4 Jun
The inimitable fashion of Victor Wilde and The Bohemian Society

We’ve been following Victor Wilde’s work for awhile now, mostly because he’s not one of those dudes that just talks a lot of game and then never delivers — he’s a true out hustler. And a very talented designer. At our Liberace’s Penthouse party Victor performed his Living Dolls art show, which is essentially a live dressmaking exhibition where he tears shit up, dyes and cuts in front of your eyes and makes some truly exceptional art/fashion. The guy has talent, and his tenured Bohemian Society fashion line is evidence. When Victor’s not hunched over his studio desk cutting up fabrics and slopping paint all over the place, he’s also working on setting up his new art gallery on 6th and Main in downtown Los Angeles. We interviewed Victor for his last line, “Flowers In the Attic”, and so we were eager to hear what were the themes and inspirations for his brand new line, 1%er.

So what’s the inspiration/theme to the new line? Last time we talked we talked about “Surrealism, psychedelica, pirates, tribal, outer space, kaos and the renewal of spring.” Any similar themes?
Kind of. The new line, “1%er”, is inspired by tribal prints and colors mixed with motorcycle and street gang overtones.

Your last line, “Flowers in the Attic” had a very vintage primitive bohemian aesthetic. Can we expect some of the same?
A little. I tend to use recycled and found materials. “Flowers In the Attic” referred to the fact that particular collection was created in a borrowed attic because I had just come back from NYC and did not have a studio (or a home) at the time.

So then what does “1%er” refer to?
1% of the population. It originally refers to a bike rally in the forties where 99% of the attendants were law abiding and 1% were deemed “outlaws.” It also refers to the 1% of the world’s population that own most of the wealth. Not to mention artists and/or bohemians. There are not that many of us around either.

What are some of your favorite pieces from your new collection?
The recycled fur piece with studs, all the bullet drawstring stuff, the moto jacket with the American flag studded to the back.

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“My fingers were coarse and calloused for weeks after working on it. I have fond memories of attacking it with a blow torch at 7am as well.”

As usual your new stuff has a very “handmade” look and aesthetic. Your new line has a lot of hand-painted imagery, roughly cut letters sewn on, zippers, hand ties, studs and spikes, hand shredded pieces, etc. That seems like it’s very time-consuming to make. How do you manage?
I have a team that swoops in from time to time, but mostly its just sheer hard work and no sleep.

Will the stuff you produce and sell to boutiques all have the same level of handmade touches, or will you automate some of it?
This particular collection I want to keep more hand made. I have done big runs before that I call “mass produced one-of-a-kinds” where each piece has the same style and color scheme but is still unique.

Is it tough to survive off such small runs?
Anything worth doing is not easy, but the less I make of something the more expensive it is. Mwahahaha…

I really like the American flag jacket with the snakeskin collar and spikes. Do you remember creating that one?
Of course I do. My fingers were coarse and calloused for weeks after working on it. I have fond memories of attacking it with a blow torch at 7am as well.

Blow torch? That sounds dangerous. The last time you said your accessories were all done by you, and they included parts from a “dubiously acquired medical skeleton,” railroad nails, a hand-sewn teddy bear, antlers, snake bones and even a horse shoe. What can we expect this time?
Lots of chain mail, vintage silk parachutes, studs, botanica charms, bullet casings, spikes, recycled leather and fur, casted metal jesus’s and pocket knives.

Victor Wilde in his favorite piece (photo by Alex Fink)

Your last office/studio was pretty infamous. Where are you living nowadays? Is it as “unhinged” and lawless?
Yes of course. I am currently living in another large infamous space downtown with a few other artists. It has a beautiful garden out back and we stage shows and events here.

Has it ever gotten out of control, like worried the cops would come busting in and taking your home again? Or has it remained within the realms of sanity?
This place has remained pretty sane thankfully. My neighbor has huge parties and has to worry about the fuzz, but we keep things chill over here.

What do you listen to music while working? What do you have playing in your iPod nowadays?
Music plays a huge part in my daily life. As I write this I am listening to Discovery, the xx, Die Antwoord, the new Crystal Castles album.

What did you wanna be when you were a kid? Have you achieved it?
I wanted to be Jacque Cousteau when I was a child, but I soon learned I hated school. Then in the fourth grade I was cast in an extra role in Woody Allen’s Radio Days and I fell in love with film. My ultimate goal is to mesh film and fashion. I want to do for fashion what George Lucas did for the action figure. Meaning to market a line based on my film.

Do you know what that film would be about? Who would you have in the starring role?
I would want to cast newbies probably, but the film would be about two rival gangs. one is headed by a woman and the other a man. in the end they come together and form a super gang.

Aaaah c’mon – pick someone to be the stars! They can be dead, myths, race car drivers, whoever.
Ok fine. Serge Gainsborg and a young Brigitte Bardot would be nice.

If you could take the Siberian Express, who would you like to share your train car with?
Nicola Tesla, Samuel Clemans, Genghis Kahn, Hitler, Mandela, Gandhi, Caesar, Moses, George Washington, Jimi Hendrix…or my grandma.

If you were lost in a supermarket, in what aisle would we find you in?
The one with the toys.

All gallery photos by Ryan Michael Sinko

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