The feminine flowing silk dresses by Johanna Riplinger are as delicate as she is. She is an artist who would have liked to become a florist. A poetess who has become a designer. A traveler who is at home everywhere. And at home you can also feel in her wonderfully organic collections, which she designs in Paris, made of luxurious, sustainable materials such as silk, cashmere and angora. And with the help of artistic techniques with plant colors in a very special glow. I was happy when I met Johanna Riplinger, who worked at Guy Laroche among others, and her Green Luxury collections at the Greenshowroom. I talked to her about the power of clothes, the fascination of nature, her new vegan second line Shine, home, plant colors, the footprint of nature and, of course, about Green Luxury.
A conversation about Green Luxury with Johanna Riplinger
my-GREENstyle: You worked with Guy Laroche. For many designers this is a dream. Why did you stop there?
Johanna Riplinger: Guy Laroche was fantastic. I could design for the defiles. My models were sent to the catwalk! This was a great experience. But I’ve seen how much waste there is in the luxury sector.
my-GREENstyle: What exactly do you mean with waste?
Johanna Riplinger: We have made prototypes, for example, and they have been cut three, four or five times from silk. In my dream of luxury fashion something is broken. The superficiality and the waste and how everything revolves around the fashion show. Everything is just show. Somehow not real. I wanted to do that differently.
my-GREENstyle: And what are you doing differently today?
Johanna Riplinger: For me, almost my prototypes are hanging here. This requires a lot of thought beforehand. But I take the time to work on a prototype until everything is perfect. I then change the model and do not cut again. So I have much less “waste” in the collection development. And: it saves a lot of costs.
my-GREENstyle: You knew very early that you wanted to be a designer. What else would you like to become?
Johanna Riplinger: No question: Florist! I can not live without flowers. Bouquets in the classical sense are not mine, but I love single branches. And I love gardens. I grew up in a big garden. At that time I have already made my own bouquets from leaves & Co. I would leave bouquets that surprise. They are made up of things that are not necessarily perceived as beautiful at first sight.
All that can make stains can also color – Johanna Riplinger about plant color
my-GREENstyle: And what fascinates you so much about nature?
Johanna Riplinger: Everyone loves the magnolia, but only the expressive power of a magnolia branch, which is not yet bloated. What a character! When the flowers turn red into the green, or the power of the buds that just jump up … These are the things that fascinate me in nature. To observe plants is, for me, one of the greatest sources of inspiration.
Take a closer look at the nature – Karl Blossfeldt, plant fotograf (1865 -1932)
my-GREENstyle: Did you know from the start that you want to have a sustainable label?
Johanna Riplinger: My love for nature was very early. I would almost say I was not grown in the house, but in the garden, in nature. I was also at a Waldorf school, where I could fully live my natural bond. That I wanted to become a fashiondesigner, I already knew since my tenth year. Sure, in which direction my label would go: Green Luxury!
Nature has the ability to create complex and coherent results
my-GREENstyle: What sets your collections apart?
Johanna Riplinger: On the one hand, of course, the connection with nature. And, on the other hand, the connection of woman with herself, to her own nature. Then for me the circle closes. Because I want to show with my collections that high-quality fashion can be sustainable. But also that high-quality fashion can contain a depth and a nature bond. I want to give women the ability to trust themselves more. I often get the feedback that women feel strengthened inside by my clothes …
my-GREENstyle:To your Green Luxury collection Johanna Riplinger you have just launched a second line: Shine …
Johanna Riplinger: The first Shine collection is on the market for spring / summer 2017 and is made exclusively of organic cotton. For the coming fall, I added a bit of vegan silk. This makes Shine 100% vegan.
Plant colors are better than chemical colors. They have much more depth
my-GREENstyle: What made you want to work with your natural coloring techniques for your Green Luxury collections?
Johanna Riplinger: The combination of nature and fashion is completely natural to me. I wanted to transfer the velvetness of buds and the fantastic colors of nature to human-made textiles. I have already done my diploma thesis on this subject.
my-GREENstyle: What makes these dyeing techniques so special?
Johanna Riplinger: Petals are placed on the fabric and leave their imprint. That looks different every time. I call it the footprint of nature on clothing.
my-GREENstyle: You work together with different dyers. Can you tell us the origin of the plants and their history?
Johanna Riplinger: The temple flowers, for example, are bought daily in masses on the flower markets and sacrificed in Indian temples. After a while, these sacrifices are no longer needed. And this Leftovers a deaf person is collecting for me. And my partners produce wonderful plant colors.
I let the creativity of the flower speak
my-GREENstyle: Do all the colors come from India? I just imagine that you gather flowers and leaves, send them to you and conjure up individual favorite pieces …
Johanna Riplinger: It is not just flowers that I use. It also works with onion, avocado or pomegranate peals. The exciting is actually that there are always the remains that we do not eat.
my-GREENstyle: Do you have a favorite technique?
Johanna Riplinger: Shibori is actually one of my favorite techniques. But also the laying on of petals. This allows nature to leave so much space. The Shibori technique also allows space for chance. Man restrains, nature has the decision. Finally, there is perfection in the imperfections. This is the true beauty.
I am working with intense light colors that show the depth and range of plant colors.
my-GREENstyle: A color you would like to reproduce in a natural way, but what has not worked out yet?
Johanna Riplinger: Actually, I approach the subject a bit differently. I look at what is possible. And then I experiment and find by coincidence something I find particularly beautiful. This I then to develop further. I like to be inspired by nature and do not try to force anything. Since I have completely rethought. Nature has nothing to do with pantone colors.
Of course, I have ideas of a theoretical color palette, but the question is: What gives me the nature and what can I do with it?
my-GREENstyle: German-American in Paris? What does home mean to you?
Johanna Riplinger: Meanwhile I live in Lisbon for personal reasons and learn portuguese (laughs). To return to your question of what I would do if I had not become a designer – I love languages. Languages are for me a way to think out of the box. With every language a new way of thinking has opened up to me.
my-GREENstyle: But what is home to you?
Johanna Riplinger: I always thought home is for me between Tubingen and Paris. But now I’ve learned: Home is where I am. Because my real home is not just any house but my body. And I would also like to reflect this in my collections.
my-GREENstyle: You show your Green Luxury collections from Paris at the Greenshowroom in Berlin. What about sustainable fashion in France?
Johanna Riplinger: Interest is growing among the consumers, but the boutiques are not yet noticeable. You can not speak of a movement like in Germany.
my-GREENstyle: And what do we find apart from your own collections in your wardrobe?
Johanna Riplinger: After I have been designing for ten years now, I have to say that I have hardly other pieces than my own in the closet. Besides underwear and pantyhose, I do not buy any “foreign textile”.
my-GREENstyle: What do your friends say about you?
Johanna Riplinger: As a freerider and cross-thinker, I have already very early distinguished myself from what other people say or think about me. I’ve never been interested in that. What is important to me: freedom and tolerance. Everyone should live his life as he wants.
my-GREENstyle: Could you nicely end the following sentence: For the sustainable fashion I wish me …
Johanna Riplinger: … that she becomes self-evident.
Thank you, Johanna for the interview!