Fashion Photographer Giusy de Ceglia
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Duran Lantink has presented a stunning collection inspired by “Sistaaz of the Castle”, a project he developed with photographer Jan Hoek about a group of transgender sex workers and their quirky clothing choices in the streets of Cape Town, South Africa.
Outcome of this unique project have been Duran’s collection at Amsterdam Fashion Week and Jan’s photos, which are currently being featured in several exhibitions in Holland and abroad.
The local Cape Town sex workers association S.W.E.A.T. gave Duran Lantink and Jan Hoek the opportunity to meet and collaborate with their transgender support group Sistaazhood. For this project, Duran and Jan zoomed in specifically on six girls they have met there: Coco , Cleopatra, Sulaiga, Gabby, Flavinia, and Joan Collins.
Most of them are homeless and living under a bridge next to the castle of Cape Town. Duran Lantink found his own creative approach to clothes’ making had plenty in common with that of the girls, who use second hand garments often found in the streets to bring beautiful outifits to life.
Duran’s show has brought up deep emotions and even tears in the attending press and public, gaining a standing ovation at the end and becoming a major highlight of the latest Mercedes-Benz Amsterdam Fashion Week edition
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE INTRODUCED TO RUNWAY PASSPORT’S READERS AND FOLLOWERS?
Of course I would like to be introduced as Duran Lantink. But style wise I think about street couture. I use different recycling methods and collage techniques to represent street style. Who are we? And how do we represent? Of course, nowadays everything is more mixed up – I am looking for the DNA of street ware. Second hand clothes, deserve a second life, for example high-end luxury brands fused with clothes from a trash pile.
HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AT AMSTERDAM FASHION WEEK AND IN WHICH WAY WAS IT DIFFERENT FROM THE PREVIOUS ONES?
Well, I have to admit this project is the biggest show that I ever created. We had almost 60 models in the show, and several disciplines were combined into one final piece. My collaboration with Jan Hoek was very special to me for realising the project. It gave me the opportunity me to steer in between the different disciplines and categories.
YOUR SHOW HAS BEEN ACCLAIMED BY PRESS AND PUBLIC ALIKE – AND DEEPLY TOUCHED THE AUDIENCE FOR THE STORY BEHIND IT. COULD YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHAT INSPIRED IT AND YOUR COOPERATION WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHER JAN HOEK?
We found a photo on the internet of a trans sex worker in South Africa. She dragged us away, because she look really cool. Her clothes were really improvised and raw, but so stunning and creative at the same time. In the end we decided to travel to Cape Town and track down trans sex workers to photograph. Via Sweat, a sex worker advocacy organisation, we met Sulaiga, Gabby, Flavirina, Coco, Cleopatra and Joan Collins. We asked each of them to brainstorm their dream outfits. And I tried to recreate their ultimate fantasy. Then Jan took photo’s of the six in their dream look.
HOW DID THE SHOW AFFECT YOU AT A PERSONAL LEVEL? BEING SUCH AN EMOTIONALLY CHARGED PROJECT, IT MUST HAVE IMPACTED YOU AT DIFFERENT LEVELS.
There has never been a more necessary time than now for such a project. It is shocking on one hand that in Africa the subject is really inappropriate. On the other hand I am happy that the Dutch people took this project so well. It is really double charged. As the fashion show and exhibition will travel to South Africa we really van confront the subject. This subject should not be kept quiet under any circumstances.
HOW DID YOU SELECT THE MODELS FOR THIS SHOW? WE THOUGHT THEY WERE VARIED AND VERY SPECIAL.
What interests me is multi-cultural or even better said trans-nationalities. To be honest I was really shocked by the fact that most Dutch modelling agencies did not have dark skinned models in their selections. I wonder if the fashion industry will be reconstructed as at the same speed the world turns.
WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR HEAD RIGHT BEFORE THE SHOW AND RIGHT AFTER?
To be honest I can really enjoy the pressure that roams around backstage. It was like being on a playground with so many characters and types of people. Something magical was going on there: in the few hours of preparation we became a family and we realized that, it was more than fashion. This was the place where al the bits and pieces came together into one pure statement. I was proud of everyone.
EACH LOOK YOU PRESENTED WAS QUITE POWERFUL AND UNIQUE. IS THERE ONE IN PARTICULAR THAT MEANS A LOT TO YOU?
I feel that every single outfit is important to me. The outfits gave the girls the chance to express their world. The world they shared with me and Jan. The looks are not about being extravagant or insane, but about the reflection of personality of the girls.
NOW THAT IT’S ALL OVER, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PAST WEEK?
Well, Having my first gin tonic after two months.
Jan and I are fascinated by the overlapping between the models and the trans genders girls from South-Africa. They were all great, at one moment I was trilled because my memory from Cape Town became reality again.
Next year the exhibition and fashion show will travel to South Africa. I am so curious how the project will be accepted in the continent. I leave the others to judge, the only thing we can do is write a new chapter.