bodil blain shares cof­fee and cre­ative small talk with…

the nos­tal­gic fash­ion de­signer with a mod­ern edge

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How do you take your cof­fee? Black with ice. On a doily. Any­one who spends a bit of time with me leaves know­ing how to cro­chet. When did you first re­alise that you were cre­ative? I was never go­ing to do any­thing aca­demic, but it was prob­a­bly when I went to art col­lege in Dublin and one of the tu­tors per­suaded me to take the fash­ion mod­ule. I did my project on nurses. I printed all these im­ages of how they used to make the old nurses’ hats and won­dered whether I could make skirts out of that type of con­struc­tion. My brain just started work­ing. I re­alised then that that was how I could make emo­tion, through clothes. Who’s been your big­gest in­flu­ence? I’ve al­ways been ob­sessed with Louise Bour­geois. Sadly she died be­fore I got the chance to meet her, but I do a lot of work with her foun­da­tion. I’ve done printed mat­ter with Bour­geois im­ages in it, and there are some of her pieces in my store on Wooster Street in New York. Your work al­ways tells a story. Where do you find your sto­ries? It comes from some­thing per­sonal. For one col­lec­tion, I was in Japan, I was preg­nant, and there was cherry blos­som ev­ery­where. I felt out of place and I started the col­lec­tion from that feel­ing. At Château La Coste in Provence (W*214), I saw this amaz­ing Louise Bour­geois spi­der on the wall. I made some of her shapes into em­broi­dery. Who do you de­sign for? My last win­ter col­lec­tion, March­ing Roses, was based around the con­cept of strong women and I wanted all dif­fer­ent types of women to em­body that. It comes from the clothes. It’s not like ‘OK, I need Kate Moss.’ Who would you most like to col­lab­o­rate with? I would love to work with Astier de Vil­latte as I love their plates. I like work­ing with my hus­band, too [cine­matog­ra­pher Eoin Mclough­lin]. We made a film with pho­tog­ra­pher Jackie Nick­er­son two years ago in Zam­bia, called Patch­work, Work.

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