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9 Nov

FKA twigs on latest music, multifaceted femininity, and being

The musician and Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli joined forces over again on a strong performance at Paris Fashion Week SS24

At this season’s Valentino show in Paris, a lithe figure in a skin-tone vest and mini skirt pelted into the showspace and ran a lap of the catwalk, before clambering up onto a stone plinth and digging a microphone out of the sand that filled it. So fast was the person sprinting, it wasn’t immediately obvious who it was, but because the soundtrack kicked in, and her voice rang out through the beams of sunlight that poured in through the curved glass roof, the mystery was solved: FKA twigs was back to perform a latest track from her forthcoming album at Pierpaolo Piccioli’s SS24 extravaganza.  

With twigs previously teaming up with the Valentino team back in 2020, her return to Piccioli’s fold made total sense when considering the themes of his latest collection. Women’s rights are in jeopardy across the globe – as right-wing and fascist governments police their bodies, take away their decisions, and push progress back by a long time – and so Piccioli selected to supply freedom through fashion. In an age when women are told to “dress appropriately” or else bring sexual assault and violence upon themselves, the designer called “real feminism” the correct “to be naked, to show their body… to not be another person.” 

With this in mind, tunics and skirts were cut bum-skimmingly short, gowns got here with cutaways that offered sensual flashes of hip and the curvature of the breast, and complex lace construction played a game of peekaboo with the skin underneath. It was soft and sensual in some places, and powerful and powerful in others, the petit mains of the home capturing the numerous facets of femininity and womanhood in every stitch, tuck, pleat, and fold. 

Exploring her own femininity and the numerous personas that lie inside her is something FKA twigs has been doing since she burst onto the music scene within the early 2010s. Traversing the road between fierce power and delicate fragility and landing in all places in-between across the course of her profession, the artist has presented herself as a swashbuckling pirate, a talented swordswoman, and even biblical figure Mary Magdalene. But none of those have been reinventions or ‘characters’ she explains: every one lives inside her. 

Of their relationship, in line with twigs, each she and Piccioli by some means unwittingly sought one another out, drawn together as two “daring creators with big hearts”. The 2 share the identical sort of passion for creativity and at all times being true and honest in a world that’s anything but, with twigs becoming a form of muse to Piccioli this season and beyond. Ahead of the SS24 show, the Valentino creative director told twigs about “a raw woman, with no make-up on, who wore her hair down and natural, and was incredibly strong and powerful” who inspired his latest offering. “She was so beautiful because she was just being unapologetically herself, and in that way, she was a feminist,” she finishes. 

Seems that the girl he had in mind was twigs, and so the 2 got here together to collaborate on a really special piece for a second time. Here, she discusses her friendship with Pierpaolo and the home of Valentino, the meaning behind her performance, and a little bit, cryptic details about her upcoming album. 

Hey twigs! Initially, how did you and Pierpaolo meet and form a relationship?

FKA twigs: I met Pierpaolo in 2019, and for me he’s one in every of those people who my life at all times leads me to cross paths with, when travelling, in shops, restaurants and at events all world wide. It’s quite funny actually. I really like how warm he at all times is and the way he at all times finds time to have a memorable conversation with me.

What values or traits do you share?

FKA twigs: I feel that Pierpaolo and I are each daring creators with big hearts. He’s so passionate and has great belief in his vision. Pierpaolo also has immense trust within the people who he surrounds himself with and his collaborators. He believes in family at home and family in art. I actually admire and strive for that.

How does your creativity cross over?

FKA twigs: I think that Pierpaolo and I each have a desire to incorporate the entire arts in our work, putting equal care into the music, art, fashion and the general emotional resonance of what we create.

“I feel an incredible responsibility to want more for myself and the artists around me that encourage me essentially the most” – FKA twigs

How did this season’s performance come about?

FKA twigs: I actually have been messaging, calling, and curating dinners with a number of of my collaborators recently to speak about pushing more for what we imagine in and piercing through culture, and although it might probably be difficult with the noise and stimulation of the web to retain the tenacity and integrity and to fight harder for authenticity within the work that we create. 

I feel an incredible responsibility to want more for myself and the artists around me that encourage me essentially the most. There may be a lot incredible work to be discovered we just must be laser focused to hunt it out in these current times. I spoke to Pierpaolo about this one evening and he shared with me the inspiration behind his collection. He told me a story a couple of raw woman with no make-up on, who wore her hair down and natural, she was unapologetically herself and incredibly strong and powerful. This woman was busy, she worked, she made art, this woman had a perspective and she or he was focused on who she desired to be. This woman wore flat shoes because she was on the go. She was so beautiful because she was just being unapologetically herself and in that way she was a feminist. She was raw and effortless just like the silk and linen that Pierpaolo was working with when making his collection. 

Then Pierpaolo told me that he saw me as that woman and he was inspired by this, he said that Kaia was too actually. He said that he would love me to create the music for the piece and talked about space in music and the way he heard the feminine voice getting used as a backdrop to the gathering. Almost immediately all I could see and listen to were sounds being created from the earth and bodies which have an intense purpose getting used to create something larger than themselves.

