With metal being the only directive, American designer Christian Joy and model Hannelore Knuts created a one-of-a-kind studded jean ‘Metal Rulez Jacket’ and a short but electrifying video. In ‘Magnatricity’, heroine Hannelore dons a hard-plated outfit to wield a giant magnet and cause some serious static to a soundtrack of Joy’s husband Jason Grisell’s making.
Best known for the stage costumes she works on for the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ lead singer Karen O, Joy’s designs are the apex of the mutual influence between indie rock and fashion. Her hand-painted, hand-sewn garments in trademark DIY-style are available to a wider audience via Etsy and she plans to open a store on Subports next month. Joy and Knuts’ venture into video is testimony to the magnetic attraction between fashion and music. Dazed Digital talks to the mad duo about their collaboration.
Dazed Digital: You met only two months ago. How did you meet?
Christian Joy: I had met Hannelore briefly once before through a mutual friend and I thought, “wow she seems really cool I'd like to get to know her better!”. I was a bit too chicken to ask her to hang out, and then one day I got an email from her asking if I'd be interested in working on some projects. We met for dinner and it just kind of took off from there.
DD: What do you think is the first common point between you two: fashion or music?
Christian Joy: I think our equally crazy energy was probably the first common point and then for me probably fashion. I had always known who she was from seeing her in magazines, but I have to say I would have not assumed that she would have been such a maniac! I think what makes it work is that we're both just totally going for it and also we both have a desire to try new things.
Hannelore Knuts: I think it's a bit of everything. I thought she, with her costumes for Karen, truly captured the rock 'n' roll in fashion. Music made me discover her. I asked her in my exhibition and for another small project a few months later. Passion, fun, nerds, fashion, hamburgers, wine and no fear kept us together.
DD: The video 'Magnatricity' features Hannelore as a heroine wielding a giant magnet. What was the inspiration behind it?
Christian Joy: Since it was for the MAD Metal Ball we were meant to work with metal as the inspiration and I think we both thought magnets pretty instantly. Hannelore had been fooling around with some stop motion ideas and so we decided to use that as a starting point. I was also thinking about this film by Cecil B DeMille called Madame Satan. I've only seen clips of the film, but there is a really amazing dance scene aboard a blimp that I found very inspiring. Also, films like Aelita Queen of Mars and Metropolis. They're both very stylized with amazing sets and costumes. I also woke up in the middle of the night stressed about what we should create and came upon some videos of Klaus Nomi. One thing I liked about his performance was his costume and the dancers performing onstage with him. They created another dimension in a very simple and elegant way. I like the idea of creating without using massive amounts of technology, so these films and performers were very inspiring.
DD: How does your collaboration take place?
Christian Joy: Concept first and then we just kind of went for it. Hannelore made the lightning, I made the magnet and costume and then Hannelore turned on the charm! We shot it on a Flip Camera using a small tripod on a clothes-drying rack in front of a white wall in her apartment. And then I had my husband teach me to use Final Cut Pro, which was not easy!
Hannelore Knuts: It goes smoothly and naturally. Our brains often circulate in the same world. Although I must say I feel guilty sometimes. Christiane is not only involved in the film-making process, she also makes al the costumes. I helped bedazzling one of the dresses from the video. With the metal ball it all started as a great team but then I had to leave to Europe for fashion. All final product-credits go to the Joy-team.
DD: Hannelore, what’s your input on the costumes used in the video?
Hannelore Knuts: I think the only input I have in Christiane’s creative process is a joke I tell or the way I eat my hamburger. She a bottomless pit of ideas and can transform something abstract into a costume just like that. And I'm the lucky one that can help her to make it come alive.
DD: Christiane, you’ve also made a fashion film shot by Claire Carré. Do you plan to use video more to present your work?
Christian Joy: Yes, I would love to. I want to try to keep creating more films. It's fun and I like the idea that I can create a whole other world and I think it gives the viewer more insight into my entire aesthetic or ideas behind the costumes and clothing. Lately, I've been looking for new outlets. I'd like to expand and begin to do film and theatrical performances as well as installation pieces. I want to create worlds!
DD: Did the ‘Metal Rulez Jacket’ Hannelore wore at the MAD MetalBall get auctioned off at the end of the evening?
Christian Joy: No, but I've been rocking it all over to NYC.