INTERVIEW WITH BIANCA LINDBLAD
the designer of Dramatique
Couture & Corsetry
She also the singer of experimental/progressive metal band L'anguisette. So, if you’re looking a new designer to reinvent your style, read the interview, and check out the Bianca Lindblad website.
AngelDevil: Hello Bianca, it's my pleasure to know you through this interview. How are you?
Bianca: Thanks so much for the interview! I'm doing pretty well, I have a lot of projects going on right now. Artistic, musical, and personal. 2009 has been a very dynamic year so far for me!
AngelDevil: How did you get your start? Where did you go to school and what did you study?
Bianca: I've always loved historical costuming, and growing up I adored movies like "Gone With the Wind" and "Anne of the Thousand Days." I always fantasized about huge gorgeous gowns and I'd draw princesses on the backs of my schoolwork when I should have been paying attention in class! I've been a naturally creative person since very early childhood, and I can say with complete honesty that my life has been saved many times by my outlets of music and art.
I earned my Associate's degree in Fine Art at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA. My time there gave me an amazing base in many different techniques and in professionalism as an artist. I transferred to Moore College of Art & Design, the only women' arts college in the country, in 2005. I majored in Fashion Design and minored in Textiles and Jewelry Design. I have to say that I struggled a bit with the program because I always had a very strong vision of what I wanted to do, and I didn't always feel as if I fit in. However, I graduated magna cum laude with my Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, and at our senior fashion show, I won the prize for "Best Construction" for my final collection, as well as Honorable Mention for "Best Eveningwear." Now that a few months have passed I really appreciate my tenure there a lot more, and am proud to be a Moore alumna. I got a lot of hands-on experience, went to my homeland Sweden to do my internships, and gained a lot of confidence in my skills.
AngelDevil: What is one thing you wish you had known when you started?
Bianca: I never realized how very difficult fashion design is and how long it takes to pull everything together during the design process. It's not at all just glamour and spotlights, as it seems most people think! It's very hard work and you have to be very dedicated. At times it's a delight and at times it's an arduous process with a lot of editing and redesigning. However, I'm actually glad that I didn't know because it might have discouraged me from going through with it all!
Credits Photos by S+S Photography splussphotography.com
AngelDevil: What is your design process? Fabrics, shapes, colors - what comes first?
Bianca: Inspiration always comes first. I love nature, textures, and lines. I'm inspired by music, movies, history, paintings and sculpture. There is some absolutely gorgeous old architecture in Philadelphia which never fails to fascinate me. I'm also inspired by moods, my nighttime dreams, my past, and emotions. I listen to my intuition and let my subconscious speak to me a lot of the time. I also like to go online and research current trends and underground movements. So anything is fair game, really.
I love to take historical costume and put my own creative mark on it, modernize it and make it edgier. Change the fabrics, do something unexpected. My love of metal music often comes through in my designs. After extensive researching I will usually have a color story in mind, with the kinds of textures that I want to use. Sometimes I'll have a specific fabric that I've seen in mind, and sometimes I'll have a more general idea of what I want. I'll do lots of sketches and play with shapes and details. Then I'll edit out the designs until I have a collection and then I start working on fabrication, on patterns, muslins, and knit swatches.
AngelDevil: What keeps you creatively challenged?
Bianca: There are a lot of corset-makers and fashion designers out there, and there are a lot of musicians out there. Sometimes I'll see something I really love, but I always have the thought in the back of my mind that when the customer sees my designs, she will instantly know that "That's a Bianca." I observe everything and I get fascinated by textures and lines. I design what I would absolutely love to wear in my perfect world. I think that my personality, which is a blend of ultra-feminine and gritty metal bitch, really shines through in my designs. I am an obsessive knitter, and I'm often inspired by my knitting and by yarns as much as I am by music. I challenge myself by never falling back into something easy, so with everything I do I attempt something that I've never done before. That's how you grow as an artist and as a designer, always reaching just a little farther.
AngelDevil: Who is your customer?
Bianca: She's elegant and carries herself with grace, yet can headbang with the best of them. She does her makeup with the utmost care and vanity while Opeth blasts in the background. She's always followed her own path and always makes a statement, and she loves to have every eye on her. She has excellent taste, an eye for the unique, and demands only the best in quality. She loves being a woman, has a love of ruffles, lace, and silks, and knows how to play up her most flattering features.
AngelDevil: What are three of your favorite creations at the moment? And what’s your favorite material?
Bianca: My favorite creations are usually the ones I'm currently working on or the ones I've just finished. I've always got several knitting projects in the works, so right now I'm making a luscious pair of textured and cabled knee-high socks in elegant grey wool on size 2.25 mm needles. I perennially love corsets; I'm in the development stages for a number of unique corset patterns based on historical corsets, to be used in future collections and for custom corset orders. From my past collections, I'd have to say that I still love the two silk dupioni corsets which I hand embroidered with silk ribbon, which gives a gorgeous sculptural effect, and beaded with Swarovski crystals in a graceful tree branch design. It was truly a labor of love and never fails to draw the utmost admiration. My eye is always drawn to the intricate and detailed and I love fine and delicate work, and it's in the details that my work really shines. Some examples can be seen on my MySpace page.
