Inside the mind of Corinne Loperfido

A woman of many talents, Corinne Loperfido, Also known as Coco Kallisti, makes extravagant jewelry and head pieces, wears exotic clothing as much as possible, constructs art installations and still has time to teach bounce dance class with a group or individually.

What are some of your inspirations for your work? Are they people, ideas, places?
I am inspired by the things I see in a textural and colorful way. I see a fabric, an applique, a shape, and I think of all the things I could make it into by combining it with all the other things I already have. I basically live inside my own personally curated craft store that I have been stocking for the past 10 years, and I usually never buy things for a specific project - I am just constantly traveling and collecting and moving beautiful objects into different piles. I have jars of jewels, bags of beads, and stack upon stacks of meticulously organized treasures all over my studio and I pull from what I see. If something gets buried I might forget about it, so there are materials arranged floor to ceiling so I can see what I have to work with.

Is there any shock value you want to instill in people who happen to cross over your work?

I am not so much trying to "shock" people with what I make, but more so make them confused or maybe a little uncomfortable - not in the sense of trying to fuck with people, but because I want people to think outside what they normally interact with. A lot of people use sex or chaos or different obvious tactics of grabbing your attention, but I like to hang back and just exist as neutrally as anyone else, except that I might have on a really skimpy outfit a big handlebar mustache. Most people don't know what to make of it, because on one hand they are attracted to me or my femininity, and simultaneously put off or confused by the masculine elements of my costumes. I have been on stage before in several different fashions (as a bounce dancer, as a drag performer, and most recently at the DIY queer strip club party I used to throw in New Orleans called Big Dick's House of Big Boobs) and what I have come to realize is that I actually don't like being on stage. I don't like to be the center of attention, I don't WANT to scream "look at me look at me" but unfortunately that tends to happen even when I am just trying to be me, not trying to "shock" anyone. I have always felt like a gay man trapped in a woman's body, so I think putting on costumes and mustaches helps me feel more like myself - someone who falls somewhere in between already blurred gender lines.

If you could pick one thing to wear for a week straight what would it be and why?

Head to toe black and white patterns on top of patterns. I made a costume like this last year for a parade called Glitches during Mardi Gras and was so into it that I have since incorporated it into my daily wardrobe. I personally don't think that there are any "rules" about what matches, or about putting "too much" of something into an outfit - a lot of times I think "more is more"!

Do you think gender has an effect on clothing and over all appearance?
On the day to day, I would say I pretty much look like a woman, although I have never felt like much of a lady. Growing up, I always wished I had a twin brother to play with and be best friends with, and I even asked my parents one time if I had a twin that died at birth. A year ago I was talking to a trans person about this feeling and they told me"that twin brother is a part of you, he is inside of you!" and that they had felt that way as a child, too. I don't think I actually want to BE a "man" -  I was born into a female body and I accept that. I haven't shaved my legs or armpits since I was 18 years old, I frequently paint a giant handlebar mustache on my face whenever there is a "dress up" type of event, I only own 1 or 2 dresses and am terrified of high heels. I find gender and sexual preference to be irrelevant to my physical appearance. I am a heterosexual woman who lusts after boys with mustaches and red lipstick who wear insane high heels...Style is style - if it looks good, fuck who is was made for.

From your past work I see you tool with facial hair and beards, do you love beards and desire to have one?
As an lady of Italian decent, having a mustache has always been a part of my life. I remember being in middle / high school and wanting to be a "normal attractive girl" and bleaching my faint little prepubescent mustache and getting my armpits electrolyzed (for free by my aunt) and now I just think - bodies have hair, some more than others, who cares. If I didn't hate the feeling of beards so much I would love to have one, but DAMN those things are itchy! I like to look at them next to a bright red shade of lipstick, not to have a real one (or kiss on one either haha).

You seem to involve your self in multiple things not just clothing design, or drawing, Do you enjoy being skilled in varies mediums?
I studied graphic design in college and have done that for a living for the past 6 years, but I am kinda over sitting at the computer unless I am scouring tumblr or craigslist. My college options out of high school were either studying horror theater make-up, interior design, costume design, textile design, or graphic design, and I chose the one I thought would make the most money. Now that I realize that money is useless if you are not occupying your brain with your true passion, and I feel really excited to move forward with all the other ideas I had, and design myself some sick business cards as I transition

Also I hear you dance, do you like keeping that separate from your drawings or installations or clothing. Or do you ever mix everything together in a vibrant breathing mirror of your mind? 
I would like to be a creative consultant and stylist more than anything else. I feel like I have a lot of skills in a lot of different areas, and I would love to work with bands, dance troupes, or in the theater / film industry creating strong visuals (both curating / styling as well as physically making) and also conceptualizing and critiquing the overall experience of whatever the project is. Like I said, I don't much like to be the center of attention, but I love to see my creative ideas become fully realized...with someone else being the center of attention!

Do you follow anything fashion related, or art related blogs/ websites on the Internet? 
Only stylelikeu.com. After 4 years of school and 6 years on the job as a graphic designer, I am so over the computer screen. I don't read blogs or fashion magazines.... I LOVE tumblr and national geographic magazine, but I would rather be freaking out in the garment district about all the things I want to make rather than looking at what is "in style."

What’s one song that describes you right now or you in general? 

Leslie Gore - You don't own me

If there was one fashion icon you could go on a stroll with who would it be?
Myself when I'm 85 ;)

What’s your favorite place to hang out?
In my studio with my boyfriend, haha. He is also an {amazing} visual artist and musician (www.sorne.com), and we both help each other / give constant feedback on what we are each doing. I don't drink, I don't eat processed food, I don't like to go to bars or hang out on coffee shops much - so I kind of hide away when I am in the city. I try to get out and take trips to beautiful places as much as possible, but I am home working most of the time because that is what I like to do the most!

Where’s your favorite place to shop, and if you don’t shop, your favorite thing to sew?

I don't really go "shopping" that much but all my clothes are either from half price day at the thrift store or from Buffalo Exchange. I don't like to buy anything new (besides art supplies that you can't get used) but I am always finding weird things in weird places. I'm always looking for cheap deals, unless I meet an artist / designer who's work I like, then I want to pay them good money for what they make.

Are there any movies you base your clothing or life off of?
My favorite movie as a teen was The Cell and I think that deeply influenced my fascination with costumes because of Eiko Ishioka's ornate and elaborate designs. I don't base my life on any specific thing that anyone else created because I believe that we each have the opportunity to create our own unique reality.

If you could tell readers anything what would it be? anything you want!
It never hurts to try. You probably won't be good at something the first time you try, but you will learn a lot about what you set out to learn, and also a lot about yourself, if you just don't give up. Every good thing takes time and practice, so don't be so hard on yourself when you are new at something - be proud that you are even strong enough to do something challenging and for sticking with it. Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.

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