Creative team Feli Fla and Pepita Von Ehrenfeld (known affectionately as Feli & Pepita!) are the sort of globetrotting, creative, polyglot, Renaissance couple you want to have at your next dinner party. Childhood friends who were once schoolmates in Wesseling, Germany, Feli & Pepita have built an impressive body of work in industries ranging from fashion, tv, costume design, and puppetry to photography and music, enriching their work substantially in children’s fashion. We are honoured to have recently published two editorials on the Junior Style London blog (The Waste Land and Deichkind) and are thrilled to interview Feli & Pepita for Chit Chat Tuesday!
JS: How long have you been in partnership and how did you first get into children’s styling?
P: We got to know each other from school. That was in the early 80’s. I always wanted to be an artist and I was into painting, photography and fashion design. After my studies I worked as studio-manager for German photographer Dieter Eikelpoth, In 1990 I became a freelance stylist for advertising and fashion. Right from the start, I worked a lot with kids. At that time I had the first exhibitions of my photography and artworks. When Achim Lippoth founded Kids Wear Magazine in 1995, I was the fashion-editor in chief and stylist for the magazine. Since that time I have been travelling the world as artist and stylist—with a head full of ideas and a suitcase full of clothes.
F: Oh yes, we are an old couple. 🙂 My first job in kids fashion was as a runway model at the age of 8 for the international children’s fashion show in Cologne. Although I was a bit shy, I loved it from the get-go. I was so impressed that I organized my own fashion show at school, with modified clothes I found in my grandparents’ house.
We both have always been creative workers. After school, I studied literature and social sciences. My goal was to become a writer and journalist. During my time at university, I worked as a puppeteer for the German version of the tv show Spitting Image. But then my band had some success and I concentrated on making music. At the same time, I always worked for photographers, doing castings, location scouting or assisting on set. So I got familiar with the photo business. I bought myself a camera and experimented a lot. Then I had the opportunity to work as a copywriter for a big advertising agency. I worked on concepts, wrote copy, invented product names, created storyboards, and produced radio spots. It was fun and I followed this for a few years. After some time I had enough of sitting in an office and through Pepita I came to fashion and set styling and then back to photography.
JS: You’ve both travelled quite extensively for your work. What were the most memorable on-location shoots?
P: We love to shoot outside and for us, there are so many great locations in the world. So if you ask for the top 3, it’s hard to choose, but here goes: The beauty of the Sahara desert in Morocco and the stunning cities Fès and Marrakech are an unforgettable memory. Capetown in South Africa and its beaches are perfect for shootings, especially in the European wintertime. The fantastic landscapes of Iceland, the volcanoes, lakes, the sea, the mountains and the heath full of trolls are as quirky as the city of Reykjavik.
F: I would like to add Zermatt in Switzerland. We had a helicopter flight around the snowy Matterhorn. That was insane!
JS: So what are your hobbies when not working?
F: I love music and besides working as a photographer and artist I am a DJ at clubs and at events, and I host a party series. I produce my own music and create soundtracks for advertising and fashion shows. We also love to cook and dance with friends, go out hiking and swimming. At least twice a year we travel to Greece, to find recreation by the sea. And usually, we bring some samples there and shoot several fashion stories under the Greek sun. So we can´t really separate our work clearly from our private life.
P: Yes, our head is always working and we are looking for new inspirations by travelling. We are constantly hunting for new images, for example for our project ‘Haymarket Check’ which we’ve been running for 10 years now. We also create art objects like our work ‘Allerleirauh’. In search of new materials, we visit flea markets and extraordinary shops.
JS: What inspires you?
F: I find inspiration in so many things I see or hear. If it’s a book, a magazine, a movie or a record, everything triggers something. We visit a lot of exhibitions, museums, go to fashion shows, concerts and artistic events. But most exciting for me is to travel and to get in contact with new people and other cultures.
P: I get inspired by exploring a new city. Just running around and letting things happen, being open for new impressions is perfect for me. I can’t stay still because I don’t want to miss something exciting, whether it’s in art, fashion, literature, music or architecture. Going out to a party is also quite inspiring for me.
F: Yeah, for me too!
JS: Quotes to live by: what are your favourites?
P: ‘All you need is love!’ John Lennon
F: ‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!’, Paul Mc Cartney
JS: Which photographers/stylists do you most admire?
F: I think at first I got inspired by a photographer who came from my hometown Cologne and who worked in the early 20th century. His name is August Sander. But there are numerous more contemporary international photographers like Walker Evans, Jürgen Teller or Gordon Parks which impress me. I would also have to mention the African photographer Seydou Keïta and the American illustrator Norman Rockwell.
P: My favourite photographers are Tim Walker, Diane Arbus, Elaine Constantine, Helen Levitt and the photographer/stylist Venetia Scott, to name a few.
JS: Can you share a humorous story with us involving on set? An accident averted situation or just anything that stands out in your memory as especially vivid?
F: What happens on set stays on set! Just joking. I remember when we were on a fashion shoot in South Africa. It was early on a sunny morning when we had to shoot a scene on a river. The model was posing close to the riverside and everybody was busy and concentrating on the perfect image. Suddenly the make-up artist screamed and pointed to the water. Not ten meters away a hippo lifted his head out of the water. The producer reacted immediately. He jumped down to the model, grabbed her by the arm and pulled her up the slope, where the rest of us were standing. The very next moment a huge hippo came running out of the water. With incredible speed, the hippo moved towards the slope and missed the model only by a few inches. That was so close! The whole team got tumbled together, only the camera and laptop were saved by the assistant. The hippo walked back into the water and was never seen again. After digesting the shock, the rest of the day we made fun of the model, for she is so pretty, that even hippos fall in love with her.
JS: What is on your playlist on repeat these days?
P: In 2017 we visited a lot of exhibitions like the Venice Biennale, documenta in Athens and Kassel, and museums in different countries. There are so many fabulous and talented artists at the moment, we can only name a few off the top our head:
Fiona Hall, from Australia; Gregor Drivas from Greece; El Anatsui from Ghana; Louise Bourgeois from France/USA; Anne Imhof from Germany; Lucy McKenzie from the UK; and Elmgreen & Dragset from Denmark.
The Highlights in video art were for me the videos “Love Story“ by Candice Breitz and ‘Washingtonia’ by Konstantina Katzamani.
F: I’m a music addict, and my playlists range from current charts back to soul and disco, hip hop, drum and bass, and all kinds of electronic and world music. My top three songs right now are: Errorsmith’s Lightspeed; Fred Buscaglione’s Che Bambola and HNNY’s Most Really Pretty Girls Have Pretty Ugly Feet.
Images 2, 3, 4 and 7 are editorial work by Feli and Peita and images 5 & 6 are from their project Allerleirauh.
Photography courtesy of Feli & Pepita – All Rights Reserved.
All posts copyright Junior Style Sales Ltd.
Please do not reproduce without permission.