With the help of animation, artificial intelligence and an olfactory artist, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” is bringing rarely seen pieces to life

Arriving at the show, visitors will first see a Brancusi bronze placed in dialogue with Worth's Sleeping Beauty. On display nearby is a contemporary garment that Worth's dress helped inspire, a piece by Alessandro Michele for Gucci. Visitors will advance through a space filled with botanicals on painted silk, a Chinese technique imitated by Europeans in the 18th century and brought up to date by Mary Katrantzou, whose garment is nearby. Next, a small room will be devoted to warp printing, a technique with a beautiful defocused effect on patterns and images, which echoes a lenticular hologram.

From there, says Bolton, one morning at the museum, running with increasing enthusiasm, the exhibition blossoms into its naturalistic themes. A room dedicated to touch presents a Miss Dior dress created by Raf Simons in 2013, with a tactile model. Next comes the Van Gogh room, centered on a Saint Laurent jacket inspired by the artist's iris painting, set in dialogue with the Rodarte dress inspired by Van Gogh's sunflowers, and the poppy room, centered on Isaac Mizrahi's bleeding poppy dress , inspired by the play. by Irving Penn. Poppies lead to daisies embroidered on an intricate 18th-century French court costume; daisies lead to Spitalfields silks, shown with a projection of the original botanical watercolors on which they were modeled; the Spitalfields leads to tulips, roses and what Bolton calls a “garden room”.

And on she goes, through Chinese silk dresses as yellow as the sun; a surprisingly wide selection of beetle-related fashion, including Schiaparelli's early plastic necklaces; and a snake-style room, animated with terrifying videos. As Bolton elaborates on the immersive world of cutting-edge technology he's building to reclaim lost experiences of the past, he seems less impressed by the exhibition's ambitious scale than by the possibilities for future work it has opened up. “It's a very humbling show to work on,” he says. “You realize how small you are.”

In this story: hair, Guido; hair colorist, @lenaott; makeup, Dame Pat McGrath; manicurist, Jin Soon Choi; tailor, Carol Ai.

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