Backstage at Berlin Fashion Week: DARE by Johny Dar

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Johny Dar closed the show at Berlin Fashion Week with his bold combinations of fashion design and body art

Artist and fashion designer Johny Dar closed Berlin Fashion Week with a spectacular 30 minute show of his work. FAULT spoke to the man behind the painted models…

FAULT: Congratulations on an incredible show, how has been the response so far?

Johny: The crowd clapped for three minutes, we had a standing ovation and people who were at the show definitely enjoyed it because it was a real show.

You opened and closed the show with some beautifully painted models, similar to your work on Tuuli Shipster [Rankin’s wife]. How has the artwork on these models continued on from your work on Dar the Book and the ‘Tuuli by Dar’ project? 

I was setting myself up for the biggest challenge of my career by promising to paint 11 models and three performers in one day before the show, when my work with Tuuli took anything between 6 to 12 hours to create each look, and the images from DAR the BOOK came from a journey of over five years. So for this show I had to come up with a technique where I didn’t have to sacrifice the detail and potency of my style that really comes through in Tuuli by Dar, but where I was also able to get it done within the 16 hours right before the show. The body is split into two halves, which in this case represented the masculine and feminine aspects within the body.

Johny Dar's SS ' 15 show took place at Erika Hess Eisstadion on July 11, 2014 (Photo by Peter Michael Dills)
Johny Dar’s SS ‘ 15 show took place at Erika Hess Eisstadion on July 11, 2014 (Photo by Peter Michael Dills)

Did you face any challenges? 

Well, put it this way, by 10 o clock in the morning I was supposed to be done with the first layer of the models, but by 10 o’ clock I had a leg and a half done and only 4 out of 11 models had showed up. Really the show was overcoming challenges until it ended – until the last second everything was on the verge of collapse and somehow we made it through.

Talk us through the idea behind the incredible hair pieces they were wearing in the opening?

I wanted to create a veil out of the human body – out of an extension of the human body – so naturally what came to mind was the hair as that veil to hide behind and show as much as you are comfortable with. For me there is nothing more mysterious and sexy than flowing hair.


What thoughts were you trying to express with the clothing? It felt very tribal and earthy to us. 

I’m glad that’s how you see the collection. So far we have been attracting a great variety of reviews on the fashion which is great because I wanted it to be free from any defined style, so naturally it invokes variation in the reviews.

What I showed in this collection is basically different ways to wear your sexuality and sensuality as an empowerment, because I believe that those aspects should really empower the feminine not make her into a sex object or a material possession.

This collection was meant to be a journey through the various aspects of security and insecurity within the feminine experience – like not having big enough boobs so stuffing the dress with mesh, or being sick and tired of it all so just wearing an elastic band. It was meant to show the difference between overwhelming yourself with an outfit and letting your wings take form through your outfit.

Photo by Frazer Harrison
Photo by Frazer Harrison

Tell us about your production choices for music, lighting and graphics. 

I definitely didn’t want it to be what fashion is today, which is another fast food order – super size it, double cheese it, give it to me in the pink wrapper instead of the blue wrapper for the season. I’m sick and tired of the same old show.

I wanted to show the symbiosis between music, art and fashion and how they are just the same person in different roles, in different outfits, in different expressions. Because, after all, it was meant to be an original experience beyond selling clothing.

Backstage with Johny Dar as he does his body painting on the models

You’ve said this was a prelude to your couture collection next season, any hints as to what we can expect from that? 

If you are looking at the body painted part of the show you can imagine high-end couture ski-suits next. The laser cut out pieces – you can expect maybe a 3D head to toe dress showing off a million colours.

With the coming couture collection I’m introducing a new idea for couture, a new concept for design in relation to the body, and how we can reintroduce our relationship towards clothing and creating our image. So it’s designing from a body perspective rather than imposing an idea or concept upon the body.

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Words: Olivia Pinnock