As the exclusive Haute Couture shows get underway in Paris following five days of men’s ready-to-wear, the French capital has been hosting numerous other fashion displays, but those in the know recommend one event in particular.
|Ready to soar? Art by Andersen.|
On the Champs Elysees, the Maison du Danemark is the venue for a fascinating exhibition of works by Nikoline Liv Andersen, a young award-winning Danish designer who brings art, fashion and crafts together in unexpected ways.
Andersen’s creations immediately strike one with their colour, artistry and theatrical scope. But it’s on closer examination of her garments, or more precisely installations, that one gets to appreciate her original take on fashion and haute couture.
“I don’t think about trends or targets,” she says. “In fact, I try to keep all of that outside my awareness. I prefer to allow myself to be inspired by other things such as divinity or nature.”
The exhibition, which runs until March 15, comprises artwork that underscores this approach; Andersen plays with the theme of angels or sprites in some of her designs, adding wings and other-worldly elements to the garments.
|Andersen at work.|
She also uses unusual materials such as drinking straws and industrial metal rivets to produce items that deconstruct the idea of couture, making one think about consumerism and the state of the world while still wanting to try on the clothing.
“A lot of it is made more for the expression, than for the wearability,” Andersen told Tasshon. “I’ve always loved to try to change the feeling of a material, and I love working with objects not normally seen in the fashion industry.”
She transforms these materials into delicate items that “look organic”, according to critics. Dresses made entirely from drinking straws, cut to different sizes, seem fairy-tale like - something one might dream of wearing to an Alice-in-Wonderland kind of ball. One billowy, flamboyant gown required 45,000 straws, she said
Another stand-out piece is the dress she designed for Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest, the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest winner who wore it for a performance at the Grand Finale of last year’s competition held in the Danish capital (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNdrYzZ55gI).
This dress combines metal, plastic and reclaimed fur for a chic yet cutting-edge item. At the exhibition, one clearly sees how much work went into its creation.
Besides Paris, Andersen has presented her designs in her native Copenhagen, and in Berlin, Brussels and other cities, since her graduation from Denmark’s Designskole in 2006. If this exhibition is anything to go by, everyone will be hearing a lot more about her soon, and not just during Fashion Week. (Text: McK-DeC)