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All-In SS24 07
Photography Jamie-maree Shipton

All-In’s ALLINA was the hottest pop girlie at Paris Fashion Week

Styled by Lotta Volkova and featuring a four-track EP by music duo Smerz, the Paris-based a label’s SS24 collection told the story of ALLINA – a fictitious plastic pop star experiencing 15 seconds of fame

Mid-way through All-In’s SS24 runway, one showgoer took their eyes off the procession of models to Shazam the show’s sugary, plastic-pop soundtrack. The result? Inconclusive. Approaching the Paris-based label’s designers Benjamin Barron and Bror August Vestbø after the show, the guest pleaded for more details. “[The tracks] come out in a month!” the designers replied with a laugh, soft-launching the soundtrack’s made-up musician that they – along with their long-time friends and collaborators, Norwegian music duo Smerz’s Henriette Motzfeldt and Catharina Stoltenberg – carefully constructed as the theme for this season’s collection. So, who is All-In’s fictitious pop star? ALLINA, of course.

“The whole collection is centred around her,” Barron tells Dazed the morning after the runway, explaining how All-In and Smerz manufactured a detailed backstory for the fictitious pop star. In short: she's a young musician of unknown origins [although, the designers assure she’s not American] who experienced an explosive rise to fame, toured Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and then was completely forgotten.

Bringing the pop star’s narrative to life, the designers enlisted Smerz to create an IRL four-track ALLINA EP as the show’s soundtrack – all packed with electronic-pop hits and purposefully “charming flops” to relay her demise. Meanwhile, the show also featured lipstick-kissed show notes left on each guest’s chair detailing an imaginary superfan’s obsession with ALLINA; a raised, stage-like runway for models to energetically stomp down as if performing at her gig; and an entire collection of perfectly-dishevelled, rhinestone-encrusted looks designed to narrate her rise and fall. 

Styled by fashion it-girl Lotta Volkova and crafted using upcycled found items and deadstock materials, the collection begins with a series of slinky Y2K looks – pearl-strung thongs peeking out from tiny low-rise shorts, ultra-mini dresses printed with ALLINA’s make-believe tour merch and paired with thigh-high, strappy leather heels, mesh rosette cardigans, and glamorous, glittering midi skirts. Gradually, however, the collection shifts towards heavily-layered, unravelling looks. 

“Things get more and more fucked up as it goes on,” says Vestbø, explaining how the designers were most-interested in depicting ALLINA’s harsh fall from fame, as seen through sagging dress silhouettes suspended by crystal bands, floor-length nightgowns, sewed-on biscuit tins, and multiple t-shirts looped around models’ waists. “We were trying to talk about ageing and the body transforming, but still presenting yourself as very sexy for an earlier version of youself,” adds Barron – speaking to how the campy offering unpacks ALLINA’s headspace following her 15 seconds in the spotlight.

Here, we speak to All-In’s Benjamin Barron and Bror August Vestbø and Smerz’s Henriette Motzfeldt about curating ALLINA’s wardrobe and EP for the SS24 show, their favourite messy, plastic-pop albums, and what they’d tell ALLINA if they met IRL. 

@dazed ALL IN ⚠️ Based on a fictional pop star called Allina, All-In’s #SS24 off-schedule show was a true pop dream — WDYT of the collection? 💬 Stay tuned to #DazedFashionTV for all your fashion week updates 📺✨#TikTokFashion #runway #allin #PFW #FashionWeek ♬ original sound - dazed

Can you tell me more about ALLINA? 

Benjamin Barron: We both talk about ALLINA and who she is, and August disagrees with my version of who she is! 

Bror August Vestbø: Benjamin’s been insisting on her origin, like what country she’s from, but I don’t think she’s really from anywhere – she’s not from America though.

Benjamin Barron: No, she’s not from America… What we do know from the tour t-shirt we made for her is that she tours in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia for her 15 Seconds of Fame tour which will take place in Spring 2024.

All of the walks in the show were so powerful – it reminded me of old-school, 90s runways. How did this energy tie into the show’s theme? 

