Swedish designer Sebastian Löjdkvist, creator of Ess-Elle, is a self-pronounced rule-breaker, going against “everything that Sweden traditionally stands for” when it comes to his design aesthetic. The home of H&M, Sweden is a country that has produced a succession of designers who love the popular minimalist look, but minimalist Löjdkvist is not.
“Less is a bore. I love to use feathers, sequins, rhinestones…“, he says of his work. The clothes are glitzy, girly and always trying to push the boundaries that little bit further. How would he describe the Ess-Elle ‘look’? “Lady Gaga inspired haute couture“, he says, refering to the one woman he would love to see wearing his creations. A quick look at his Starfish dress with it’s horizonal spikes in patent leather or his One Shoulder Dress complete with enormous shoulder spike and I’m sure that Lady Gaga would fall in love.
However, not everything that Löjdkvist designs is only for the Gaga’s of the world – without losing his sense of personal style or direction, Löjdkvist has expertly woven some softer, more feminine designs into his collection too that look like they belong perfectly. I love his beige satin evening gown which has a 3D, structred, pleated bodice that is beautiful and unique whilst still fitting with the structured and unique shapes that flow through Ess-Elle’s collections. The finale piece from his most recent collection is a beautiful silk taffeta dress, also in beige, that was inspired by Cleopatra and features a stunning, golden halterneck covered in hand-sewn pearls and sequins. Löjdkvist is a versatile designer, moving from gothic to glamorous,and trying not to lose his personal touch in the process.
I met with the designer and here’s what he had to say…
What is your educational and professional background and how did it prepare you for a career in fashion?
I studied fashion design in High School and thereafter I moved on to a vocational university to become a trained tailor. I made the desicion to become a tailor so that I can understand the sewing techniques and what is possible to do in clothing. A lot of people who call themselves designers don’t know how to sew or draw – I think that it is important to at least be familiar with all the steps. I have over the years worked with some of Sweden’s greatest designers, from Camilla Thulin making clothes for the Nobel Prize dinner, to Stefan Wåhlberg who is among a lot of other things working with the Swedish version of Dancing with the Stars.
What’s the story behind the label’s name?
The name Ess-Elle is simply from my initials, S & L , it felt more feminine and exclusive to write it that way.
What is your design philosophy?
Less is a bore. I love to use feathers, sequins, rhinestones, lace and leather and maybe that’s why some people feel like my collections looks a little bit too “drag-ish”, but for me it’s simply glamour! I do unique, daring and sexy clothes for the fashion-forward, confident woman.
What is your proudest achievement?
I’d say that was when I finished my first collection for Fall/Winter 2008. It was called “Queen of the Night” and was a mix of faux leather biker wear and sequined party dresses. I made ruffles in leather and mixed it with tops covered in hand-sewn sequins. I also did an evening gown completely covered in sequins. It took me over 500 hours to handsew everything and I was so proud of it all at the end. It tested my patience but I learned that hard work is worth it.
What inspires you?
Music inspires me so when I create clothes I try to picture them on stage, in a music video or on the red carpet which is why it’s mostly evening wear you see from Ess-Elle. I don’t just see clothes as something that you hang in your closet, it’s supposed to be a work of art, something that transfers a feeling from mind to eye.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Right now my focus is to complete my vocational studies and then a design school would be the next step for me. But I can guarantee you that you’ll be seeing my clothes on the red carpet in the future. Dream it and you’ll be it!
You can buy Ess-Elle right now at Löjdkvist’s Tellus Fashion store – his pieces are currently up for auction so you may find yourself with an exclusive designer piece at a highstreet price if you’re lucky!