The Fashion Folk S01 ep16 : Willy Bogner, Bogner Fashion, [Munich]
Interview with Willy Bogner
As a ski racer I was always quite furious when they would say 'well you are only a sportsman' and 'sportsmen don't think'. So I was fighting this labeling from the very beginning. Sport was a big way to learn because you learn how to loose. My most famous sports achievement or non-achievement was in the Olympic in Squaw Valley where I was leading by a second and I had to just basically come down and I fell, and it was a disaster. It is typical of sport, one moment you are champion and the next you are nothing and to be able to deal with that is a great lesson.
Willy Bogner is a communicator. You know an artist just like he is painting a
picture out of his emotions, we as a designer, we have a certain feeling of a sport
that we want to enjoy and give the right tools to this. As a filmmaker you want to
give people an experience of something that you feel, but it is basically expressing
emotions in different media.
Willy Bogner is also the name of my father, and he obviously was very much
involved in this because he started the company. He also started me with the
spirit of the love of sport. He was an Olympic skier in the Nordic event and I was
in the Olympics in the 60's in the Alpine. So there is a kind of similarity not only in
name, but also in career, and I was very fortunate to be able to build on that idea
to combine the passion for sports with style.
I was lucky to be able to prove myself in sports at a young age, and that I think
gave me the self-confidence that I could do my own thing. Then I chose the
career to enter my father’s business later. First of all I started a filmmaking
My mother she came from the north of Germany and she could not ski at all, and
my father being a sports champion wanted to take her skiing, and she didn't like
the clothes. At the time they were all men's clothes and she said I am not coming
around with this stuff and he said well why don't you create something yourself.
She started doing it, and we are still doing it.
Maybe I am here speaking but in 5 minutes I'll be up there designing, in 10
minutes I'll be thinking about a scene for a show. It is all part of the same process
and I am trying not to limit myself.
As a ski racer I was always quite furious when they would say 'well you are only a
sportsman' and 'sportsmen don't think'. So I was fighting this labelling from the
Sport was a big way to learn because you learn to lose.
KM – Why is it important to learn to lose?
My most famous sports achievement or non-achievement was in the Olympic in
Squaw Valley where I was leading up to the first run by a second. I mean way
ahead and I had to just basically come down the second and I fell, but it was a
disaster but it is typical sport, one moment you are champion and the next you
are nothing, and to be able to deal with that I think is a great lesson.
You think your ego or yourself is more important than the rest, and sport teaches
KM – That there is always someone faster or whatever..
Yes, because it is all objective, you know you get the result immediately. But it is
good to be focused for a certain time and then you know sport is limited, your
sports career is about 10 years out of your life and then afterwards when you
know how to be successful in one thing you can transfer it to somewhere else.
It is like in art, or dancing or film, you know you have a great career and are
famous at a very young age, because everybody looks at you and it is hard to
stay with your feet on the ground and be prepared for the time when nobody is
looking at you. And that requires also that during your life as a star you know that
you are human.
KM – What is it like doing those movies with Cubby Brocolli and Roger Moore?
Cubby he was great, I mean he was the best producer I ever met. You could
come to him with an idea as outlandish as it could be…
KM – And did you approach him or did he approach you?
Actually he approached me - he had seen some footage that I could do because I
was a ski racer and I did not go to film school and they didn't tell me you can't do
that so, so I tried it out.
KM – You mean at film school 101 they didn't have a course on how to ski with
So I tried that and it worked so that some new pictures out there and it gave you
the feeling of actually being on the skis yourself and Cubby saw that and he had
the scene for Your Majesty's Secret Service where Bond is chased by those
heavies on skis and he saw those scenes and said 'I need those guys'.
Can you imagine as an amateur film maker you know that has never been to film
school and you have the producer of the Bond movies and say "you want to work
KM – You think O.K., O.K. Klaus stop farting around.
Who is that, this was a big break for me. After that film we did some pretty crazy
things: we skied the bob run with cameras. It gave a new angle, and it was very
exciting footage and then in four James Bond films I was responsible for the ski
scenes and could not only do the camera work but also write and direct the
Last year we did an IMAX movie, the first movie I did with this huge screen and
which is perfect for my way of filmmaking, which is very visual, and we are
working outside in the mountains, and this was fantastic. Obviously on the sports
side it was tough because this camera weighs about 60 pounds, and we skied
And we did, both for me as an athlete, still you know I am not that young anymore
it was a challenge.
KM – Don't you worry about going up a cliff these days?
No, well you pick your spots but you know we ski down the Bob Run in St. Moritz
with the camera in-between the skiers and bike and stuff, but it is great to sit in
the movie and actually feel as if you are going down the bob run yourself.
Skiing has been one of the first active sports that influenced the street scene, just
think of the stretch pants that…. Or down parker, if you look at the street in any
town, New York or where ever you see sports wear that originally came from the
Alps. Sports is fashion now, fashion doesn't happen in the evening in the parties
anymore it happens on the street, and it comes from those kids in Harlem.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Willy Bogner, Bogner Fashion, Munich