The Flying Forms
Karina Ericsson Wärn is the new chief curator for Design at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern. She has previously worked as a curator within the field of contemporary art and fashion, as well as writing books and articles on the subject. Based in Paris and Stockholm, she has grown-up kids, a dog with a will all his own, and a husband who is a philosopher. Karina dresses in black from top to toe and prefers sneakers.
She is currently curating the show *Barock Design 2*, with hats and drapings by Malinda Damgaard, Helena Hörstedt, Viola Lahger and Astrid Olsson. All are contemporary designers known for their darkness and generous amounts of fabric artfully folded and creased, as well as an almost baroque style. Damgaard makes fantastic hats for royals and artists, Hörstedt creates clothing with creative creases and Olsson brings something dark and draped, reminiscent of a Dracula cape. Lagher is the perhaps least well-known of the four, working with corsets, a garment which had its own life, under cover, during the baroque era and is now making a comeback, often in burlesque and vintage contexts. This fall, Wärn wanted to bring it out into the light of Kulturhuset.
How did you end up working for Kulturhuset?
Last autumn I was invited to come and work as chief curator of design for a couple of years at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, and I said yes. So here I am.
Tell us more about the current exhibition.
*Barock Design 2* is a meeting between some of the most interesting designers we have in Sweden: Astrid Olsson who founded V Avenue Shoe Repair, Helena Hörstedt, the millinery Malinda Damgaard and the corset label Viola Lahger. They all have a baroque approach. *Barock Design 2* is a fashion-mobile that flirts with the English term ”The Flying Forms” that was established during the baroque.
How did you get the idea for it?
I was looking for fashion designers that were working with black as a colour, and that use their material as if they were sculptors, not designers – with function in mind. And this is where I ended up.
For how long have you been interested in fashion and design?
I think it started when I was four, with the wall in my parents’ bedroom on which my mother pinned up pages from fashion magazines.
Why should we be interested in corsets in this day and age?
Because the view upon how corsets should be used and why, and how they are used, tell us about our own history. Politics, revolutions, ideas within the field of medicine, equality and punishment and social behavior have all used the corset as an instrument for their cause. And don’t think the corset is something old-fashioned! Most of the people carry one, but not on the outside of the body, but inside – in the form of well-toned muscles achieved in the gym or at the yoga class.
How about hats and drapings?
I would never use a hat myself, but I think a fabulous hat can make magic. Draping, with its mysterious folds, is an ancient technique that will never go out of fashion.
Does the exhibition signal a trend or new direction?
Maybe. Finally, society starts to recognize fashion as a language comparable to art.
What’s next for you?
To get the next exhibition ready. It is titled *Asylum* and participants are Elsa Schiaparelli, Maison Martin Margiela, Ann-Sofie Back, Salvador Dalí and ten others. It will open at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in February next year.
Finally, if you were to pick your one favourite thing about Stockholm, what would it be?
Barock Design 2 is on show at Galleri Underlandet at Kulturhuset until January 8.