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Interview: Zsófia Baksa

Hungarian stylist Zsófia Baksa appeared on our radar when her alias Sophie Rotas was given credit as the wardrobe stylist for EB favorite Emika’s latest music video ‘3 Hours’.

Baksa is also the co-founder and creative director of the Fashion Video Festival Budapest. We caught up with her in Detroit to find out more about her multi-tasking persona.

EB: You’ve been working as a fashion writer, stylist, editor and creative director for more than five years, but what have you been up to lately?
Zsófia Baksa:
I’m working on a new magazine, the Nero Homme. It’s a new publication about sex and male fashion. The name means black in Latin and it also refers to the crazy Roman emperor Nero. Not everything rests on my weak shoulders though, as it’s an international project. A lot of great people are involved from Hungary,including amazing art director Jose Simon, and photographers Zoltán Tombor and Márk Viszlay. We’ve also been doing features on artists like Simon Preen, Actually Huizenga and Sasha Grey amongst others.

When will it come out?
It will be out in late summer 2012. I can’t tell you more right now, but the line-up for the release party will be amazing.

What have you done so far that you’re most proud of?
Last year’s highlight is the London launch of the ‘Celestial Bodies’ video directed by me, Márk Viszlay and Dávid Vigh. I really liked the red neon pentagram installation I designed for a shoot with Vince Barati and I also liked how the accessories turned out in Emika’s ‘3 Hours’ video.

I saw that you were the wardrobe stylist for that. How did it come about?
It was strange because I was listening to Emika’s new album on heavy rotation just before Jimmy asked me to work with him on the video for ‘3 Hours’, of which he also did an alternate version called ‘Hit me’. ‘3 Hours’ was also used by my fashion designer friend, Enik? Tóth-Kern as the runway soundtrack. We picked it together unintentionally, so it was a pretty magical moment. It was very hard to put my part of the production together because I wanted to do the best job I could.

What about the story behind the video?
Well, the lyrics of the song are kind of graphic. You can get pretty big impact, even with the smallest thing. Jimmy had the idea to create a modern version for Erzsébet Báthory. We wanted to create an R&B vampire look for both of them. I asked the London designer Gemma Slack to make the accessories for the shoot, we were on the same page from the first moment.

You said you had liked Emika’s music before you met her. What about the person behind the music?
She is graceful and kind and warm-hearted in person, which stands in contrast to her lyrics. Or maybe it’s not a contrast, maybe here lies the essence of justice: A real women needs power, cruelty, pain and kindness, all in one. I hope our paths will cross again soon.

You mentioned Jimmy Edgar. How did you like working with him?
He has an old track ‘My Balance (Last Priority)’ that pretty much describes the type of people that we are. But people do change. He stands out by making abstract sounds but it’s still dance music. I guess it’s not easy to do but that’s the right way. I like the fact that he’s fearless.

What is your philosophy as a stylist and creative director? What does the process of creation mean to you?
I’m very passionate about friends, love and pain; and I do follow the memes that my chosen, important people bring to my life. In addition, of course, I have the ability to maintain some kind of loneliness, a distance where I can look at things and analyze. A fantastic friend, Konrad, has written this about me: “Don’t you need somebody to vaunt? Like little Sophie. With her creed of craziness. The material girl who drives us into eternity. Brainiac with tons of novelty. Keeps us under her spell of massive sexuality.” This is exactly what I want and sometimes it just happens.

You’re the co-founder and creative director of Fashion Video Festival Budapest. How did the idea come to you?
The best thing ever is to inspire someone to do something new. FVFB also reflects my own personal need to move towards film and new media. Fashion is great but I really don’t like the attitude of insiders that reject every other form of culture. I like film because you have the chance to express yourself a bit more.

For the previous two festivals you invited guests such as film director and curator Kathryn Ferguson, and Stefan Siegel, founder of the avant-garde platform for emerging designers Not Just a Label. What are your plans for the third installment of the festival in 2012?
I hope that at some point Erik Liss, my favorite fashion filmmaker will be able to attend the event, but the line-up is not fixed yet. In 2011 the Hungarian design council Design Terminaland were very supportive of the festival. This year it will be expanded to become an even bigger cultural complex, which means we will have much more space to present fashion films, designers, multimedia installations and of course an earth-shattering party. We’ll try our best!

Published May 16, 2012. Words by Andras G. Varga.