The Luxury Channel meets designer of the moment Mark Fast to talk crystals and avant-garde film….
You are using Swarovski elements in your collection for a third season. How do you keep your usage of such details fresh?
The methods I use when working with the Swarovski elements changes every season. I am a very technical designer and am interested in the fine details. Swarovski always has new innovative elements to work with as well, so they always keep it fresh too. A lot changes from the beginning stages to the finished product and sometimes I don’t know how it will end. This mystery keeps it exciting.
You recently worked on the “Ascension of Beauty” project. What was your motivation and what was the impact of the project?
I wanted to create an emotion – a feeling that goes beyond the design through the combined use of an architectural art sculpture. The project was inspired by the Lancome rose and their 75th anniversary. I wanted to create something strong but to also expose the intricacy of a woman’s inner beauty. The reason it was called Ascension of Beauty is because the ropes represented the emotion from the mannequin dressed in my design, an expression of hope to the outside world. When I first came into the venue Brookfield Place, I was taken aback by the vastness and intricacy of the structure. The space made me feel like I was under an oversized knitting machine.
Do you hope to do more artistic installations in the future?
I had an amazing experience with Luminato and would love to do something like that again. I am also interested in creating my own documentary of the behind-the-scenes in my studio and into my world, to examine the Mark Fast woman, where she goes and where she has come from. I am obsessed with documentaries at the moment, the energy in my studio and the people who work with me.
Who or what inspires you aesthetically?
I love the Bauhaus movement; there was something contemporary and futuristic about it. This also makes me think about how futuristic the cells in our body look. It’s funny because these contemporary shapes have always been with us. I guess to challenge a contemporary look is very inspiring.
What is it about knitwear that inspires you?
I am in control of the fabric and can create anything. I do not have to use what is out there – I’ve tried to fabric shop, but I could never relate to what was offered. When I knit, I use one thread and this thread can turn into anything. Knitwear is very textural and I love this; I love being able to wear an emotion of objects put together in an order. Knitwear is also very therapeutic and allows me to think about life while I do it. It gets me into a trance of numbers, clicks and swipes. It’s very good for you!
Who is the Mark Fast woman?
The embodiment of an Amazonian princess. She is strong, confident and a leader in fashion.
Do you believe that your decision to use plus size models has helped strengthen your position in the industry?
I think that using curvier girls has strengthened me as a designer. It shows that there are women of all sizes to dress out there. So many women can have fun wearing my clothes; this is my joy about having done that.
You have said that you are inspired by the cinema. What has been your most inspirational cinematic experience to date? Can we look forward to any references in the next collection?
There is one movie that I adore, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. The best part in that film is when Laura Palmer goes to the bar and hears Julee Cruise singing, Questions In A World of Blue. The lyrics and the scene really speak loudly for this day and age. There is such real emotion with that scene we can all relate to on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be too avant garde either, it can be as simple as a song. My collection is a story of darkness and restoration so in a way you could say that the mood of that scene in the film is quite reminiscent. There is more of a life lesson learned from the movie, which you take with you in life.
How do you unwind post-Fashion Week?
I fly to Canada and lie on the grass in my brother’s backyard and play with my nieces and nephew. There is nothing like freshly cut Canadian grass and moving into the dawn of an evening.
What is luxury to you?
Freedom: to be able to create something with your heart. This is priceless.
In 20 years time Mark Fast will be….
Fifty! I think it will be a time of enjoying the success of what has been created over the last twenty years.