Interview :: bou
May 7th 2012
bou backstage at Changing Lanes – Image: Alex Kang
Three years ago, Sydney fashion designer Christina Bouzios created her very first piece, an elegant, simple black cape. Nowadays, this fresh young thing counts quite the number of shows, catwalks, collections and shoots under her cape, now proudly emblazoned with the moniker ‘bou’.
This ambitious local 22 year old has taken big ol steps into the limelight with her bold, brave style, showcasing at Sydney’s Changing Lanes festival, smARTarts Youth Arts and Culture Festival and proving a favourite of countless local markets and galleries. Ahead of her collection exhibition i wonderheld at Sydney’s Queen Street Studios, we sat down with Ms Bouzios for a chat to find out more about the young lass behind the bou.
Who is bou as opposed to Christina Bouzios? Is bou a persona of yours or are you one and the same?
bou (yes, always all lower case said like ‘boo’!) is the braver one I think, the one that doesn’t cry when they have to needle the mad one (thanks Oscar Wilde), willing to do anything and take on anyone. As a person or an entity, it’s always evolving and representing a million different possibilities. Christina Bouzios is also a cool b**** (I think) but she takes on all the worries of the world, the people, the ideas and has many brain explosions.
In all seriousness though, bou is formerly a nickname of mine from my very European last name (reprahzent!) I really like it, I think it’s so endearing. I guess it now stems from a figment of myself but something much larger. It represents a venture/design initiative that is very close to my heart!
What’s more rewarding, creating mind-blowing haute-couture fashion or classic ready to wear?
I don’t think there is one answer at any given time, at least not with me anyway! Haute- couture is beautiful and very high impact and if done in the right way can also be timeless and also very personal. Classic ready to wear fashion, I guess it depends what you mean; a shirt and tailored trousers for example are also very beautiful… I just think there is a time and a place for both and both are really rewarding.
Since I’ve never studied fashion or design, the development of bou and my now titled ‘design initiative!’ (smiley face) was very unconventional and probably unlinear and that’s ok with me. I always try and remember why I started doing what I’m doing! This whole thing for me came about as a combat to the ‘loophole’, as a means of expression and more of an experimental art form. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy seeing my clothes go down the runway, I’m just saying there’s room in between for more!
bou collection ready to go, backstage at Changing Lanes – Image: Alex Kang
What was the first piece you ever made? Why did you make it?
Ha! I always laugh at this… It was a really simple black cape type thing. One day three years ago now, I think I was just looking for something to fill the gap with an outfit. Everything I had I was like “ohhh I wish this was more like this or less like this”. I don’t remember how but I just started playing with this stretchy black bit of fabric and then pwoah! I led myself into the candy castle.
I guess I’d always been a creative person even as a kid, I used to photograph all my little Lincraft creations and put them in a scrapbook! Then I just started experimenting with draping and tying and then it eventually led to sewing bits and pieces. Then I guess opportunities just arose, a couple of people believed in me and I just started rolling with the punches (actually, no punches just markets and love) and here we are… still rolling with the punches.
Where does the title ‘i wonder’ come from?
I’m at a really ripe stage in my life right now (just turning 22 eeh!) and I am lucky to have a lot of different options, people, ideas and opinions floating around… I’m learning the magic behind perspective and patience so i wonder in some way if everyone is in the same boat. i wonder this magic of design is going to take me and i wonder who’s gonna get behind me!
Ah and the website too, that’s important, well it’s really a very expensive portfolio but hopefully it gives people a consolidated version of what I do. I wanted to have a good online directory for bou as I really want to encourage people to approach me for anything; creating a piece, proposing a new project, having a tea.
bou collection shoot – Image: Alex Kang
I hear James Domeyko will be in charge of ‘sound curation’ on the night? You’ve also shown your work alongside music festivals like Changing Lanes and seem to collaborate with many local musicians in your work. Does your work have a particular affinity with music?
Yeah, I guess it does! As I said earlier, for me, my kind of fashion/design is more of an art form (nyohnyohnyoh signal smoking pipe and beret). So I guess I would love to try and activate an all-encompassing sensory experience through my work. As well as this, my clothes are quite dramatic so music from similar brainwaves always does well to exacerbate that.
As well as this, I am particularly lucky to be surrounded by friends, who are more like family, that are beautiful, talented, collaborative and creative, all the superlatives! That sense of community is actually really important in producing great work, I think.
In your eyes, what makes Sydney’s emerging fashion scene different from anywhere else?
Boy. There is just a heap going on and then not really. Sydney is verrrrrrry small but I think there are a lot of active brains around!
Readying for bou collection shoot – Image: Alex Kang
Who are your current favourite designers?
Tough one. I like a lot of obscure and different designers/artists/illustrators for various reasons. In terms of inspiration, lately it’s been more in line with artists from the Abstract era and that early European 1940’s movement. I’ve always admired Japanese designers and I really like Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake and others in their league. I like crazy old women wearing clothes too big or small for them with lots of colour and a lot of little designers around the world that focus on using recycled goods etc.
Recently, Jenny Kee’s collection at MBFW 2012 blew my mind. I also just discovered an illustrator ‘Antonio’, most prominent in the 60s-80s. The approaches he has to his work are out of this world!
CHECK OUT BOU
When: Monday 7th May 6-9pm
Where: Queen Street Studios, 10-14 Kensington St Studio 12
How much: FREE
Check out the official site here for collection shoots, news, updates and more.