Are you able to tell me concerning the concept?

FKA twigs: UNEARTH HER represents being in a process, whether that’s in life, in art, or in personal exploration of who one is. It’s about not being there yet, but in tandem being perfect exactly where you’re. For me personally, the piece tells the story of being in the midst of making my next album and exploring the musical, mental, spiritual, and physical movement goals that I’m reaching for in my next videos and shows. 

The soundscape was made live within the show using Foley techniques [overseen by Emmy-winner Joanna Fang], it was essential to me to make use of these live sounds created from crunching gravel, pouring sand, and grinding stones since it represented the shortage of control we’ve got in our life and the way the whole lot becomes an element of our days emotional palette. 

I physically dug my microphone stand out of the earth because that’s how I feel sometimes after I create, the whole lot is an excavation. Working with Benoit, the choreographer from Ballet Rambert, and the incredible Rambert dancers was amazing as I used to be in a position to use my female form in a particularly physical way but without falling into the standard tropes of being sexualised [which I sometimes enjoy also]. 

Sometimes I do enjoy that also, but often it has proven hard for me to point out skin and captivate without using sexualised movement and I loved exposing this in UNEARTH HER. I desired to catch eyes and win hearts for physical skill and strength. It’s something I actually have been exploring so much within the last 12 months in my personal practice, so [to perform] UNEARTH HER [at the Valentino show] was an incredible opportunity to point out my movement practice mid birth.

Last time you performed at Valentino, you went for an enormous custom dress, whereas this one was very stripped back. Tell me concerning the reasoning behind the garments?

FKA twigs: I strongly felt that the performance was the wind under the gathering’s wings so myself and the dancers should have no embellishments on our clothes since the models were wearing Pierpaolo’s art. But additionally in my personal life I actually have grown uninterested in maximalism, and the hunger for increasingly and more. 

I actually have been distilling my life all the way down to its core ingredients, my most loved people, my most treasured archive pieces, removing the clutter in my home and in my mind. I crave nature so much more nowadays, I would like less and the things I actually have, I would like them to last, I would like to deal with and have pride in the entire things in my life. It’s turn out to be almost like a private method for me that I develop on a regular basis. I used to be so comfortable performing stripped and raw. I felt so exposed and powerful.

I assumed the parts where you all moved in unison were really mesmerising. Are you able to explain the choreography for me, and what you were attempting to portray?

FKA twigs: Well when talking to Mesh [my personal movement director] we loved the concept the audience could take a look at the movement and at times it might be so slow and controlled that they may take a look at the gathering because it moved past after which back on the performance and it was almost as if nothing had happened. I also loved the concept of the movement representing breaking out of the expectation of life so moving awkwardly to the rhythm after which dramatically breaking out.

“I crave nature so much more nowadays, I would like less and the things I actually have, I would like them to last, I would like to deal with and have pride in the entire things in my life” – FKA twigs

Are there any extra considerations to have in mind when acting at a fashion show?

FKA twigs: To create a performance in 360 was really interesting, we worked hard to be sure that there was something to take a look at the entire time. I like the concept everyone sitting across the room had a unique experience and had a moment that was performed only for them.

Tell me concerning the track itself! I loved it.

FKA twigs: The music is from my next album, which is in process, and the center track is known as “Joy Squad” by Koreless. I actually have at all times wanted to bop to this track so I used to be so excited. It makes me feel like I actually have a pinball machine in my sternum and every beat jolts a unique bone in my body.

Are you able to tell us more concerning the latest album? What’s its mood, what’s the inspiration?

FKA twigs: You’ll have to attend and see x

You’re consistently reinventing yourself and portraying latest characters inside your fashion and your music. Who’re you playing straight away, what era are you in?

FKA twigs: I’m not ever playing anyone – I portray different magnified versions of myself. I never really know what is going to occur in my life or how that may change the work that I’m inspired to make, but I’m at all times really curious to spend time checking out my latest truth.

Was there a bit from the gathering you really need to get your hands on?

FKA twigs: Pierpaolo spoke about using techniques in high fashion that he delivered to the ready-to-wear collection. For instance, the best way that the flowers are held together was with really intricate beading. I also love using linen since it’s an excellent fabric. Its frequency is 5,000, which implies that energetically the material is proven to energise the human body and regulate body temperature.

What’s your top tip for fashion week?

FKA twigs: Stay hydrated.

What’s your fashion holy grail – what item of fashion history would you most like to own?

FKA twigs: There was a catsuit with veins throughout it within the 1998 Olivier Theyskins ready-to-wear collection that I actually have been occupied with so much recently. I wore it once in a Dazed cover shoot actually! 

Did you ever get star struck at fashion week?

FKA twigs: After I met Patti Smith I used to be pretty star struck. I flew to Berlin to see her play the following week because I used to be so enchanted by sitting next to her.

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