#contemporaryvienna / School of Happiness / VIENNAFAIR Program

Fashion Helps You To Be Seen As The One Who You Would Like To Be, Not The One Who You Are

Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse. (Sir Francis Bacon)

The exciting Vienna-based designer duo Wendy & Jim will take part in VIENNA Pop: School of Happiness at VIENNAFAIR from October 10 to 13. For the blog they answered our questions about art, fashion, and happiness.
Helga Ruthner and Hermann Fankhauser are the designers at the helm of the fashion label Wendy & Jim, founded in 1999.

Hermann Fankhauser and Helga Ruthner

Hermann Fankhauser and Helga Ruthner

How can fashion make people happy?
Helga and Hermann: If you buy something that you really like, and on top of it, you catch the attention of the people who you would like to impress – that can really make the day! In the best case, fashion makes people more beautiful.

What makes you happy?
Helga: Maybe also the same thing, and much more, if it is our own stuff that draws attention and response… but also an evening with friends, a good party, happy kids, my husband, Hermann, a good idea that catches us, a sudden inspiration…

In a previous interview you said that art is very important for you. What did you mean? Do you collect art? Does art influence your works?
Helga: Yes, it is important, and I fear I will not find the right words for what I would like to describe…
Artists, fashion designers, whoever. Sometimes we search for right way to say the same thing, and sometimes the language of art is better, sometimes our language. I am looking for an intensity of “friction”, for a touching moment, both in my work and in the art we collect.

Which artist influenced you the most?
Helga and Hermann: We cannot answer the question. Either somebody will be sad not to be named or we simply don’t remember them all… There are contemporary and young artists who we feel close to, and we were impressed by old and even ancient art as well.
Maybe not directly influenced, but impressed and inspired to risk something.

What is relationship between art and fashion?
Helga and Hermann: In the best sense, it is a language that can touch us more than words. On another level, they are both bitches…

When a label invites an artist to collaborate on a collection, what is it: an art piece or just a commercial partnership?
Helga: Can I call my telephone joker? He is a philosopher…

Did your label ever collaborate with artists?
Helga and Hermann: We collaborated with Peter Kogler in a very direct way.
His handmade silkscreen prints were our textile prints. Art collectors and fashion lovers alike bought the pieces – maybe the same pants ended up in a frame as a piece of art and were used as simple pants. Both are right. The edition was limited in the sense of: no overproduction.
Another collaboration finished recently with Augarten Porcelain, the old traditional Austrian Porcelain production company.

Tell me about your fragrance, please. It has a very unique bottle, who designed it?
Helga and Hermann: We designed the bottle and had a very happy moment (see question 3) when we had the idea to make a flacon in the form of a fox skull.
The brain of the fox, a smart and beautiful animal in Europe, is the volume that should hold our very exclusive fragrance.
The perfume was done by Wolfgang Lederhaas. We wanted a unique organic perfume that smells different than everything else we know.

Do you consider yourself an artist?
Helga and Hermann: Yes. We are artists. But the result of our work, our language, is fashion design. And that is not art, the visible result are reproductions.

Fashion helps people to express themselves and make a statement (cultural, social, political) through clothing and accessories. What are the other functions of fashion?
Helga and Hermann: Fashion helps you to be seen as the one who you would like to be, not the one who you are. It makes you visible for your crowd and invisible for the others.

What is the best place to waste time in Vienna?
Helga: Ein Kaffeehaus?

What is the best souvenir from Vienna?
Helga and Hermann: Our Augarten Perfume Bottle. Anything from “Demel”.

Where is the best place for contemporary art in Vienna?
Helga: A good party cause there you meet the best artists…

What is your favorite building in Vienna?
Helga: The Astoria Garage. A beautiful hidden space. More space than building.
Building… The Wotruba Church, and the tower of the airport.

Since 14 years designers Helga Ruthner and Hermann Fankhauser have been pioneering Austrian fashion with their label Wendy & Jim. They met during their studies under Vivienne Westwood, Helmut Lang, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in 1997. In 1999 they were the first from their country to participate in Festival de la Mode in Hyères; in 2003 they became the only Austrians ever accepted into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode.
In 2008 they were named Austrian of the Year at the Creative Industry Prize of the newspaper die Presse; in 2010 they received the Vienna Fashion Award for Best Branding.
In addition to being designers for their own and other famous brands, Hermann Fankhauser is an artistic advisor in the Fashion Department of the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Helga Ruthner works as costume designer for international television and film productions.
In 2012 the pair launched “Drop No. 01 Eau de Parfum”.

wandjDROP N°01 Eau de Parfum
„Two worlds under one skin: the woman and the man“ Paracelsus, Spagyriker, Alchemist
Drop N°01, Eau de Parfum is the result of an orgiastic night, a warm, dark and sparkling fragrance for sophisticated, modern and cosmopolitan women (and men). The complex composition is challenging, optimistic and unique in the world of today’s perfumes. Drop No. 01 boasts 99% natural ingredients, 95% of which are of certified organic origin, making it one of the first (if not thefirst) natural designer perfumes in the world.

The heart of the fragrance is a flower bouquet dominated by indian jasmine. The formula is borne by a, for a women’s scent, surprisingly high dimensional base note of amyris wood, bonding the opulence of the perfume and drawing it to the masculine.
The top note is rounded off with bitter and sweet citrus varieties.
Beneath the surface there is an interaction of several kinds of myrrh, which paraphrases the smell of the human
genital area and draws the blossom heart into deepness, moistness and darkness. The feral notes of jasmine and amythis increase the sexually loaded subtext, blended with the queen’s elixir as spagyric essence and the essence of the Alchemilla vulgaris, the lady‘s mantle.
Top: bitter and sweet citrus. Heart: blossoms, rosewater. Base: amyris, myrrh.

In Austria and around Austria the perfume is distributed at:
*St.Charles Apotheke, Gumpendorferstrasse, Wien
*Park Concept Store, Mondscheingasse 1070 Wien
*Le Parfum, Petersplatz, 1010 Wien
*Nägele&Strubell in Linz, Salzburg,Graz, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck
*Ludwig Beck, Munich
*Quartier 206 Berlin
*Home&Style Solothurn

One thought on “Fashion Helps You To Be Seen As The One Who You Would Like To Be, Not The One Who You Are

  1. good post kris!
    these two talented designers are awesome. and you have made great interview for us!
    looking forward your other interviews with cool other artist

    thank you


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