A name, a brand

Interview with ​Willy Bogner

When it comes to talents, Willy Bogner has quite a few: In the 1960s he was one of Germany’s best ski racers. As autodidactic film maker he impressed even the producers of James Bond.

And as a designer and owner of the clothing company Willy Bogner, he makes sure skiers can wedel in style. We interviewed the versatile Jack of all trades.

L.L.

When did you last hit one of the pistes around the Arlberg?

W.B.

That was in 2007 – unfortunately that was quite a while ago!

L.L.

And how many guests did you see who were wearing Bogner?

Willy Bogner
Willy Bogner

W.B.

I would guess around 57… I didn’t actually check though.

L.L.

Your company is heading towards an anniversary –  80 years of Bogner. How is this event going to be celebrated?

W.B.

Well, duly of course: We developed a Bogner Heritage Collection that mirrors the eight decades of the company history, for example.

For this collection our designers let themselves be inspired by images from our archives and then the styles were newly interpreted. In October we will also publish the anniversary-book “Bogner Moments” which narrates our history impressively with great pictures and interesting stories.

Our family as well as friends of ours, including numerous renowned personalities from the German and international sports and film world, signed the running surfaces of our bamboo skis with good wishes and designed them individually – which makes every ski of this limited edition extraordinary and unique.

L.L.

Your family used to own an apartment here. What memories do you have of the Arlberg?

W.B.

Difficult pistes, excellent skiers, great spirit.

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L.L.

Fire and Ice, James Bond – explain to me how one takes the leap from the piste onto the screen.

W.B.

Well my love for the camera developed as a consequence of my father’s passion for hunting. I used to accompany him when he went stalking and then I photographed deer. Then my father bought a 16-mm-camera which I soon “acquired” for myself. And later, during my father’s hunting trips I was hired as a “reporter”.

That was so much fun it was only natural for me to start making films about my great passion – skiing. The first “professional” step was taken in 1960 when Harry Valerien, a famous TV host asked me, if I, as part of the Olympic team wanted to make a report on the Olympic village were reporters were not allowed. When I edited the material, when I cut it and added the music I really learned a lot.

It was a process of learning by doing, as you say. I never went to a film academy, you know. The next step followed in 1964. In “Ski Faszination” I developed a new technique: using the 35mm camera to film at high speed. One of the James Bond producers happened to see one of these scenes and so I ended up shooting skiing-sequences for four James Bond movies, the first one was “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1968.

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L.L.

Is there a new film project or an idea which you’d like to realize at some point?

W.B.

Yes, there actually is another anniversary pending next year – my career in film will have been going on for 50 years. So I’m going to revive these 50 years together with numerous renowned winter sports stars and breathtaking ski-action-scenes in a 3D movie.

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L.L.

Your trend tip: What to wear on the piste this winter?

W.B.

A capital B on your zip.

L.L.

And what should one rather leave in the ski room?

W.B.

Well, generally anyone should wear what they like – and that’s especially valid if it’s their father’s 20 year old Bogner overall!

L.L.

How often do you ski these days?

W.B.

As often as possible – whenever great snow, great weather and good friends meet.

L.L.

Snow shirts, jet pants and neon-coloured sun blocker. Is that something we need to be afraid of?

W.B.

Oh it’s always great to be able to gossip about someone or something!