when you first lay eyes on kristofj von strass you can’t help but take a second look, his style is all his own – debonair, playful, smart, sharp and with a touch or twist of romance to boot. in my eyes he is one of london’s best dressed gents, it always being a thrill to see which guise is being portrayed that day…. vogue thought so too. his photography and art direction also shouts this unique and surreal style. kristofj’s wonderful storytelling ability is obvious throughout his work – always inquisitive, impeccably styled and sometimes shocking. citing influences as far-reaching as hollywood glamour, david la chapelle, musical theatre and mcqueen – its easy to see where the drama and playfulness has been inherited alongside such natural talent. having worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and photography including ellen von unwerth, jean-charles de castelbajac and junko shimada and with exciting new projects on the go currently, this looks like just the beginning…. i look forward to more. kristofj spent some time answering our questions for more of an insight into his life.
1. List your favorite places to do, be and see – people, places, ideas, art, etc and links to these please.
I love to discover hidden and secret places in and around London. I have a fascination for the 18th and 19th centuries, and anything to do with the Victorian period. I recently visited The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret, hidden away in the rafters of a church near London Bridge. This is the oldest surviving operating theatre in Europe, and the adjacent apothecary is fascinating.
One of London’s best kept secrets has to be 18 Stafford Terrace, home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne. Preserved by his family to this day, a wonderful actress plays the part of his wife and shows you round her unique and unusual Victorian home.
If like me you love magic and want to have a special night out, visit magician Simon Drake at his House of Magic, in an old Victorian pub in a secret location south of the river. Not only his show, but his collection of magical artefacts and automata will astound you.
2. Was there anyone that inspired you from the beginning? Who inspires you now?
I am inspired by many different people producing works in many different mediums, but if I had to name one person who inspired me from the beginning I would have to say David La Chapelle. People I find really inspiring at the moment are photographer Steven Klein, movie director Vincente Minelli, stylist Catherine Baba.
all images above by david la chapelle.
kristofj and i have a mutual adoration of fabulous stylist catherine baba who i blogged about previously here. images of catherine the great below.
3. What is it exactly that you do?
I am a photographer, art director and video maker.
some of my favourite images of kristofj’s are those of our mutual friends artist adham faramaway + amber and nisha of the broken hearts as seen above.
link to kristofj’s short film entitled “curieux spaghetti bar” here.
I cannot resist buying copies of Picture Show magazine at car boot sales, featuring film icons from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. My work is influenced by movies from this era, in particular the great musicals of the 1950’s.
5. What would be your ideal collaborative project?
Recently a lot of my projects have been collaborations with other artists and personalities, and I always feel the result is much stronger and richer work. I have some great ideas for reality star Heidi Montag styled by Catherine Baba of course!
6. Your favorite food to prepare/cook/eat?
I don’t cook! But my favourite food is socca – a specialty from my home town of Nice. The best place to try it is at restaurant Chez Rene.
find a recipie for socca, the classic chickpea pancake as seen above here.
7. Your favorite colour or combination of colours?
9. Whats the best advice you have been given?
Never to wear white shoes after Labor day.
10. What music/ musicians move you?
I love listening to Dalida in the morning, and bands like sexy sushi, Vitalic or Vive la fete before going out.
12. What are you doing to help save the world?
I recycle and try to use less hairspray in the morning.
13. Do you have a motto or manifesto that you live by?
No wire hangers EVER!