ANASTASIA LA FEY

For a long time, I admired this woman and her work from a distance. Then somehow, serendipitously, an opportunity came my way about half a year ago, I was invited to her fashion show. And I leapt into it, like I leap towards the pleasure of little death with each stage performance, each song and story that passes through me…

To me, her work is at once incredibly industrial and undeniably mythical. I encounter Germanic architecture together with Slavic and Baltic swamp nymphs in her treatment attitude towards fabric and texture. I find myself open in unknown, somewhat terrifying yet deeply pleasurable ways each time I witness her work. And, once you open the core of desire, you’ve opened it…and it wants everything, everything…and so I want to get to know her and for you to get to know her… and here she is Anastasia La Fey.

Let’s talk about your background, inspiration and the way you entered the fashion world? Let’s talk about dreams, magic and what you wanna say wordlessly through the fabric, texture and style (re)imaginings?

I have giant hands built for making things and from a very young age processing the world around me through creative expression was how I made sense of it… an imaginative, “overly sensitive” (or so I was told), and slightly odd child, I grew up on thirteen acres in the Adelaide hills, in a house full of books and with parents who instilled in me the importance of learning, encouraged critical thought and supported and accepted me, even when they didn’t necessarily agree with or always understand me – a perfect environment for that imagination to run wild.

To me the creation of something beautiful is pure Magick – be it a piece of music, a work of art, a poem – to conjure up something from the imagination and make that thing a reality is the most magickal thing I have ever known – and this feeling has never diminished for me. My specific interest in the making of garments is invested in my fascination in investigating the deep connections of the human psyche to cloth, the relationship between garment and body, the garment as transformative chrysalis and the symbolic and totemic power of dress I am less interested in my work “saying” something as such as it creating a space for a beautiful, unconventional otherness

 

Photographer – Zakaria Garmsiri / Models – Anna Willaton & Jarred P. Dewey / Makeup – Enya Arsenal

Tell me about an important moment in your fashion past. We all have (re)defining moments and circumstance for our arts practice and our art direction choices. What were some of yours?

For me it was the realization that I was the one to determine whether what I created would be considered art or not – that there was actually absolutely no real relevance to whether or not the fashion world saw a place for my work within its parameters nor whether the art world considered my work worthy to be considered art. I could create a space for my own work, as I had created a space for myself through the creation of that work.

A huge part of my relationship with my work is my commitment to myself to the actual craft of what I do and the dedication to the mastery of that craft. Relatively recently I finally felt that I had mastered my craft to enough of an extent that I could create my work without being concerned as to if it was to someone’s taste or not – the sense of freedom that came with that moment was been immense and with it came the powerful reminder that I have only ever created my art for myself – to have others appreciate it or value it is , of course, both flattering and affirming, as well as being practical in a financial sense, but to carry within the knowledge that I have dedicated a lifetime to some modicum of mastery of that craft and through that dedication can manifest my imagination and ideas through beautiful workmanship fills me with a sense of pride and purpose.

What have you loved so far in your artistic evolution and what do you wish to nourish and continue to help thrive?

The firm realisation that I actually can live as an artist, that this is not just an idealistic teenage dream, that I have that choice – it is and will undoubtedly continue to be difficult, and at times infinitely lonely and more than likely will end with me an impoverished crazy old lady. But I have that choice – the choice to create and inhabit the kind of world and existence that I believe in. The permission of this kind of creative autonomy and agency is what I wish to nourish, within myself and within others.

My truest joy has been to discover that I not only remain but am ever more utterly and unequivocally in love with the creative process – It provides me no comfort, it never flatters me, it challenges me every step of the way, it pushes me to do better, it never stops asking me questions, it makes me face my fear and my doubts, it is demanding and relentless and unforgiving and yet at something o’clock in the wee hours when it is just me in my studio and it and the only other sounds are garbage trucks on the street and the thrum of a sleeping city I feel a sense of belonging and wonder that calms my restless heart and fills me with a sense of purpose beyond any other love I have experienced.

I suppose I have finally not only realised the truth of these words of the sculptor Henry Moore that I first made such an impression when I was in my teens… “The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.

 

Photographer – Zakaria Garmsiri / Models – Anna Willaton & Jarred P. Dewey / Makeup – Enya Arsenal

What is neither  your cup of tea nor your shot of whiskey in the fashion world? What do you wish to continue challenging “head on” and what do you hope to wave “bye bye,” preferably in your time in this fashion and art world?

In complete honesty when it comes to challenging and waving bye-bye to things I am infinitely more interested in seeing Australia address its abhorrent disrespect and treatment of our Indigenous people and those Asylum seekers seeking safe haven than I am in fashion world or what others are up to within it. If I am going to hope for a change it is for a shift in these areas, a shift in this countries’ humanity and heart. My focus in regard to my practice is unwaveringly focused on my own work, challenging my own abilities, continuing to hone my craft and creating a space where worlds like those that exist in my mind can populate reality, if only for a moment.

 What should we look out for, what’s brewing in your studio-cauldron this year?

Since late 2016 my focus has increasingly moved toward an art-based practice. This has led me, through the recommendation of a mutual friend, to work with artist Mathieu Briand and assist him in the realization of the textile elements of his current work – essentially I am giving robots leather skin. So for much of 2018 I will remain a slave to my new robot overlords. The year will see a moment or so free from their demands which will allow me to create two pieces for exhibition alongside the amazing work of artist Camille Hannah in late May and further investigate the garment as transformative chrysalis.

Hopefully the end of the year will provide enough of a respite to allow time to develop a new concept that has been brewing which would see me re-connecting with previous collaborators on a new installation-based work.

 Talk to us about a big art-dream of yours? Who do you want to know about it and how can we help make it happen?

My art dream is a simple one. To make Art. To show it, And then to make some more. For the rest of my life.
Beyond that – to continue to collaborate with other artists I admire. To see my talented friends working across various mediums not have to struggle so hard simply to make ends meet. To have creative work seen as a serious pursuit and remunerated and valued in the same way that work is in other industries.

If you woke up in a fully “La Feyed” world and enjoyed that transformation what would we find there?

I wake up in that world every day…

 

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  Gallery images
1. Photographer – Zakaria Garmsiri  / Models – Anna Willaton & Jarred P. Dewey   / Makeup – Enya Arsenal
2 & 4. Photographer – Gianfranco Di Iorio & Mark Morris  / Performers – Benjamin Hancock &  James Andrews / Hair and Makeup – Jessi Leigh
3.  Photographer – Evan Fowler / Model – Ruby Jones / Hair and Makeup – Andrew Guillaume
5. Photographer – Suzanne Phoenix / Performer – Benjamin Hancock / Hair and Makeup – Jessi Leigh

 

 Feature image
Photographer – Zakaria Garmsiri  / Models – Anna Willaton & Jarred P. Dewey   / Makeup – Enya Arsenal