An Exclusive Interview with Filippa K’s new Creative Director Liisa Kessler

Today, prior to the release of those resort and spring 2023 collections, the brand is dropping a teaser, in the form of a capsule swimwear collection campaign, shot in the wintery North of Sweden, near Skellefteå. It’s made entirely out of materials already in-house, intriguingly including black velvet, and shows a gaggle of models ice bathing—brrrr—in bikinis and maillots, trunks and board shorts. The bikinis have a bit of a ’90s vibe, hinting that Kessler has visited the archives (she has), but there’s not enough information here to be able to visualize a full brand aesthetic. What the photos do reveal are a sense of community and a connection to nature. More importantly, they are taken from the perspective of someone outside looking in and observing local customs.

An asymmetric maillot is made using velvet from a past collection.

Photo: Timothy Schaumburg / Courtesy of Filippa K

For Kessler, a multilingual German/Finn, the idea of home has been a preoccupation since school days. Raised in a small village in Germany, the designer spent idyllic summers with her mother’s family in the woods up North—which gave her a strong connection with Nordic, if not Swedish culture—as well as a sense of displacement. “What does home actually mean?” “Where do I actually feel at home?” Those are questions she’s been asking from her youth, and have resurfaced now that she’s relocated to Scandinavia. So far, her time at Filippa K has been one of discovery and rediscovery on personal and professional levels.

Kessler came to fashion by way of craft: “Growing up in a small German village is not like growing up in Paris, London, or New York; fashion was not really on our plate, but I was always really into doing things with my hands.” Taught by her mother to sew, she started customizing things as a teenager. When she told her parents she wanted to study fashion design, they suggested she apprentice with a local dressmaker, which she did for three years. “It gives you so much satisfaction, sewing a dress,” she says. Then it was off to Berlin where, Kessler explains, “a whole new world opened up for me, like the whole conceptual part behind fashion, the possibility to dive into new worlds and new themes every season.”

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