Is the climate emergency a good reason to be a bad bunny?
Only for Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, who attended the 2020 Latin Grammy Awards in a craft-intensive Swarovski-laden outfit by Mexican label Liberal Youth Ministry, which took part in the opening weekend of the three-month “Brûlures” exhibition cycle offered by 3537, the Dover Street Market Paris-operated cultural and creative center.
But for good bunnies who are keeping up with today’s burning conversations around the climate, this initial outing provided food for thought and less of an appetite for consumption.
“Convinced that artists are a part of the essential first line of our collective reaction to the climate emergency, 3537 is opening its doors to artists and thinkers bearing an ecological message, from the protection of biodiversity to documenting climate-related migrations,” said a statement unveiling the exhibition program.
Indeed, as eye-catching as they were, Liberal Youth Ministry’s glittering designs weren’t what designer Antonio Zaragoza wanted visitors to take away from his label. “The idea is to show how we produce locally and show [visitors] how easily they can intervene [on clothing] like secondhand finds,” said Zaragoza, who had flown in with his wife and creative partner Kenia Filippini, a fashion designer who formerly worked for Chanel-owned specialist embroidery atelier Montex.
Anyone finding the $6,000 price tag of Bad Bunny’s threads out of reach will have until Sept. 19 to learn how Zaragoza and Filippini create their embellishments, signature distressing and dyes using natural ingredients sourced in the Oaxaca region of Mexico through a series of workshops.
“You don’t [even] have to buy from us. It’s a new punk way of doing things,” Zaragoza said, showing off a pair of sneakers for fellow exhibitor and footwear designer Philéo Landowski, whose Phileo Paris shoe brand launched at Comme des Garçons’ Trading Museum concept shop last year. The kicks had turned pink from a combination of plants and a dash of lemon juice.
A selection of deadstock T-shirts and Lym spring 2021 samples was also on sale for 55 euros, for anyone coming without items to customize. Nearby, designer Marine Serre questioned upcycling and reuse in her corner, featuring screen prints by artist Juliet Merie.
The impact of what humans leave behind was also highlighted in “Land Full,” that French stylist and artist Pierre-Alexandre Fillaire and plant designer Claire Boreau imagined as gardens filled with a surplus of empty plastic bottles and dead animals — snail shells and bees killed by pesticides — dominated by mutated silhouettes made from deadstock clothing from London-based designer Renli Su.
“The idea was to do scarecrows, because in the countryside, they’re like a human presence in the landscape. But when you go anywhere, all you see is plastic,” Filiaire said, describing the progression as an anticipation that went from today’s plastic-choked nature to a landscape where nothing alive remained.
The “Future Shock” collaborative and educational project with Paris-based artist Imruh Asha presented sculptures crafted using discarded clothing originally meant to be exported to Ghana, a major used-textiles hub. They were meant as a commentary on how the secondhand economy is burying the country under piles of untreatable clothing.
Further on, Marseille-based digital e-tailer DeToujours exhibited a selection of clothing and accessories. Meant as a “living museum of clothing history,” it focused on traditional know-how and a focus on utility and was previously exhibited at the Mucem museum in the Southern French metropolis. Flowing into the theme was Comme des Garçons’ “Marseille” scent, which made its debut at 3537.
The guest of honor of the inaugural “weekend for the climate” was French artist and researcher Mélanie Pavy, with the Refuge-Omega exhibition on the ground floor. Inspired by her discovery of a project for a town in Southern India meant to become a refuge for Japan’s elite in case of a nuclear catastrophe on the scale of the Fukushima disaster of 2011, she brought together testimonies from survivors, and anticipation of what this exodus could look like to question what these disasters mean.
“This creation strikes by the strength of the emotions it generates. [All visitors] will come out shaken, ready to listen and exchange with [Pavy and anthropologist] Sophie Houdart,” said Adrian Joffe, chief executive officer of Comme des Garçons International Paris and DSM International London, in the exhibition notes of Refuge-Omega.
The “Brûlures” program is slated to continue until December, with an installation from French artist Laurent Grasso titled “Artificialis,” on the majesty and destructive potential of nature; a work by Irish sculptor John Gerrard and billed as “a python woman evolving to melodies by Richie Hawtin,” as an invitation to reflect on the challenges of climate change on the preservation of biodiversity, and an exhibition by Olafur Eliasson, who will present a project around his “Little Sun” project and the sun-powered portable lamps of the same name.
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