Ottolinger and the love of ceramics

Ottolinger has reigned for over three years at the helm of deconstructed maximalist clothing and is still at the forefront of hyper-detailed garments with abnormal use of fabrics, techniques and post-production surfacing work. The clothes speak for themselves, but what about the accents of the accessories?

Swiss-duo Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient are based in Berlin and construct the Ottolinger collections from their current German address. The collections are bleached, ripped, sewn, frayed and even burnt – fused with a sense of tension and a beatnik interpretation of femininity. The clothes are unquestionably at the forefront of the brand, but what happens to the accessories when the clothes demand space and attention? Other brands might offer black leather purses as a sedative effect to the chaos and concepts of their collections – Ottolinger, on the other hand, does not produce accessories within this ideology.

Ottolinger has produced handmade bags made from ceramics and melted down plastic dating all the way back to their débutante collection. “The bags are a part of our ongoing fantasy story. What started as a fun pottery project was originally handcrafted by us – it later became the first handbag that we started to mould in rubber, this after the first season”, explains the girls from Ottolinger. New renderings of this irregular and sculpturesque purse comes back each season, where the girls reimagine the style of the top-handles and embellish the bags with ornamental elements from their current clothing collection, initially making something static come to life and blurring the lines between art and function right before our eyes and hands.

The bags have migrated from idea to product over time and are now being moulded for production in plastic. “We can choose different materials for the moulding and then they are hand painted individually”, explains the girls from Ottolinger. Time has shown that actual ceramic bags aren’t the best technical idea, even though the creative modus operandi is on point. “We first had them as ceramic bags but they were too heavy and too fragile”, says Bösch and Gadient.

The art of ceramics is a skill that takes years to master, yet the girls have successfully managed to create a product that flawlessly merges art and product – whilst each bag remains completely unique. The girls at Ottolinger explains that they have some experience with ceramics, but nothing compared to professionals. The enchanting element of this story is that making something yourself, that isn’t perfect – may very well be better than something polished and hyper-functional. Bösch and Gadient smile as they explain their ideas on the bags’ functionality. “The function for this bag would be to have a special bag piece in your wardrobe”.

Written by Madeleine Holth for Novembre Magazine

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