Hat Designs, Not Pelvic Grinds, for This ElvisThe JoongAng Ilbo English Edition talked with Belgian designer Elvis Pompillo.
IHT-JAI: Do you think you made a good decision to come all the way to Korea?
Pompillo: This trip is part of a crazy schedule, because I am in the middle of preparing two shows, one for Chanel the other for myself in France. But let me tell you, I feel really good to be here.
IHT-JAI: Did you get a feel for the city?
Pompillo: Of course, I got great inspiration! I liked the women wearing traditional Korean costumes and I am also very inspired by the young people. I was surprised to see the young generation with colorful hair and outrageous outfits.
IHT-JAI: How did you get into designing hats?
Pompillo: At school, I studied painting, photography and printmaking, but I began making hats from a young age. When I was growing as a kid in Italy, I made hats and masks for friends who went to parades and festivals. More people began asking for my designs. Also when I was young, my mother used to tell me to wear a hat all the time. Not my three sisters, just me. So I got used to wearing hats all the time.
IHT-JAI: What is your favorite material?
Pompillo: Felt is my favorite. Working with felt, I can make so many designs. You can cut, bend, twist, do anything with it. But I use all kinds of materials from all over the world. I choose them personally.
IHT-JAI: But don't you think most people find wearing hats somewhat tricky?
Pompillo: I agree. It's sometimes hard for people to come into my shop and choose what they want. We give professional and personal advice, so customers don't go away with something they liked at first sight but will not want to wear later. Wearing hats can be tricky, but with a clever selection you can make your persona come alive. And I love fashion. The hat is a versatile element in fashion. By wearing a hat, you can create different looks.
IHT-JAI: Where do you get your design inspiration?
Pompillo: From uniforms. Not just one person, but various people in different uniforms. For example, many nurses wear variations of their uniforms. They make the uniform unique. I was making cowboy hats more than 10 years ago. Back then the cowboy look wasn't in fashion. Every season I make new kinds of cowboy hats simply because I love the look. And now it's the look of the moment.
IHT-JAI: How do you define your personal fashion style?
Pompillo: I have all kinds of themes in my wardrobe. That's the fun part. The pin is punk, the hat is French street, the chain necklace is chic, comfortable T-shirt and jeans.
IHT-JAI: Did you know anything about Korea before you arrived?
Pompillo: Nothing at all. I didn't know what to expect. But that's the exciting part of traveling. When you go to different countries, everything changes. It's all different. I get very personal when it comes to my creations. If I really like what I make, I believe people will like it, regardless of the context. Because I am showcasing my designs in Korea, I didn't want to bring normal stuff like the hat I am wearing. Fashion shows should be artistic and entertaining. I put together an artistic production to entertain the audience.
by Inae Cho