The Shape of Things

With cutting-edge designs and experimental presentations, Diana Orving puts spectacle back into the fashion show. By Pamela Liou
Diana Orving isn't really into "fashion"—at least not in the strictest sense of the word. "I am interested in so much more than the garments themselves. In my presentations I have an opportunity to express my ideas—to work with scenography, music and models to tell my stories," Diana says, "I find more inspiration in art, literature, theatre, and dance than in fashion itself." Indeed, the lucky Swedes who have had the privilege of sitting in on one of her shows in her native Stockholm will attest to the distinct sense of journey. Often accompanied by live singers and dancers, her garments parade out, modeled by Orving's non-professional, non-waifish friends. The result is an emotional response akin to theatrical asides.
Once a prospective dancer and recipient of the Swedish Art Foundation's coveted scholarship, Orving began to see clothing as communication. At 15, she began selling her one-offs in small boutiques. While showing in Tokyo, a Japanese agency picked her collection.
Her artistic sensibilities started at home; her mother is an artist, and her father an architect. "I got inspiration from both of them in the way I try to combine the strict and exact mathematics of pattern construction with an artistic improvisational way of creating clothes," Orving adds. To say her process is "improvisational" is an understatement; her mastery of construction lies in the organic draping on actual moving, breathing people. Rather than wrangling fabric, she tries to utilize the material's inherent characteristics, from dark netting and thin semi-transparent chiffon to heavy viscose and dense wool. Orving creates stylized silhouettes with billowing black jersey, further shaping them with brown or midnight printed fabric.
"My point of departure is people," says Orving. "Their personal stories expressed in the way that all people stage their persona, whether they have formulated an interest in fashion or not."
Diana Orving is available at Opening Ceremony in New York and Los Angeles. For more infomation, go to
With cutting-edge designs and experimental presentations, Diana Orving puts spectacle back into the fashion show.

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