Benjamin Barron: The casting was so important. At our first meeting with Julia Lange – who cast the show – we explained the runway and soundtrack and all of the ideas we had around it, then she told her team that the models need to have a good walk. We’ve always had this element of performance in our runways, but especially this time when our character is a pop star and the runway is actually an elevated stage, there needed to be this element of models really engaging with the audience and taking on ALLINA’s persona. Catharina and Henriette worked on the demos for the soundtrack in June, and we started talking about movement direction with Eric Christison – our movement director – shortly after, so he's been brainstorming for months around the project.

Bror August Vestbø: Everything was in response to the sound of ALLINA. I guess it’s more similar to a theatre production where you’re working with every element of the show not only to complement the clothes, but to be a full experience visually and sonically.

“The idea was inspired by the throw-away culture that exists in pop music where you take one genre for one song and another for another song” - Henriette Motzfeldt

Can you tell me a bit about the four tracks created for the show? Henriette, how did you get in the zone to channel ALLINA and create the soundtrack?

Henriette Motzfeldt: The idea was inspired by the throw-away culture that exists in pop music where you take one genre for one song and another for another song –  it's like, “Now I want to be a rock chick, now I want to be this electronic, edgy pop chick.” That was the starting point, and then the lyrics came from imagining ALLINA’s everyday life, and what being in her head would feel like. We had spoken so much about ALLINA as a character so it felt like we knew her hopes and dreams and the curve of her fame’s development – one song was a more mainstream pop hit and one became more of a flop, but it was still a bit charming.

Since you were soundtracking a fashion show, was there anything you felt was important to include in the tracks that you otherwise wouldn’t keep in mind?

Henriette Motzfeldt: Definitely! [We had] to think a bit more like a character when [we made the] music. The show is around 12 minutes and you need to give this story in a very direct way, so that was a different way of approaching the music. It was very: “Okay we’re going to go with this synth, and this synth sound should tell a story in itself.” Sound [was used as a] symbol of something in pop culture, which is part of our usual process, but here it was turned up. The way we approached vocals was also very different than usual, and it's been so much fun. It was very liberating.

Did you find yourself keeping some of Smerz’ own personal style in the tracks at all?

Henriette Motzfeldt: We’ve tried to be ALLINA, but it was not done perfectly so there’s an unpolished element to it. In a weird way, I think that makes it more personal because you can hear that someone has gone out of their way to try to sound like someone else.

Benjamin Barron: Lots of our favourite pop productions have that element too, like Britney SpearsBlackout has something unfinished about it.

Bror August Vestbø: A big element of pop music is that sense of not being very authentic and always pretending to be a character, because it's a huge team creating the image of one person. One inspiration we had for ALLINA was the song “Superficial” by Heidi Montag, and there’s one line in the song’s music video where she says: “We are reality stars, so we are starring in our own reality.” It really resonates with this idea of acting as a different version of yourself – [pop stars] are trying to convince you that they’re glamorous, and I think that’s very ALLINA. She presents herself as something beyond what she really is.

Can you tell me about a few items from the offering that scream ALLINA to you?

Bror August Vestbø: The latex skirt with the rose crystals – she’s wearing that on stage for sure… We knew that ALLINA loved crystals, so a lot of the garments with crystals in it are very her. The shoes are all very her – like a high heel that straps you in. 

Benjamin Barron: One of the songs is called “New Shoes”, and I think our prompt for Smerz was to fetishise and objectify clothing itself and have this sexual approach towards dressing. 

Bror August Vestbø: Most of the collection is actually more inspired by the moment where [ALLINA] isn’t on tour anymore – the degrading of her. Part of it is that she wears her own tour merch, which is a bit of her personality that she would wear a t-shirt with her own face on it.

If you sat down with ALLINA, what would you tell her? 

Benjamin Barron: I would think she’s so fab, so I’d probably just be complimenting her a lot.

Bror August Vestbø: I would try to cast her! And I’d say, “When is your next show? I’m going to be front row.”