Shape and silhouette are the hallmarks of Aminaka Wilmont's sensual designs. Not surprising, then, that their debut collection caught the eye of Fashion Fringe judges Tom Ford and Christopher Bailey, who awarded designers Maki Aminaka Lofvander and Marcus Wilmont top prize in September 2007 (Fringe-goer Naomi Campbell, meanwhile, burst into spontaneous applause when their first model hit the catwalk).
The Scandinavian duo - who are a couple in business and life - met while working for British designer Robert Cary-Williams and started their own line three years ago (Danish-born Wilmont studied menswear design at Central Saint Martins and Lofvander, who is of Swedish/Japanese descent, studied womenswear design at Sweden's University College of Bora before hightailing it to London). Since launching their eponymous label, they've won the aforementioned Fringe award, launched a limited edition - and very well-priced - sunglass collection - were invited to show during Shanghai Fashion Week, and saw their collection picked up by stores on both sides of the pond, as well as Net-A-Porter.
For spring 2010, Aminaka Wilmont finds its inspiration in modern dance and a poetically decaying building outside London, which manifests by way of twisted shapes that convey a sense of movement and smudged, moody prints that call to mind charred wood and peeling paint. Currently, the duo are gearing up for their London Fashion Week show in February and The Enchanted Palace exhibit at Kensington Palace, opening in March, where their creations will be displayed alongside those of Boudicca, Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest and Stephen Jones.
The Fashion Informer's Lauren David Peden caught up with the designing duo just after the New Year to talk literature, Twitter and the pros and cons of working with the one you love.
So, Marcus and Maki...
What did you do last weekend and what are your plans for this weekend?
MAKI: Work. Running your own label has a tendency of taking over your life.
What are you currently reading?
MARCUS: I'm re-reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
MAKI: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Tell me about your best friend (other than each other).
MARCUS: My identical twin, Simon, who constitutes the parts of me that are missing.
MAKI: Mai, who never fails to bring a smile to my lips.
What would like to be doing if not a fashion designer?
MAKI: Food Critic.
Do you have any hidden or unusual talents?
MARCUS: I cook.
MAKI: I can tell time without a watch.
When was the last time you rode the tube, and where were you going?
Today (January 15th) to Holborn. We went to see the venue for our upcoming show at London Fashion Week in February .
Your collection has been described as "aristocratic" and "sexy." How would you describe it?
Last season was focused on being serene, innovative and outer-worldly.
What did you learn from working with Robert-Carey Williams that has helped in running your own label?
Be organized and professional and do not let pressure force you to sacrifice your creativity. Understand your customer, the importance of on-time delivery is paramount, know when to set boundaries and remember how blessed you are to do what you do.
What's the best - and most challenging - thing about working together?
MARCUS: We get to spend just about every waking moment together and share what and who we are creatively in constructing a vision of what we would like the world to look like.
MAKI: Spending every day together in a stressful environment.
How do you relax/recharge after Fashion Week?
Ideally, switch off mobile phones, lock the front door and spend time with our cats, family and books. We usually draw up a list of all the things we have missed during the season - exhibitions, performances and people - and then try to catch up. However, there are always things that requires your attention and it is hard to disconnect when ultimately you care so deeply for what you do.
What's the one question you would like to ask God, assuming s/he exists?
Twitter: pro or con?
Not sure... We consider privacy to be sacred but if someone else feels compelled to share their life continuously with the rest of the world in every minute detail then who are we to judge.
What never fails to make you cry?
MARCUS: Art that reflects the darker side of humanity.
MAKI: The news.
When are you happiest?
In the moment. It is so important to understand or be reminded that we have only been given a limited time and that every moment does count.
Aminaka Wilmont will show their fall 2010 collection in The Bloomsbury Ballroom on Friday, February 19th.
Stay tuned for Random Questions For...Tavi G.