PARIS — Art isn’t just for walls anymore, thanks to Net-a-porter’s new bespoke collection.
For the Art Capsul project, Stacy Engman, chief curator of contemporary art at The National Arts Club in New York, picked five artists — Marina Abramovic, George Condo, Terence Koh, Vik Muniz and Mickalene Thomas — and gave them carte blanche to create made-to-order garments available through the online retailer’s personal-shopping service.
“It is the first time this has ever been done,” Engman told WWD, speaking at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo museum, where the pieces were displayed on Wednesday, during couture week. Order-taking started then, too.
“I’ve asked artists to conceive of garments that reference their artwork [and] that is entirely by them,” she continued. “There is no pairing with a fashion designer.”
None of the artists had created clothes before. Each submitted a detailed sketch of what they wanted to create.
“To me, it was really important to have different genres represented, because it was such an experiment,” said Engman. “But I think they all show how versatile they are.”
Muniz is best known for his photography and Condo as a painter. Multimedia artist Thomas’ piece sprang from Fifties ballgowns.
“I also wanted to incorporate some more contemporary elements into the dress and use some of my influences and inspirations from designers that I actually either wear or like, such as Comme des Garçons or Yohji Yamamoto — in that sense of layering and deconstruction,” Thomas explained, adding she used layers similar to how she creates her collages and paintings. “You can see all of the ways in which the painting was made. You can see the drawing aspect, you can see the pencil line revealed in some of it, and then the watercolor paint, the oil paint to the enamel to the rhinestones.”
Similarly, it was important for Thomas to expose the material in the dress, including crinoline and two types of duchesse satin. “One was hand-painted on, then flipped to the reverse, so you don’t necessarily see the brush strokes, but they’re revealed through the material,” she said.
The project has whetted Thomas’ appetite for more in fashion. “I definitely have some other ideas for shoe design and working in shoes or something like that,” she said. “It’s definitely something that I want to explore more.”
Condo’s piece includes staples made of 24-karat gold pulling together his parka-baby-doll dress.
“His reference for the staples is what’s used to stretch canvases,” Engman said, also noting that the head shape in gold foil at the back of the dress makes it looks like someone had been sitting on one of Condo’s paintings.
Abramovic fashioned “Energy Clothes,” involving seven jumpsuits in different colors for every day of the week. It’s a concept Abramovic has worked on for two decades. Each day is linked with a celestial body. Monday is dark blue (like the moon), while Tuesday is red (like Mars), for instance. And every outfit has seven small magnets held in pockets strategically placed to denote certain energy points on the body “to boost energy,” Engman noted.
Muniz made the multicolored “Peau d’Âne Gown,” including high-resolution digital print on duchesse satin, while Koh created a “Pearl Bomber Jacket,” which incorporates almost 20,000 hand-sewn faux pearls.
Engman sees all the works as performance pieces.
“Like Marina said, ‘Whomever wears these garments becomes an extension of my art performance practice, in a way,’” said Engman.
The clothes are priced in-line with the artists’ market rate in the art world, according to Holli Rogers, fashion director at Net-a-porter. She believes the time is ripe for such a project, due to the resurgent interest in couture and the burgeoning crossover between art and fashion.
“This project represents the future,” said Engman. “These are really fine art works created by visual artists, but that are pieces completely wearable.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)