H Y D R A is small, simple and possesses many heads. It undergoes morphallaxis when injured or severed and it appears not to age or die.
Since 2015 few brands explore concepts like craft, transmutation and evolution quite like H Y D R A. Working within the universe of latex, designer Anna Gloria Flores creates incredibly elegant pieces that exist in a unique realm of the post-digital future. The made to order items are accompanied by a forward thinking, eco-conscious philosophy and always blur the boundaries between fashion, art and performance.
The striking new campaign highlights the magic of the project and we were lucky enough to speak with the designer about the images, the brand and her great pop-up/Instashop launch at Paris Fashion Week. Read more below.
The Brvtalist: This whole campaign is mesmerizing. The images are really powerful and have so many great elements layered in. What was some of the inspiration behind it? I would also love to hear about the draperies and accessories used.
H Y D R A: These images are the result of an immersive 5 day experiment of mutual engagement between HYDRA and Berlin based artist duo CROSSLUCID.
It was July 2015 in Milan when my friend and visionary stylist Tomas Toth, first introduced me to Sylwana Zybura. They were just starting to collaborate back then. I was at the first stages of HYDRA project and Sylv was working on her still life compositions book “first dates” (back drop images from the HYDRA Campaign are extracts from this book). The three of us instantly clicked and started planning our collaboration.
Exactly 2 years later I packed all my sartorial latex prototypes and moved into Tomas and Sylvana’s place/creative shell in Berlin for what we called an immersive conjoint residency. It was beautiful and so much fun indeed to finally work together and let our visions incapsulate one another in some sort of osmotic dance. The level of trust between us was so high that it made us melt completely into each-other's practice and personal space. This level of honesty made us produce what in the end is the visual representation of our creative bond.
Luke Smith and Taylor Rose, the subjects of the portraits, have contributed significantly to the overall power of the campaign that to me feels very vibrant and alive thanks to their incredible presence.
Finally, the HYDRA surgical rope shibari work featured in the images was made by incredible artist Coco Katsura who, when I explained my idea of using latex tubes to create a non-constrictive, umbilical cord like bondage element, very graciously accepted to join us on set to contribute. At today, All HYDRA surgical rope bondage accessories I make are based on what I have learned from her.
TB: I love the ethos behind the H Y D R A project. Its anti-consumerist and handmade approach but you also have a pro-damage policy with repairs. Does the H Y D R A wearer put these pieces on every day? It's almost like it's part of your own skin. Talk more about those values.
H: The HYDRA uniform exists as an object on its own, as a metaphor representing the values of sustainability, craft and longevity in the post digital future, against human chaos and social fragmentation. I use fashion as a medium, as part of a performance and visual art practice.
When it comes to my made to measure pieces, I love the confusion about HYDRA being an art practice and as well a fashion label: I guess there is a different, less conceptual and more instinctive level of personal engagement when there is a product to be consumed. I feed on the idea of knowing I will spend days manufacturing an object that someone has learned to desire. It s all about intimacy, experiencing a connection in the end.
TB: Your pieces are very elegant and have a certain softness about them. This is a stark contrast to a lot of latex out there which is so clinical and restricting. What brought you to latex and your unique vision of it?
H: Society teaches us that we need to observe a certain set of rules and achieve specific goals in order to be happy and accomplished. We, as humans, are often paralyzed under an insane amount of pressure that we create for ourselves and we end up getting stuck in fear, frustration, and anger.
Latex translucency and liquid softness visually recreate the idea of the embryonic stage of organic matter in which everything is pure, untouched and still evolving. The stage in which anything is possible. I choose to leave in this reality, in between sensory stimulation and deprivation, desire and abstraction, love and detachment
TB: Tell us about the H+ shop and your amazing room during PFW.
H: H+ is the new HYDRA online shopping platform: Although HYDRA garments are available exclusively on made to order bases, some basics and special edition prototypes will be now ready to be purchased on H+ trough @hydra_instashop instagram account.
H+ by HYDRA is also an itinerant installation, performance piece and pop-up shop, currently taking place in a Paris hotel room from 1st to 6th march. Daily updates and documentation on HYDRA main Instagram account.
TB: What does H Y D R A seek to accomplish?
H: HYDRA seeks intelligent, biotechnologically advanced materials that can measure, adapt and regulate to our needs. In anticipation of this utopia, I use natural latex rubber - its nearest resemblance - to create prototypes that emulate the aesthetic, feel, form and construction of the H Y D R A uniform.
Thank you to Anna Gloria Flores for these insightful answers and stunning images. For more visit: www.hydrasite.com
More about H Y D R A:
Latex is100%biodegradable, adaptable, waterproof, and vegetarian.
All HYDRA latex pieces are chlorinated before leaving the lab:
Exposing latex rubber to chlorine gas in aqueous causes the chlorine to attach to sites on the rubber molecules, which has the effect of reducing the friction at the surface of the rubber. The idea of chlorination is to permanently fill the surface irregularities with ions of chlorine, as these will chemically bond to the rubber molecules, filling the dips and resulting in a much smoother surface.
In practical terms, rubber garments which have been properly chlorinated are much smoother and can usually be worn without the need for talc or other lubricants.