By  on November 10, 2004

The meaning of clothing in contemporary culture is at the heart of “Dressing Ourselves,” an art exhibition curated by Italian architect and designer Alessandro Guerriero. Do clothes really represent our way of thinking and our lifestyle? Are they an expression of our true self? These are only a few of the questions Guerriero poses with the exhibition.

Guerriero asked 30 internationally acclaimed architects and artists to create “self-portraits” in the form of clothes displayed on life-size statues of the artists. The surprising results blend a variety of disciplines, including art, technology, industrial design, architecture and fashion, and are a testament to Guerriero’s strong belief in individualism and the uniqueness of the mind. The clothes and the statues will be displayed at Milan’s Triennale Museum starting Jan. 17.

The exhibition is sponsored and promoted by Yoox.com, the Bologna-based retailer of discount designer fashion that describes itself as an “e-concept” store — similar to Paris’ Colette, only online.

The exhibition will run through March 20, and will then move to other cities, including New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. Ten students at Nuova Accademia Belle Arti, Milan’s fine arts academy, are creating the clothes from the artists’ sketches, while artist Attilio Tonno is making the statues, working from photos of the participants. The statues are fashioned from polystyrene and finished with plastic reinforced with fiberglass.

The exhibition will be staged over a 6,480-square-foot space whose layout resembles that of a church. The statues, lit from above, will rotate. They will be installed in a string of apses overlooking a long corridor.

WWD met Guerriero, who founded Italy’s industrial and fashion design school, Domus Academy, and also collaborates with Yoox, at the latter’s offices in Milan for an exclusive interview. Despite his internationally acclaimed reputation, Guerriero is surprisingly approachable and understated, often interrupting his train of thought with a joke or a laugh. Ideas seem to race through his mind, and one of his most winning traits is that he questions everything and does not appear to believe in absolute truth or certainty.

WWD: How did the idea of clothes as a reflection of the artist come about, and what do you want to convey with this exhibition?

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