Text by Katherine Ellis.
Photos by Maximilian Engel.
Walking into Danniel Oickle’s closet, which used to be a spare bedroom in his townhouse in downtown Ottawa, feels like entering retail heaven. Prada and Versace mixed with Zara and Club Monaco, an eclectic mix of accessories (including a scorpion belt buckle that was picked up at a flea market outside of Montreal), Louis Vuitton bags and an impressive array of shoes – not to mention the pair with pink flower details he wore at home that day – were all neatly stored in a closet that would make Carrie Bradshaw swoon.
Though the room is almost near the point of overflowing, Oickle says he manages the decade-old collection of designer wear by getting rid of one piece after buying a new one. “Pretty soon, there will be nothing left to get rid of,” he adds.
A multidisciplinary artist, he has dabbled in many artistic endeavours, including sketching, sculpture, piano, singing, violin, painting and photography. He also has written his first poetry book Dancing in Silence, and recently released his first album, Poison Apples and Other Delicacies.
Oickle says his fashion choices are influenced by his work in the arts industry, and offers him more freedom to wear edgier pieces. His favourite go-to outfit when attending an event, such as an art opening, is a pair of ruddy brown Versace pants with zippers and large pockets, paired with a Jean Paul Gauthier black knit sweater that resembles armour. Topped off with patent leather shoes, Oickle says his pants (and the outfit) always get attention.
Still, being classically trained and with a fashion icon like Audrey Hepburn, Oickle does admit that he is drawn more towards classic lines/silhouette, and a dulled down palette paired with a punch of colour. When performing, however, his clothes are designed and styled with more grandiosity than the simple jeans and T-shirt he wears to the grocery store.
Oickle credits his mother as being the one who taught him how to shop, put pieces together and spot items that outlast trends. He does say, however, that in today’s fashion world, the amalgamation of influences can make it difficult to follow a trend, but also offers freedom of choice.
“Nowadays, we don’t have a sense of style as a culture. It’s very much … bringing back aspects of the 70s, aspects of the 80s, aspects of the 50s […] In the past there have been trends […] but it is not quite as distinct. The 80s were the 80s; we know what the 80s looked like.”
Oickle does most, if not all, of his shopping in Europe when visiting his parents in Belgium for Christmas. There, he says, due to the good prices, he can stock up on all the designer labels that he enjoys.
His favourite designers include Alexander McQueen, Prada and Jean Paul Gauthier. “I do very much enjoy Gauthier,” says Oickle.
“[Gauthier] gives men freedom to […] go from the masculine to the feminine […] [He] keeps it masculine enough that you aren’t in drag, but brings you close enough to the feminine so that you can enjoy all of the flaunting that women get to do.”
He also likes Louis Vuitton luggage, due to its Audrey Hepburn appeal and styling.
Oickle has spent years behind the lens shooting editorial fashion spreads, portraiture (actors and models) and concept art. In fact, he is currently working on two projects, including The Devil in the Details, a collection of varied close-ups and landscapes. Still, studying fashion photography was always something in the forefront. As a teenager in Nova Scotia, he and his brother used to buy Vogue, examine the pictures and study their structure, and then mimic what they saw in the magazine. He says he was particularly drawn to edgier models, such as Kristen McMenamy and Shalom Harlow.
With many projects on the go, including a few concept photography collections, hosting a radio show once a week, and painting or practicing his original songs on the piano in his basement studio, Oickle does not appear as if he is about to slow down.
Fashion does play an important part in his life both professionally – with a style that is edgy and sharp, but with classic lines – and personally – with pieces that are simple and relaxed.
“Fashion is like playing dress-up – you get to be someone. So choose your character and be it.”
Danniel gets creative
Photos courtesy of Danniel Oickle.
To find out more about Danniel Oickle, visit www.dannieloickle.com