Stolen Girlfriends Club
L’enfant terrible of the
New Zealand fashion scene, Stolen Girlfriends Club is as renowned for its fashion week afterparties as it is for the directional designs it sends down the runway. This year, the
brand will reveal its spring and highsummer collections in an off-site show. Designer and creative director Marc
Moore tells what to expect.
MARC: A title, for me, either comes first, or right at the end. This one came first. For our show last year we got local artist Michaela van der Laan to customise all this leather stuff. The brief was really simple: look at Kurt Cobain’s diary and channel all his weird doodles in that sort of style. One thing in his diary that’s always stuck with me, and Michaela hand-painted it on the back of one of our leather jackets, is the phrase ‘Safer than heaven’. It sounds beautiful, but a little bit cutting too. I think Kurt Cobain was always having a little bit of a dig at things, especially, dare I say it, Christianity. So anyway, as soon as I saw Michaela’s work I was like, “That’s going to be our next collection title.”
With the word ‘safer’ in the title, I immediately knew we had to have a literal play on that, and of course motocross and safety-wear came to mind. So we’ve got a few leather pieces that are inspired by moto-wear, including a red and black moto-jacket and some panelled leather pants. And we also played with our sheer mesh basics, applying safetyseam work, so all the seams look like they’re floating on the body.
And then flowers. I spend a lot of time on Tumblr and I’ve noticed that plants have trends. A few years ago, monsteras were trending, then it was bird of paradise, and now it’s roses. They’re everywhere — all the kids are putting roses up on their Tumblrs. And the more [a trend] imprints on your mind, the more you want to do something with it. So roses make their way into some of our new T-shirt prints.
I have two imaginary muses in my head, and he and she are these confident people… I always like to think that our person is really good at something, and they’re influential because of that, and because they stand for something. I also think of this person as being really charismatic and cool in real life — because there’s a big difference between being cool on the internet and cool IRL. But they don’t have to tell people how cool they are, or how amazing they are at what they do — they just let their work do the talking.
In terms of who I want to dress? The lead singer of the band, as well as the groupies. Fuck yeah, I want the dude on stage to be wearing the crazy studded jacket that looks like a peacock, but I also want the people in the crowd to be wearing our moto-jacket and our T-shirts.
Leather is very important to the brand. It’s that ultimate symbol of rebellion and rock ’n’ roll. The word ‘rock ’n’ roll’ feels so clichéd and I always think of Mick Jagger or whatever. So when I say it, I mean it more in spirit, not like you’re in The Rolling Stones. It’s a modern take on it.
T-shirt prints are another good one. They’re so strong for us. It would be cool to be known for sexy evening dresses, but we started out with T-shirts in 2005. Our first-ever collection was five T-shirts, three pieces of jewellery and two pairs of jeans, and it’s nice to know that we’ve sort of stayed true to that. Plus, everyone loves a good T-shirt, and anyone can wear one. And we can go pretty crazy as far as the prints that we do. There’s a strong ’90s-album-cover-art vibe in this collection, because I was thinking, ‘Imagine if Stolen Girlfriends Club was a band, and Safer than Heaven was the album title.’ I do that quite a lot — imagine Stolen as a band. It’s me wanting to be a wannabe rock star, I guess.
We’ve got Sebastian Hunt and Dylan Richards styling the show again, which is awesome. I thought I was going to lose them because they do a lot of work for Kanye [West] now. I’ll think I’m having a meeting with them and then see on their Instagram that they’re at the airport going to LA! It’s a bit like that — they’re always back and forwards, but I’m really excited to have them back. I’ve known them since they were 17, so we’ve kind of become family — they call me Dad, which is a bit weird, but we work really well together. Last year was the first time we’ve worked together directly on a show, although they’ve been using our stuff for years. They were the only people we’d ever let come in and pull from our archive room.
Apart from the styling, everything is done in-house. So right now I’m in the studio at Red Bull recording a soundtrack, meeting with lighting guys to work out the feel of the show and where the runway goes, casting with Seb and Dylan… I like to be across it all to make sure we have the Stolen look represented.
The bands we’re influenced by each season change, but the music is always similar in spirit. I’ve been listening to quite a lot of weird shit, unfortunately for the team here. There’s this band called Tomorrows Tulips, they’re pretty low-fi, part of that LA — what do you call it, surf psych-rock scene? That lazy, surf vibe of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed. It’s pretty cool. And Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees — the type of guys who wear ripped jeans and Vans with long hair. They maybe live by the beach but they might not surf — they’d wear leather jackets and shit.
Then there’s some local stuff. Death and the Maiden from Dunedin are really cool. I was hearing all these bands with a dark, industrial sound; a little bit electronic, too. So I emailed my friend Andrew, the Die! Die! Die! singer, and I was like, “Man, what is this genre? I really like all these bands” — and listed them off. He was like, “That’s dark wave, man!” I was so stoked.
Marc Moore takes inspiration from music and hopes to see Stolen Girlfriends Club worn by both the bands and the fans.
Stolen Girlfriends Club will raise the .CO.NZ roof at New Zealand Fashion Week on Wednesday, August 30. After the show, watch FQ editor Sally-Ann Mullin accept their styling challenge at FQ.co.nz/SGCchallenge.