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Tags:   Music,   Fashion,   Clothes,   Classical,   Style

By Mila Camilleri   -  October 13, 2014

Ian Peter Bugeja malta,  Ian Peter in casual attire outside the Wallace Collection. 

  Photography by   Rui Jorge Photography  .  

 Editing by  Stephanie Galea .  

 Shoot concept design by Ian Peter Bugeja. 
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Ian Peter Bugeja

SWAG met Ian Peter Bugeja, a London-based conductor and harpsichordist / fortepianist currently in his second year of doctoral studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He is Malta’s sole historical performance specialist and the founder and executive director of touring period instrument ensemble Les Bougies Baroques.


It was in his teenage years that Ian Peter “developed a passion for fashion”, but prior to that he was “always conscious” of what he was wearing. “As a child, I insisted on picking what to wear, to my parents’ surprise!” he said.


From the start, Ian Peter made it clear that his style is a reflection of who he is, and that it is an “intimately personal” thing.


“I honestly think that when style is described, it stops being stylish. With regard to my style, my feelings are always channelled into what I choose to wear. Of course I am always mindful of choosing something that is appropriate for whatever it is that I’m attending – be that an outing with friends or a concert for royalty.”


Ian Peter elaborated that personal style “is the apex of self-expression, particularly to those you are seen by everyday, who don’t necessarily talk to you. Sadly, we can’t talk to everyone we see, which means that if we want to somehow convey our personal feelings and style to them, we must exude personality through the style choices that we make. However, style to me is not exclusively expressed through the clothes one wears; I firmly believe that it also pertains to one’s demeanour and good carriage.”


We posed the question; did you consciously develop your style?


“My style is a manifestation of who I am. To a certain extent, I did not really choose to be who I am; I therefore consider my style to have developed organically rather than in a contrived way. I am of course quite conscious with regard to what I wear and how that serves my brand; however, the contrition is minimal rather than total fabrication,” he explained.


So does this mean that his style is mainstream or non-mainstream?


“I have no idea to be honest, although both definitions have negative connotations to me; this is because I believe that self-expression – which is the whole point – becomes irrelevant the minute you start labelling style as mainstream or non-mainstream. Style should be nothing but honest.”


SWAG also brought up the subject of current fashion trends for men.


On this, Ian Peter commented: “I follow men’s current fashion trends where both high fashion and prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear fashion – Ed) are concerned; however, I do so mainly for inspiration, because I prefer to do my own thing rather than blindly imitate.


“In fact, I tend to wear things when they are ‘out of fashion’, so to speak. That is - I consciously wear things before they become fashionable. This ensures that I am always fashion-forward, and that I exhibit the trend before everyone else starts to cotton on to the fact that it is about to become fashionable. I hate to wear what everyone else is wearing; to me, there is nothing more stifling to self-expression than looking like a clone.”


We asked him to pinpoint a moment that truly defined his style.


“I think that that the moment would have to be when I turned up at the 2014 Valletta International Baroque Festival ball dressed as the Sun King – Louis XIV. I designed my own costume; no detail was spared.”


Ian Peter elaborated on this point. “I feel that I have to explain myself a little: I am a historical performance specialist who specialises in seventeenth and eighteenth-century music on period instruments. When I put up operas from the aforementioned centuries with Les Bougies Baroques, I am not only the music director, but also the stage director and designer – designing costumes and sets pertaining to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries," he said.


"My appearance as the Sun King at the 2014 Valletta International Baroque Festival ball coincided with my baroque dance debut, as I am also involved in baroque dancing, and the next day I closed the Festival with Les Bougies Baroques. To me, the Sun King is the undisputed master of style and branding. It is therefore fitting that my defining style moment was both a homage to and a reinvention of Europe’s rising ‘Sun’.”


We were also curious about where Ian Peter does his shopping, and discovered that his taste fluctuates between designer, vintage and high-street brands.


“I mostly tend to shop in London – which is where I live, as well as Paris; Berlin and Vienna are great for shopping too. My taste varies from designer boutiques to vintage shops; occasionally even some high-street stores tickle my fancy. What I love about such variety is that you never know where you can find a treasure that compliments your personal style, which in turn helps affirm your self-expression.”


We rounded off our chat by asking if he has ever received any negative feedback because of his fashion choices.


“I have learned that you can never please everyone, and why would you want to anyway? If you aim to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one and disappointing yourself in the process. Most of the feedback I’ve had with regard to my style has been great so far; I’m sure that there has been negative feedback too, although this tends to happen more behind one’s back rather than to one’s face,” he mused.


“This doesn’t faze me at all, because negative feedback still means that I’m doing something right with regard to articulating my personal style to others.”

Watch Ian Peter in his element


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