Vegas-enthusiast Javier Almau Taboada introduces himself to you from his hometown in Spain, over an hour and a half long phone call. Dreaming of an artificial city that bathes in pure consumerism and an obsession for CGI and QVC women, he resides in London, studying ‘Fashion & Print’.
It’s cliché, but what got you into fashion?
As a kid, I didn’t think I could do something arts related because I was brainwashed…the system was part of me in a sense. I would always be the one to draw and design but [I] never felt like it was an option. When you’re 17 you’re just sitting here. I had to look at myself from an outside perspective and realis[e] it’s such an instinctive thing I have for fashion. Arts in general, but there’s something about fashion that’s so magnetic for me.
Are there any life events or experiences that have influenced what you do?
I was always more like an observer and I think that’s something that drew me to my aesthetic because I’m always looking and when you’re just looking at a situation everything just looks so ridiculous. Everything that was important to everyone else, to me, was so funny and it didn’t make any sense. So I think that nothing is that deep and everything is sort of funny…and I think that’s sort of the way I view life and I always have. Having fun with fashion, taking it not too seriously…I think everything has to have some humor to it.
How would you describe your work style?
With my designs I’m really interested in technology as a concept. CGI, I think it’s amazing, in general the artificial intelligence. Definitely a sexy style. I think the intellectual world of fashion… they want us to make big artistic things [but] just because it has meaning behind it doesn’t mean it can’t be sexy.”
I like referencing the past. I designed for these middle-aged mums who are always smoking, wearing tracksuits, wearing heels to the gym. That’s the ideal woman to me. It’s so stunning. Maybe it’s [because of] all the time I spent playing [on] Sims as a kid [he laughs]. I used to create the house, create the characters - I wouldn’t play it, I would just create them. I never played the actual game, that wasn’t interesting to me.
What themes does your work mainly focus on?
I’m really obsessed, especially now, with Clairvoyants. After 2 am they have these shows in Spain on TV, everything is so beautiful: the words that come up on the screen, everything. I just love anything that’s so incredibly like…how is this still being done? How can I look at this woman for hours with this wig selling me cream?” I guess it would have to do with this theme of the everyday woman.
I would never watch this. Who would? And then I see this woman and I want to get to know her and explore her life and so I watch QVC like she would, and look at what she would. It comes from a different world. It could only happen on QVC.
In that case, how do you feel about baby pageants and pet pageants?
So, visually, this is a bit of a dichotomy for me. Because I see pictures of JonBenet dancing and the pictures are stunning. They look like they’re from a different world. It looks [as if it’s] not real. Like “why is this 5 year old wearing wig?” Obviously, I feel bad because they shouldn’t be forced to look like that, they’re beings but the imagery is so stunning. Ugly is ugly before it’s not.
So what was your latest piece about?
“I wanted to sort of create the perfect hooligan girl, if that makes sense…like sexy Dracula costumes with hooligans. Getting all the main visuals, like the imagery that we relate to hooligans and relating that to an overly sexulised female version.
[Right now] I’m really interested in tattooing on leather, so I want to get hand made leather jackets and trousers and stuff and I want to tattoo all over them.
You seem to be attracted to this concept of other worlds, so if you had to move somewhere else, where would it be?
“I would move to Las Vegas. That’s actually like my dream: getting married every night, watching Barbara Streisand, then going to watch a drag show, gambling. That’s like the perfect lifestyle.”
When people go into the woods and go camping, that’s boring.
I feel like [Las Vegas] is what humanity is. There’s also something about those places…they just have no intention to be anything except what they are. When you see these people who are just having fun, they like gold and they like this and “if you don’t like it you can fuck off”.
“If I get married ever, [it will] definitely [be] more than once, and in Las Vegas.”
Ok so, in an ideal world, what does the future’s aesthetic look like to you?
Definitely very gender neutral - everyone wearing whatever they want. Everything would be artificial. I would like to live in a CGI world. Everyone trying to make everything so realistic now, it’s so boring because we already have real life. So I’d want everyone to have plastic surgery: big lips, big asses, wigs. Botched plastic surgery, it is so beautiful. Like Dolly Parton right now, I just think she’s gorgeous, just sort of exaggerated and being your own kind of beauty - I think that’s really interesting.
courtesy JAVIER ALMAU
interview KATE BISHOP
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