· By Rachel Clinesmith
INTERVIEW with Fallka by DEMONA LAUREN
During a small, enchanting, dark world tour on Halloween, I had the pleasure of meeting Fallka and her husband, Amadeusz. We had a foggy conversation about Halloween and its magic in Poland. This encounter with the most vampiric Addams family in the country had suddenly given me the urge to return to the castles of Warsaw to discuss again with the Vampyre behind the ‘Woman in Corset’ brand and the timeless photographs that had never ceased to haunt me from then on.
† Witam Fallka! You and I met awhile ago. I remember it was for Halloween, but time flies and December goes hand in hand with Christmas. Time is more flexible than one thinks. Even though the weather does not literally change, it is more our perception of time that does change. Considering everything that has happened this year, how do you perceive time as a concept now? How has it changed for you over the years?
My perception of time has not changed over the years. It always flys so quickly for me. Ever since I was a kid, I thought everything is just happening too fast. That's why I try to sqeeze every moment as much as I can, and keep creating. This is why I love vampires so much – they're immortal.
† Hell is paved with good intentions as they say. Is there one aspect that quarantine has benefited you and your art?
The pandemic made people spend more time online. It made it easier for me to reach new audiences with my Instagram (@womanincorset) and Youtube (Youtube.com/c/Womanincorset). I also had more time to think about my further professional life, for example developing my sewing brand, (Woman In Corset Design).
† Are you more of the type to go out often or to live deep in a forest? Has social distancing had such an effect on the Vampyre that you are ?
On a daily basis I spend a lot of time in my cave, as I work from home. Before the pandemic I made more short trips both related to work and just for fun. I also partied and attended gothic events way more. During the pandemic, my everyday life hasn't changed, but I missed the more intensive weekends a lot. Luckily, in Poland, club life is getting back to normal.
† Does it have anything to do with where you were born or where you grew up ?
I live in Warsaw, (the capital of Poland,) and I still live in the flat in which I grew up. Only now it looks way more like a gothic crypt. Living in a big city allows me to feel safe when I roam the streets as a vampire.
† Well, let’s go back in time... When did you really know you were someone different? Someone alternative and unique?
I always felt a little different from my peers, even as a small kid. I never felt the need to blend in and be like others. I felt attracted to some general 'inner darkness' which later turned into a fascination with dark music and aesthetic, represented mostly by the goth subculture. I started watching horror movies a little earlier than I probably should have and I always loved the books with vampire characters the most. On the other hand, I think everyone is unique and that's the beautiful thing about the world.
† Was this a process that you experienced well from the start?
I always felt there was something dark deep inside of me. I learned to accept it and turn it into something creative. When I was seven my older sister, (then a high school student,) listened to gothic metal music and wore long velvet skirts. In my early teens, I reached for the music tapes that were left after her 'dark phase' was over. It took me another couple of years to find my asethetic and place, at first among the metalheads, but it was the gothic subculture that eventually felt like home.
† What were your first motivations when you got into Vampire fantasy clothing and photography for the first time ?
In high school I watched all the vampire movies and series I could lay my hands on. My favourite were Interview with the Vampire and F.F. Coppola's Dracula. The XIX century costumes in those movies were very inspiring for me, as I've been interested in the history of fashion for many years. It took me a while to figure out a way to combine historic clothing with my love for darker aesthetics. Creating vampiric photos allows me to do that – put together my fascination with horror and darknes along with historically inspired fashion.
† Have you ever had the opportunity to parade during alternative fashion shows? I have heard that there are a few in Poland. Long before quarantine and the current situation, I admit...
Yes, I've walked in many of those alternative fashion shows, and presented my own collections a number of times as well. What's interesting is I got to know those people because I was doing makeup at one of the first shows that took place. The shows helped me meet most of the alternative community in Poland, so I really liked them.
† Your husband, Amadeusz, takes your photos. How long have you been working together? Was he already your personal photographer from the start of your relationship ?
It's a funny story because we actually met on a photoshoot. A few years ago there were many active groups organizing big TFP photoshoots in Poland. Amadeusz was one of the co-organizers of one of such groups in Warsaw. The first photoshoot I went to was inspired by the Cats musical, so I went there dressed as a cat. That's how we met. It was over nine years ago. Our photographic cooperation was developing along with our relationship ever since.
† What do you like most about the photographic experience ?
What I love about doing photoshoots is the ability to become a toally different, often quite dark or scary character, a bit like in a LARP. I love every stage of a photoshoot, from the concept and preparations, (which often means making the entire costume from scratch,) all the way to doing the makeup, posing, and getting the final photos. This gives me a lot of satisfaction.
† Who is generally in charge of your makeup for your photoshoots ?
Most of the time I do the makeup myself. I do know many talented makeup artists, and we do things together from time to time as well.
† Poland is full of places not only conducive but also sublime for the aesthetic expression of Vampyre culture. What are your favorite places to shoot, especially in Warsaw ?
Actually, there aren't all that many good shooting spots in Warsaw, (that would be easily accessible). Most of the really cool ones are palaces or museums that usually require fees and/or doing some paperwork. Also, they aren't all that fond of dark, vampiric pictures anyway. Over the years we've, (me and the photographers I work with,) found ourselves going further and further away from the city itself. Every trip is also a good opportunity for location scouting. I try to keep a secret database of locations I’ve discovered on different occasions.
† Have you ever had the chance to shoot elsewhere? Abroad, for example ?
Yes, of course. During abroad trips with my husband we try to find spots that would be good for photoshoots and reserve some extra time for shooting. We did photoshoots like that in Brussels, Prague, Keukenhof in the Netherlands and Rock City in northern Czech Republic. I even had a photoshoot in Japan. (with a local photographer), when I worked there for 3 months in 2016.
† I heard that you are also passionate about the cello. Do you consider yourself to be a virtuoso of the instrument or is it purely and simply a hobby only?
I'm a professional musician, so I guess you can call me a virtuoso. I started playing when I was 5 and haven't stopped ever since, even though I now work in a different field.
† I guess you would have appreciated going to the conservatory...
I actually do have a Master of Arts degree from a conservatory.
† What studies did you do, by the way ?
I just answered that.
† Can we hope for a complete vampiric photo set dedicated to the aesthetics of classical music one day ? I must admit that this is one of the most aesthetically sumptuous concepts.
I did a couple of photoshoots with the cello, but not a vampiric one. So... thanks for the idea, I'll probably do it.
† Do you have cellists or other classical artists who particularly inspire you ?
From a classical standpoint, I really admire the XX-century virtuosos like Mstislav Rostropovich or Jacqueline du Pré. As for more alternative inspirations, I always admired the cellists from Apocalyptica.
† I could not close our warm conversation without asking how The Addams Family from Warsaw will celebrate Christmas this year ..
I actually considered not celebrating Christmas at all this year. Maybe a black christmas tree, a warm blanket, warm coffee, warm cats, my husband and a good vampire TV series.
© Demona Lauren
© Demona Laurenen