A mutual friend suggested I meet Marie-Louise Mogensen when she was in New York last year. She showed up for our lunch at Reynaud’s toting a big bag of clothes from her Baserange, all of which she insisted I keep. They were mostly the wrong size, because our friend had told her I was much skinnier than I really am – flattering, but in this case totally disapoointing. The pieces that did fit, however, I have worn again and again. I truly love basic pieces, and these are simple, beautifully made, and when I wear them I always think of the generosity behind the gift from someone who was a stranger. I have since gotten to know her children’s line as well, Popupshop, which has the same clean, well-made feeling as her adult line, but with a friendly, playful spin. Over the course of our lunch that day we talked about creativity, motherhood, relationships, and their relationship to one another, and by the end I’d been invited to come stay at Marie-Louise’s house in Copenhagen, even if she wasn’t there. She struck me as a true creative, an artist working in the medium of clothing, and a genuine and thoughtful person. I was very curious to hear more about her background and here I asked her a few questions.
Skye Parrott: Can you tell me a little about your background? How did you grow up?
Marie-Louise Mogensen: I grew up in two homes, at home with my mom in the countryside and on the weekends at my dad in a city. At my mom’s she made everything herself – there was no tv, and she is pretty limitless as to what you can do or say. At my dad’s I watched cartoons and MTV, and if I have any manners today, they come from him. My dad has always traveled a lot and I remember getting his postcards, dreaming of that. I think growing up in two homes gave me the feeling that there is no one way of doing things.
Skye: How did you come to be involved in clothing?
Marie-Louise: As my mother basically made everything, she also made my clothes and always involved me in the process. But I was not really as interested in clothing as much as I was in magazines or printed things of any kind. As a kid I read lots of comic books and that changed into more lifestyle and fashion magazines as I became a teenager. I think I did not really become interested in clothing until I started to read magazines like The Face, iD, Italian Vogue, and saw Wolfgang Tillmans. Images and clothes merged more for me because of that and I began to see clothes as an artistic format.
Skye: What was the process once you came to be interested in clothing? I often find that people come to fashion from disparate paths. Did you study fashion or art or design, or did you come to it another way?
Marie-Louise: I studied art and graphic design, and I think most stories for me begins with an image. I really believe that what we see and say are a strong part of how we direct our lives and that is a big responsibility for whoever is sending something out, not to pin us down as human beings. I saw that either I could work with companies and try and sell them my version or I could start something myself. I never had and still don’t have a clear dream about doing clothes - the dream is more to try and create a feeling in different formats that can be part of life and our world right now.
Skye: When did you launch your first collection?
Marie-Louise: Luca (the father of my kids) and I made our first collection for the kids in autumn/winter 2006.
Skye: Can you tell me a little about how it came into being?
Marie-Louise: Luca and I had just had our second child when I finished school. While I was nursing Roberta we started talking about doing something together, as we were both attached to the thought of having a mobile family unit we could move because we were our own work. For a long time Luca had wanted to do a basic line, one with absolutely no details – just fabric and cut. And I really wanted to work on an identity for a younger family brand with as little retouching as possible, where kids did not have to wear pink or blue, be colorful or be happy.