Thursday, November 12, 2009

Historical Artistic Styles and Fashion - a 4,000 year Journey

I. The World’s Oldest Love Poem

I will start my journey by going back some 4,000 years.

“It is as tiny as the sleekest mobile phones that fit in the palm of the hand, but its message is anything but modern. A small tablet in a special display in the Istanbul Museum of the Ancient Orient is thought to be the oldest love poem ever found, the words of a lover from more than 4,000 years ago.“ goes a February 2006 article in the New York Times.

Dating back to the Sumerian period, the tablet (below) contains a highly explicit ballad:

Bridegroom, dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet

You have captivated me, let me stand trembling before you; Bridegroom, I would be taken to the bedchamber

Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me

Tell my mother, she will give you delicacies; my father, he will give you gifts

In 2005, Urart Art Gallery, a prominent Turkish jewelry maker that manufactures pieces inspired and influenced by Anatolian civilizations, introduced a limited edition ring for Valentine’s Day that has a replica of the poem, as seen below:

II. Pojagi – 14th Century Korean Tradition and Chunghie Lee

According to Joan Barnatt, Pojagi, or wrapping cloth, has been a Korean tradition since history was earliest recorded. During the Chosŏn kingdom (beginning 14th century), this art form developed into a distinctive and notable art form by Korean women. Pojagi are made up of pieces of like material (silk, ramie, or cotton) that, in many cases, were recycled by the women of the family, reminiscent of American quilting tradition.

Chunghie Lee is an artist and lecturer from Seoul, Korea. Her work has been influenced by Pojagi, and led her to create wall pieces, sculptures and wearable work. Below are samples of her wearable art (No-name women Drumagi; The Dream Vest; Multi-color top).

III. Nakis – 15th Century Ottoman Art and Cemil Ipekci

Moving forward by another century, Nakis is an Ottoman decorative style that is a synthesis of Seljuk, Byzantine, Persian and Mongolian states, reaching its peak in the 15th century Ottoman Court. Below are two samples of nakis art:

Cemil Ipekci, a modern day Turkish designer, has been heavily influenced by Ottoman art, and elements of nakis are visible in his runway show named Harem below.

IV. Denim Imitates Art - Damien Hirst and Fashion

Damien Hirst, the most prominent member of the Young British Artists movement has been expanding his footprint into the fashion world with a number of arrangements including Levi’s and skating apparel brand Supreme to deliver a collection of Holiday 2009 decks and t-shirts. Here are the details from Supreme’s web site:

"During the 1990s Hirst was known as a wild child in the art world and his work embodied both everyday realism and provocative sensationalism. Known for his ironic wit and cultural commentary, Hirst often explores the theme of mortality through a variety of mediums and techniques from installation work, to painting and sculpture…Hirst is known for his iconic graphic Spot paintings that depict rows of randomly-colored circles. Supreme will release a series of five individually designed decks and a Box Logo tee designed by Damien Hirst featuring his Spot paintings. "

Below are images from Supreme's collection:

In a 2007 Fashion Week Daily article, titled Denim Imitates Art, Levi’s vice president for marketing said the Original 501 jean has been the black canvas for self expression and individuality, referring to famous artists Damien Hirst, to Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat as those who wore it. Below are some pictures from the collectio:

V. Art Nouveau Meets Metallic Yarn

Antonio Gaudi was a late 19th and early 20th century Catalan architect and a member of the Art Nouveau movement. His unfinished masterpiece, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (below left), is a reflection of his devote Catholicism, is now being worked on with 2026 as the planned completion date. His buildings dot the city of Barcelona, with the one below right one of them:

As depicted in the New York Magazine, English designer Louise Goldin’s label is known for its short, body-hugging knit dresses, tunics, and swimwear for women. According to a London Fashion Week press release, “Louise Goldin graduated in March 2005 from Central Saint Martins with a distinction in Fashion with Knitwear. Her graduate collection was ordered exclusively and re-produced for Selfridges in London...The Louise Goldin Spring/Summer 2007 collection is a combination of highly technical knitwear combined with innovative and unique techniques. The collection was inspired by architecture, particularly the work of architect, Antonio Gaudi. Louise Goldin’s knitwear is made up of yarns such as lurex combined with the finest cashmere blends.”

Below are pictures from her 2007 Antonio Gaudi-inspired collection, representing the inner architecture of Gaudi’s drawings wrapped around the body.

VI. Sonia Delaunay - Orphism

"Russian painter, illustrator, and textile designer who was a pioneer of abstract art in the years before World War I. Delaunay grew up in St. Petersburg. She studied drawing in Karlsruhe, Germany, and in 1905 moved to Paris, where she was influenced by the Post-Impressionists and the Fauvists. When she married the artist Robert Delaunay in 1910, she was painting in the style known as Orphism, which involved the harmonious juxtaposition of areas of pure colour. She extended Orphist principles to the design of fabrics, pottery decoration, stage sets, and other applied arts." (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Some of Delaunay's paintings are below:

Clara Leskovar and Doreen Schultz For Autumn/Winter 2009 the C.neeon designers Clara Leskovar and Doreen Schulz were inspired by Delaunay. Called “One cannot live without champagne and gypsies,” the collection is bright, fun with an air of nonchalance, that makes it all the more irresistible (Highsnobette). Below are samples of their work:

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