My favorite material is unerringly quality! I seem to have a knack for being able to pick out the finest, most expensive things and just having to use them. When it comes to fabrics, I love silks and natural fibers, especially if it will shimmer on stage. I always go for luxury yarns; I love silk and silk blends, baby alpaca, fine wool, bamboo, and other natural fibers. I am always looking out for organics but it is still hard to find; I plan on incorporating more and more of them into my future collections, however. As for ornamentation, I adore semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, silk ribbon, grommets, lace, and Swarovski beads.
AngelDevil: How do you see glamour today?
Bianca: In the mainstream it seems like everything is quite sleek and streamlined, and big name ready-to-wear generally doesn't appeal much to me. In the underground there seems to be a huge resurgence of classic old Hollywood and pin-up which appeals to me more strongly, in part because the hourglass female form is more celebrated and accentuated. I know that very tall angular models look better on the runway, as they're basically live clothing racks, but I find it more interesting and refreshing to design for, say, Kate Winslet or Scarlett Johansson rather than Kate Moss. I design in a way that plays up all the gorgeous features of the female form. I think that old Hollywood had that absolutely right, and I hope that we can see a return of that in modern times especially now that too-thin models are being gradually banned from the catwalks.
AngelDevil: Let's talk about another your passion. I know you are singer, you have a band?
Bianca: Yes, I've been singing for pretty much my whole life! I started singing in school choirs around age 8, always the top soprano parts. Although I haven't had much formal theory training, I think that choir helped me develop a natural feeling for music. I've sung in choirs pretty consistently since then with a year or two off here and there. Now I sing in a secular choir which sings folk and classical pieces in Swedish, which was my first language, and I have a lot of fun in that group. I have a 3 1/2 octave range which I've developed though training with voice teachers, most recently and most notably John Nicholas Peters, and by singing rock and metal. My style is a unique blend of rock and classical; my lower range is much more rock, and my higher range is quite classical but not operatic. I definitely have an unusual take on vocal expression in the rock genre, and I haven't heard another singer who has quite the same sound as me.
AngelDevil: How would you describe the music you are creating?
I usually describe L'anguisette as experimental progressive metal. Genres like world music, electronica, death metal, classical, rock, and others have all contributed to our sound. Joe and I just write what we like, a melancholy dark sound that is melodic, dynamic and emotional. I think you can hear some of our influences if you look for them, but we don't "sound like" anyone else.
AngelDevil: Please, tell us something about your live shows.
Bianca: At the moment, we're preparing to record so we aren't playing live. However, we're looking forward to supporting our upcoming debut album, "Damming the Euphrates," which we'll start recording in April, in just a few short weeks! I'm very excited to experience the audiences' response to what we do.
AngelDevil: If I asked you to choose a few bands that influenced your style and approach to playing, who would they be?
Bianca: Well, the two founders of the band are Joe, who plays guitars, and I. He has a solid foundation in classic rock and heavy metal like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Zakk Wilde which influenced his early playing and I think you can still hear here and there. His more recent influences are bands like Opeth and Witchcraft, a lot of traditional Eastern musical instruments like koto, and also electronic glitch music.
I was really originally inspired to sing in a band by female-fronted groups like Kittie, Drain STH, The Gathering, and Lacuna Coil. Anneke van Giersbergen was a big influence on me, but so was my experience in singing in choirs. I'm all about the vocal harmonies and challenging fast vocal riffing. I love anything that's singable, like Blind Melon's "No Rain" album or Aerosmith's "Greatest Hits," and pretty much anything Opeth.
AngelDevil: Any other news or anecdotes whatever you would like to mention?
Bianca: About my designs: I'm also
working on getting my work up on Etsy, the address is http://DramatiqueCouture.etsy.com. I'll be selling things like my handknits, jewelry, corsets, accessories, and various other creations.
I have a lot of ideas brewing and am very excited about the directions that my work will be taking. Along with designing custom costumery for various singers, I intend to have my new collections address several pressing social issues in which I have strong personal interest. I'll be testing boundaries and challenging the ideas of fashion and of the body, of beauty and of feeling comfortable in a space.
About the band: L'anguisette's debut album, "Damming the Euphrates," will be in production during mid-2009 and we hope to release it in fall/winter 2009. I will be collaborating with another graduate of Moore College, Jen Lightfoot (www.jenlightfootart.com), on the album artwork, which will be unlike anything I've seen in the current metal scene! As a whole, "Damming the Euphrates" promises to be a very passionate and creative album. Your readers can listen to four full song demos we have up on our MySpace, and become fans on the L'anguisette Facebook page.
AngelDevil: Thank you very much for your availability and good luck for all!
Bianca: Thanks so much for having me! I really enjoyed the interview.