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Fashion & Self-Isolation: Kristina De Coninck

Belgian Model Kristina De Coninck in her garden wearing a white t-shirt.
Kristina De Coninck in her garden, 2020
Kristina De Coninck

Artist and model Kristina De Coninck has worked for designers such as Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, Walter Van Beirendonck and Jean Paul Gaultier. Recently she has modelled for Lemaire, Zara and Marine Serre. She lives in the leafy area of Bois-le-Roi, half an hour from Paris.

My modelling work and projects have all been postponed because of the crisis and my regular work has also been put on hold for the time being. I am familiar with a sense of uncertainty in my own life but this global crisis is definitely worrying.

One thing I can count on is that every morning at five o’clock, we get a concert by a confident singing thrush in our garden. It’s beautiful. We live in a small house with a large garden. As long as I can remember I’ve been trying to surround myself with beauty.

Since the quarantine began, I have been gardening a lot, I have started wearing my denim dungarees again as a gardening outfit. I think a garden and the concept of ‘time’ can be an interesting union. If you don't know anything about gardening you can make a lot of mistakes. You plant something and later discover that the plant doesn’t thrive in that particular place. I’ve repotted and planted a lot over the last few years, but now they all seem happy.

When I’m not gardening, I work in my studio behind the big lime tree. I’m currently focusing on new sculptures. They are created from iron wire and masses of wool that have been washed in the washing machine. It feels as if I’m working with large pieces of clay. I manipulate and knead the wool until it feels right.

My sculptures are based on mental organisation. The wool and cashmere come from garments I have worn for years. The last one I created is completely black. These raw materials are connected to events and memories that have happened throughout my life, I think clothing is closely related to that. The concept of a ‘bust’ is central to my work, dressed or undressed.

My work must evoke emotion; there should be a feeling as if my sculptures are waiting for someone. I’m in awe of the many possibilities of technology but showing my work digitally would only offer a glimpse of reality. You have to feel my work and experience its texture in real life; hopefully in a real exhibition, when the crisis is over.

What I wear affects my mood. I wear a lot of denim jackets and trousers in quarantine. For me, the right colour combination makes me happy. I often wear a white or rust coloured T-shirt making sure it matches the wash of my jeans perfectly. My mother collected silk scarves from flea markets and in her collection I found a blue vintage Coca-Cola handkerchief. I wear it in my back pocket every day. It’s my safety blanket, a kind of good luck charm.

Vintage blue silk handkerchief with Coca-Cola printed all over it
Vintage silk coca-Cola handkerchief
Kristina De Coninck

I’m lucky to still have clothes from Martin Margiela. I have been thinking of taking some new pictures in them. There is an area I could go at the edge of the forest where the blue hyacinths are planted. For now, I will have to wait to do this because the forest is still closed.

Thanks to my husband Tatsuya and my daughter Nina, we all have found a good rhythm to our days; without them I would keep on working and forget to eat. We take turns cooking and have discovered new daily rituals. A Belgian beer in the early evening and this banana pie recipe in the mornings. You have to try it. Google: 'Le fameux gâteau avec 1 oeuf qui al atteint des millions de vues’.

MoMu is closed for renovations, open to inspire at other locations. Read more about it.