ZODIAQUE TALKS#01 with Johanna Dumet
"Because desire is an irrational emotion, it's so strong and powerful, and on a certain level it can drive people crazy. It is something very human. My paintings are themselves an object of desire..."
Tell me about your childhood.
The French countryside, a house without neighbours in the middle of nowhere, cats, chickens, goats, fish, fruit trees, a big garden, lots of freedom and space to grow as a child. Space to create and just be myself. At the age of 5 I announced that I was going to be a painter, and I've kind of been working on it ever since.
What I loved most about my childhood is that I could really feel each season, they all had a really strong smell. I'm lucky that I can relate smells and feelings to the weather because I spend so much time outside.
What is your favourite dish from that time?
My mum made so many cakes and pastries for us, I was always in the kitchen licking the empty bowls and trying to help. My father's hachis parmentier and my grandmother's pâté aux pommes de terres.
What do you associate with ZODIAQUE?
ZODIAQUE is like a double skin, the silk feels so good on the naked body. I feel beautiful when I wear ZODIAQUE. I feel confident, and because the sets are so pretty, I can show them off, maybe I open one more button on my shirt, or I wear a transparent top, maybe a thin silk skirt. I think we should really all celebrate our bodies, life is short!
Why is desire such an interesting topic for you in your art?
Because desire is an irrational emotion, it's so strong and powerful, and on a certain level it can drive people crazy. It is something very human.
My paintings are themselves an object of desire, they are hard to get, and sometimes I see how far people are willing to go to own one. Fascinating!
What role do clothes and underwear play for you?
Dressing, starting with the type of underwear I will wear on the day, is quite important. It has a lot to do with what mood I'm in in the morning.
I love getting dressed up, I always have, but I also always have to feel comfortable. I'm very active, I'm constantly working with my hands, I have to be all over the city sometimes, in the studio, at meetings and in galleries. Over the years I have really understood what goes well with my body shape, I always opt for a good cut, natural fabrics and something colourful.
What do you associate with silk?
When I studied fashion design, I had the opportunity to learn about fibres. Silk was made in China before the birth of Christ, it stayed in a limited area, but at a certain point they opened up to the world with the legendary Silk Road.
Silk is history, it is still considered one of the most luxurious fabrics, so it makes perfect sense to wear it so close to the skin. In France, grandmothers say that if you are in pain, you should wrap your body in silk to make it better.
Do you like poetry?
When I'm in the right mood, yes. One of my favorites is by Charles Baudelaire, called "La beauté".
Who is your style inspiration?
I've really been inspired everywhere, from repeatedly watching Sex and the City or Vogue, from the it-girls on Instagram - I follow some really cool girls - from folkloric costumes, from vintage shops and from watching fashion shows of my favourite brands, but if I had to name one woman who has incredible style, it would be Blanca Miró without a doubt!
You have a new studio in Berlin. What do you like most about it?
I love the new studio, it almost makes me feel like I'm in the country. It's my playground, it's big, and although I share it with my boyfriend (the sculptor and artist Manuel Wroblewski), we both have our own floor, our own space and our own freedom. I'm there almost every day, and every day when I open the door I say out loud: "Oh, how nice to be here".
What is your favourite piece from ZODIAQUE?
The Blue Venus Brief, it's so comfortable. It feels like I'm not wearing any underwear at all!
What is your zodiac sign?
Johanna Dumet lives and works in Berlin. Check out her Instagram @johanna_dumet to see her work.