Artsy synth-princess Sweden’s best-dressed woman

Sweden's newly crowned best-dressed woman, BWO keyboard player Marina Schiptjenko, has a wardrobe that stretches from punk to princess, writes David Bartal.

Marina Schiptjenko, keyboard player in the electronic pop band BWO and co-owner of a distinguished Stockholm art gallery, was named Sweden’s Best-Dressed Woman 2007 at the annual Elle Gala on Friday night.

In a sense, Schiptjenko should have won two awards. As synth-player in Bodies Without Organs, Marina can dress herself in a flamboyant manner as sexy vamp or an Elizabethan princess. In her other incarnation, as co-owner of the highly-regarded Andrehn-Schiptjenko gallery, Marina has a sophisticated look, with a punk, artsy edge.

“She mixes the gallery look with a more theatrical style,” the magazine’s awards jury said in their prize motivation. A few of Schiptjenko’s favorite designers are British fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and Amsterdam-based Viktor and Rolf.

“I’m not really a girly type. I found my musical identity in the 1980s during the punk movement. I’ve been playing with synth bands since I was 15 years old,” Schiptjenko told The Local. “I think it’s very important to express oneself though clothes. I try to have a personal style, not to be mainstream.”

Schiptjenko, whose surname comes to her via her Russian father, says she isn’t a collector-type who hordes high-heels or other garments: “I’m not really attached to clothes in that way.”

Bodies Without Organs, now known as BWO, was founded by Alexander Bard, a colorful personality prone to committing fashion crimes like shorts-and-braces. The original members of the band included nightclub artist La Camilla and hairdresser Jean-Pierre Barda. The current trio is completed by singer Martin Rolinski, a former tennis player especially appreciated by female fans.

A new single by BWO, “Sunshine in the Rain,” is currently climbing the charts in the UK. The group will competing to be Sweden’s entry in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest with a tune called “Lay Your Love on Me.”