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.”
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)