Let's talk about sex - the cool kid independent Parisian fashion label Carne Bollente is. Founded in 2014, the sex positive brand is making a big statement with a mix of understated, effortless Scandi pieces and edgy erotic embroidery for a subtle, cheeky wearability. Showing no signs of slowing down, their tongue-in-cheek cartoon designs and patches on classic streetwear have already made Carne Bollente a wildly successful Instagram hit with almost 50k followers and counting.
A couple of chance encounters, one involving a dating app, led the founding trio, Agoston Palinko, Hijiri Endo and Theodore Famery on a path of fashion design fuelled by love and admiration for vintage pornography.
The new AW19 collection dives into the golden age of porn, the 1970s, (the founders were inspired by legendary porn movie The Rise of the Roman Empress, Carne Bollente was the film’s original title). The brand turned to the sexually liberated generation for graphics, art and a soft colour palette. This season sees a further expansion in the brand’s repertoire, expanding their ready-to-wear into penile-embroidered denim, knitwear and tailoring.
I chatted with the pioneering threesome about sex, narcissism, vintage porn and what’s next for Carne Bollente.
Sabrina Soormally: How did the three of you meet?
Carne Bollente: It’s a funny story. Hijiri and Agoston met on a dating app, but ended up being friends. Agoston and Theo studied together in Paris. Thank god, the stars aligned and brought us together!
SS: Have you always wanted to design clothes?
CB: Not particularly, we love fashion but it was just not a priority, designing clothes was more of a way to express our ideas rather than the foundation. But even today we have literally no idea what we are doing.
SS: Tell us how you came up with the name ‘Carne Bollente’
CB: Looking for the right name for the brand is a hard job. It should not be tacky, or too long, or too short – what a nightmare. And then we came across this movie called Carne Bollente starring the amazing Cicciolina from the 80s’. Loved the movie, loved the name: and there you go, Carne Bollente was born.
SS: Why sex? And what does sex mean to you?
CB: Our view of sex is quite simple and positive. We believe nowadays, we should be proud of our sexualities. If you think about sex, it is such an important subject in everyday life. We wanted to add a sense of freedom to the DNA of Carne Bollente - to show you should have no fear in talking about sex and sexuality. Through our designs we want to bring a sense of freedom and maybe put a smile on someone’s face.
SS: What’s the message behind your designs?
CB: Be proud, be open, be positive and feel free to wear your sexuality on your sleeve! Sex positivity - yes please!
SS: What do you find so fascinating about the ‘Me’ generation of the 1970s and the culture of narcissism surrounding it? How do you think it came about?
CB: Well, working on that era was fascinating for several reasons. Firstly, the idea of the Me Generation came just after certain cultural changes, which also created the rise of narcissism among the younger generation. When you want to dismantle an old establishment you have to go to the extremes, as exhibited through the culture, arts, design and the way of life at the time. All these changes created strong and rich materials (theoretical and aesthetic), which were so inspiring for us and our collection. From these references, we tried to adapt some of these ideas to our generation to see which ones were still contemporary enough to resonate.
SS: Tell me about your process when it comes to conceptualising a new seasonal collection, where do you find your inspiration?
CB: Pretty much everyday life: movies, art and conversations with friends. We also reflect on our personal experiences, and we are strongly inspired by vintage porn. Lately we have been deeply touched by Pedro Almodovar's latest film, Dolor y Gloria, we highly recommend.
SS: There are some great fabrics this season - cord jumpsuits, fleece jackets and some great denim! Have you been getting more into the textile side of things?
CB: We are getting there! We love learning more and more about the fabrics and textiles. We are becoming more like Anna Wintour season after season.
SS: What’s your favourite piece from the collection?
CB: Such a difficult question! It’s hard to answer after spending 6 months in a cave without food and internet, just designing the collection. I would say we love all of our knitwear this season, we were just so proud to see it come to live. When you spend so much time on the collection, each pieces becomes kind of like your child.
SS: What’s your proudest moment since forming Carne Bollente?
CB: Paparazzi in front of our apartment! Just joking. We would have to say, it was when a teenage boy came out to his parents wearing one of our T-shirts and he told us it gave him the courage to do it. It was such a beautiful message; it still puts a smile on our faces.
SS: What’s next for you?
CB: We never stop! Lots of exciting projects, we are showing our new collection in September and are working on several collaborations with both young and established brands. Stay tuned!
The AW19 collection is available from this September, visit carnebollente.com
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