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November 14, 2010

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Dressing like Malkovich

YOU may not be able to be John Malkovich, but you can certainly dress like him - if you've got a lot of money.

The Oscar-nominated, Emmy-award winning actor/producer/designer visited Shanghai recently for the China launch of his new clothing line, Technobohemian, at Shanghai Fashion Week. Technobohemian was launched in Europe last summer. The line is conceived, designed and developed by Malkovich himself.

The Technobohemian collection, which clearly reflects Malkovich's eccentric style, is comprised of jackets, sweaters, shirts and trousers in colorful, exclusive fabrics sourced from Prato, a quality textile city. The garments are made entirely in Italy, except for the denim, which comes from Japan.

"I have always cultivated interest in fashion and I always loved it," said the veteran actor who is known for his roles in "Places in the Heart" (1984), Dangerous Liaisons" (1988), "In the Line of Fire" (1993) and of course, the 1999 black comedy-fantasy "Being John Malkovich."

"I like the design, I like the details and for me it is simply another form of self expression," he told Shanghai Daily.

Q: Where do you get your inspirations? Is the line based on your personal style?

A: I get inspiration from everything, really - from work, travel, movies, plays, costumes ... from what I observe on the street. Of course, everything one does that involves style is filtered through one's personal aesthetic. You can't draw or build what isn't reflective of the way you think something should look like.

Q: How did you decide to launch your own line?

A: I had done a line for several years called Uncle Kimono. A couple of years after I had stopped doing that line, my friend Riccardo Rami asked if I would consider doing another line in association with his studio in Prato, Italy. Eventually I said fine. Though we did a very limited spring/summer 2010 collection, it was mostly just a test run. So the first real collection was autumn/winter 2010, which was presented on the runway this time. The name Technobohemian was a phrase I read in a yet unpublished Italian novel. I simply like it, and thought it would make a good name for the new line. I asked the author for his permission to use it and I will endeavor to use it well.

Q: You once described yourself as a fabric nut who carries several swatch books in a bag. Is that true?

A: Well, since designing a line is a full-time job, I normally travel with all kinds of things related to the line, as one is always designing, drawing, choosing fabric and buttons, viewing samples and archives ... So yes, my luggage isn't as light as it used to be.

Q: Do fashion and acting have aspects in common?

A: Sure. Both are, in the end, about cohesion and about details. I'm fairly obsessed with both, and always have been.

Q: What is your career focus right now? Acting or designing?

A: My life doesn't allow focusing on one thing, and I wouldn't want it to. I focus on what I'm doing, precisely at that moment. It doesn't matter if it's designing a bag, or directing a play or doing a drawing, or adapting a book. I am where I am, doing exactly what I'm doing.

Q: What are your latest film projects?

A: I have two films which just came out in America, "Secretariat" and "Red." My production company, Mr.mudd, is also working on the new film of Jason Reitman, called "Young Adult," and it is shooting in New York at the moment ... I am already quite busy touring the major part of next year with two operas that I do out of Vienna.


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