, a craftsman and as a creative, it is his hope, you will find it here in this collection.
Photography: Helle Moos