How FKA twigs crafted her avant-pop look

As the Dazed cover star premieres her visual EP ‘M3LL155X’ we talk to her right-hand woman, stylist Karen Clarkson

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FKA twigs in ‘In Time’ wearing Craig Green SS15
FKA twigs in ‘In Time’ wearing Craig Green SS15via youtube.com

Yesterday visionary artist FKA twigs premiered her visual EP “M3LL155X”. Besides pregnancy, voguing, sex dolls and a strong feminist statement, there’s lots of fashion. Michèle Lamy – Rick Owens’ wife and icon in her own right – stars as a witch and twigs herself wears designs by rising London stars Craig Green and Faustine Steinmetz. In the wake of this audio-visual epic, we talk to twigs’ stylist Karen Clarkson.

Clarkson, whose studio and shop Found and Vision boasts client list that includes Tom Ford, Céline’s Phoebe Philo, as well as stylists Jane How, Camilla Nickerson and Dazed’s executive fashion editor Katy England, has worked with twigs for two years. Their collaboration was born – like all the best ones are – out of friendship: “We were friends long before she started doing all of this stuff. When it was clear that the whole EP was going to get underway it felt very natural for us to be working together.”

While twigs is known for her experimental style, Clarkson is quick to highlight her (perhaps overlooked) elegance. “People’s perception of her is that she’s really out there or really wacky. But actually twigs is really refined and very elegant. She likes clothes to be very beautiful and to be kind of couture to her body. It’s avant-garde but never feels costume-y – it always feels elegant.” Here Clarkson explains how twigs crafted her avant-pop look.

SHE GETS HER MUM TO HELP OUT

twigs’ mother helps out with her outfits – customising, even creating them. “The look in “In Time” where she’s wearing the white bra (the more sexy, show girl-y look) – her mum designed that, with the trousers and sleeves and customized the Creepy Yeha bra with Swarovski crystals.”

SHE KNOWS THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

Though assuring us in the Summer 2014 issue of Dazed that she’s not a perfectionist, it’s clear from Clarkson that she’s got an extremely sharp eye for detail. “twigs is very meticulous and specific – even her hair in “I’m Your Doll”, if you look closely, is made of wool. Every little bit of detail kind of matters to twigs. Her attention to detail is amazing.” 

SHE DOESN’T FORGET HER ROOTS

twigs is a fan of London fashion talent, and wore two of her favourites in “In Time”: Faustine Steinmetz – famous for her handwoven denim and Dazed 100 designer Craig Green“We love Craig Green,” says Clarkson. “(Voluminous white utility trousers) just felt really contemporary and they felt really minimal with that dance, and that performance, it felt contemporary, clean and kind of timeless.” These trousers are from Green’s internaionally lauded SS15 show – the one that reduced some onlookers to tears. 

SHE WEARS WEAR CLOTHES SHE CAN DANCE IN

FKA twigs is famous for voguing – the form of dance that evolved out of the Harlem ballroom scene in the 80s and was later immortalised by Jenny Livingston’s 1991 documentary Paris is Burning. Obviously voguing requires a lot of movement and therefore stucture or stiff clothes won’t work. “twigs likes her clothes to feel like a second skin,” says Clarkson. “Some pieces that look incredible but actually for performance they’re very structured or they’re very stiff.”

“twigs likes her clothes to feel like a second skin” – Karen Clarkson

IMITATION IS THE BEST FORM OF FLATTERY

A natural part of being a groundbreaking style icon is influencing other people, and twigs is no exception. “She has a massive influence on certain fashion brands,” says Clarkson. “You kind of look at their lookbooks and shows and you can really see the influence they’ve taken with the hair. Obviously, it was really clear in the Givenchy (AW15) show.” Gelled baby hair also made an appearance at Caitlyn Price’s Fashion East AW15 presentation – a collection which featured 90s inspired luxury sportswear.

Watch “M3LL155X” below:

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