“We wanted to take the legends of the sea up to the surface with us, not just to show fashion as superficial but appeal to the subconscious of women and rewrite the ocean myths by a feminine hand.”
EMERGING FROM THE OCEAN
The exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’ by fashion designer Hildur Björk Yeoman and photographer Saga Sig has been described as blurring the boundaries of fashion and art. The show explores mediums such as photography, drawing, sound and video installation.
In their collaboration, the pair often depict different sides of femininity within their work: sisterhood, motherhood, young delicate girls to strong timeless beauties. Their interest in the stories of women is clearly seen in the exhibition. Inspired by the ocean, they wanted their work to be viewed as visual poetry, telling the story of feminine mystique, empowering and liberating one’s inner goddess.
Their first collaboration was ‘Garden Of Enchantment’ at Kling og Bang gallery in 2010, where they displayed beautifully crafted wooded prints, illustrated with lively, nostalgic and dream-like paintings. Compared to their current exhibition, this work took more of a whimsical, romantic flavour. Their collaborations came from the mutual admiration they had for one another’s work.
Hildur Björk Yeoman—who’s current fashion line ‘Cherry Bomb’ was displayed at this year’s Reykjavík Fashion Festival—is best known for her accessories range, with her finely crochet poodle bags and elegant swan necklaces. Her illustrations have seen her work for brands as Lascivious and Thelma Design—a fantastic hat designer, kind of like the young Philip Treacy of Iceland.
Saga Sig has produced photography for many magazines including Dazed and Confused, I-D and top fashion brands such as TOPSHOP 214. She also has been quite dedicated to the label Kron By KronKron, producing their lookbooks for the past two years. You can see why, with Saga’s eye for colour and lighting that contrasts so well with the KronKron style.
The current collaboration with the exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’ has a more adventurous vibrancy but somehow manages to retain the same elegance as the previous show. Their imaginative worlds this time seemed to be more of a celebration of pride and flamboyancy!
To me you both play on ideas of beauty, whimsical worlds and femininity. Why do you think these appeal to you both and appear in your artwork?
HBY: Mistaken ideas of femininity are still a problem I feel. Even in Iceland today. We love to show strong women and girls we consider inspirational. In the show, instead of using stereotypical fashion models, we have different women who inspire us. Our beautiful pregnant friend Liv, a little red-haired pearl, and my small cousin with her amazing self-confidence aged only seven.
SS: I grow up with legends. I lived in the countryside close to where legendary stories took place, Þingvellir, Skálholt and also in V-Skaftafellsýsla, near Mýrdalssandur. Growing up there, you find the stories in the air and in the old people who visited your homes. They would often tell my siblings and I myths and ghost stories.
The energy and atmosphere of live around these stories had a big influence on me. I put lot of thought into the history of these women, especially after writing my BA thesis on feminism and sexuality, in the context of women in history with a strong sensuality being portrayed as evil, bloodthirsty characters.
Working together, do you still share these same ideals?
BOTH: We connect well together as we love beautiful things, not necessarily conventional beauty also things that are maybe “pink ugly.” For example, in the exhibition we used so many plastic banners and party fringes. Some people might find this does not conform to their sense of beauty.
Did you admire each other’s work for a long time before collaborating?
HBY: I had seen Saga’s blog and watched really closely to see what she was doing. This was before she left for London to study fashion photography. Immediately it was clear to me that she was a very talented girl. Saga shoots all of my clothing lines, and is very much a part of Hildur Yeoman’s world.
SS: I remember when I first saw Hildur’s fashions on a famous fashion blog, Style Bubble, and sent an email; ever since we followed each other’s work. Until finally we collaborated on a photoshoot for Hildur’s collection, which marked the beginning of our collaboration.
Would you call what you produce fashion or art?
HBY: Fashion. Although we get inspiration from everything and nothing—art, film, music, nature, folk stories, friends and family. There’s just something about fashion that lights a fire in our hearts!
‘Metamorphosis’ is open in Hafnarborg until December 30.