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Asger Juel Larsen

It is time to get medieval with Asger Juel Larsen's exploration of unusual material blends and silhouettes which create the knights of the future.

Although LCF's Class of 2009 was strangely low on menswear Asger Juel Larsen shone through with his take on modern chain mail and has left a lasting impression. Inspired by the Medieval period Larsen created a modern adaption of armour by producing 'futuristic' ideas of chain mail using alternative materials such as leather, PVC and rubber cords. As the dust settles on other graduate collections, Asger's comes alives with a look book shot by Ellis Scott. Here, the designer talks to Dazed about Romeo & Juliet, endless nights listening to Joy Division and dreaming about Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator donning his designs in Terminator.

Dazed Digital: Describe your collection in your own words
Asger Juel Larsen: With my collection "Many Shades of Black" I created something that is me. All of the pieces are very masculine and some experimental. I like to make show pieces but I find it important that there are still pieces that are wearable. The main focus of the collection is themes of medieval warfare and more specifically chain mail. I have explored the method down to its manufacture, and created a modern adaptation of the armour by producing 'futuristic' ideas of chain mail, using alternative materials such as leather, PVC and rubber cords. As I experimented on the shapes of my silhouette, I have morphed two opposite ideas: the voluminous and the slim. These opposing ideas are apparent in all outfits on the top or bottom half of the body.

DD: What films/books/moments inspired your design?
Asger Juel Larsen: I first started out researching into the era of the medieval knights, and in particular their chain mail armour. I also found the clean boxy cut of the medieval patterns very exciting. From there on I became quite interested in materials like rubber, PVC and leather cords. I therefore started to look into the world of bondage. I experimented with alternative materials and techniques to see how durable each material was. The inspiration for my first key theme was when I watched Baz Luhrmann's interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. In one scene Leonardo DiCaprio is wearing a plated chain mail costume. For some reason this costume has been in the back of my mind ever since and I have always wanted to make something out of a similar material. Paco Rabanne's use of revolutionary materials for the fashion industry was also a great inspirational source.  

DD: The collection saw you work with difficult materials like PVC, rubber and chain mail, how was the experience working with them? Any comedy or hair pulling out moments?
Asger Juel Larsen: Quite early in my design process I figured out that I wanted to use alternative materials. I wanted to knit a futuristic armour piece, so I considered different materials such as videotape, bicycle wheel, rubber cord, rope, wire, shoelaces and leather. I found both the rubber and the leather/ PVC cord exciting. Maybe It wasn't the smartest and easiest choice, since I had many endless nights listening to Joy Division while using approximately 1.750 meter of rubber cord, two bottles of baby powder and many broken knitting sticks to make the rubber armour piece. The armour piece was made with 5 meters long leather cords, which I hand stitched together before I knitted the final piece. As far as the real chain mail goes. The methods is called 4 in 1, which basically means that their are 4 rings inside each ring. I bought small chain mail pieces in 6 to 6 cm and combined them together while using a dummy to make sure it draped the way I wanted. During the shows it was not difficult for anyone to see how the models was finding it hard taking the piece on and off. Even though I took out many hair from the piece afterwards the models acted like brave knights.    

DD: You worked with Mauricio Stein for the eyewear. How did the collaboration come about?
Asger Juel Larsen: Mauricio is one of the first people I meet when I moved to London and we fast became very good friends. I have always loved his designs and the way he thinks differently in a design process from me. Mauricio also does trend hunting all over the world, and he is therefore very up to date with everything that is going on. We wanted to make glasses which could combine the different looks in my collection and therefore we came up with the idea of making a double lens like a shield covering and protecting the face. Almost like a warrior helmet but at the same time it is possible to open up the lens depending on the look or the mood of the outfit. We have put the glasses in production and more colours will be made. So if anyone fancies a pair of medieval double lens glasses now it's the time.     

DD: Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
Asger Juel Larsen: This is always a hard question to answer but hopefully I'm in good health, I am happy surrounded by my amazing friends and family while working on my 20th collection in my own name.    

DD: Who is your fashion idol/hero?
Asger Juel Larsen: Different periods, different icons. Like I mentioned earlier I find Paco Rabanne '60s and '70s collections amazing.

DD: If you could get anyone to model/wear your designs who would it be?
Asger Juel Larsen: Maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator. If anything that is pure masculinity.

DD: If you weren't a fashion designer what would you be?
Asger Juel Larsen: I would probably have studied something like War History or Costume Design. Anything from the Roman empire to current warfare interest me. When I was younger I also had a dream of becoming an actor. I love acting and I loved to feel the rush of adrenaline going through my body while standing on a stage.