Prada Men’s & Women’s Fall / Winter 2016 Fashion Show fabrics

July 13, 2016

For the Prada Men’s and Women’s Fall / Winter 2016 fashion show, Prada collaborated with artist Christophe Chemin who drew the collection’s prints.

Christophe Chemin – Biography

Christophe Chemin is a French self-taught artist whose versatile and multitudinous creative out-put defies categorization. Chemin draws, writes, photographs, directs, films, and designs. He has published four novels and is the creator of numerous films.

His art extends itself from one medium to the other to develop its ramifications freely, its possibilities, and also not to be trapped in a niche or attached in any artistic field. Ideas always come first. Then, each discipline being used develops itself in a complementary and coherent way, like a big map, related to the inner map of Chemin’s own territory, a territory that is always based on a preoccupation with poetry, often mysterious and ritualistic, always facing the notion of danger, guilt, urgency and human dignity. From text to visual, novels to huge color pencil drawings, installations to theater set design and artistic performance, collages to photography, video to cinema, Christophe Chemin breaks the limits, resulting in a very intricate world full of inner convictions.

He likes to say that what he is doing has to do with sewing one thing to another and that he is a seamstress.
He loves dry bread above all things. Dry bread, earth and simple beauty.

Christophe Chemin currently lives in Berlin.

About the project

There is something about the past, about looking at what is considered « old », that is both romantic and absolutely contemporary. If you think about History, and Time, what might first come to your mind is numbers. Years, that you learned by heart – years ago, in school. Important ones. Like little dots, or islands of time. With this special series of original drawings commissioned by Prada, Christophe Chemin is questioning the History of our World.

Banquet Thieves Color pencil on paper, 2015

With ”Banquet Thieves”, we have a typical banquet scene, inspired by traditional “Still Life” genre and “Vanitas”, in elegant and attractive shades of sweet and warm colors. A Classic archetype in Art History. First, a weird table, with a complete wrong perspective after Giotto, covered of a tablecloth that is slowly sliding down. A twisted image that has something to do with the way people nowadays are obsessed with food: how they like to take in picture what they are about to eat and share it immediately online. But our “Banquet image” features uninvited guests. Hungry animal thieves, that are about to take away all that is on the table in front of your eyes. And a couple of black strawberries (a visual invention) that gives to the scenery a mysterious and poetic sensation. Im possible True Love Color pencil on paper, 2015.

“Once upon a time”, there was… a Kiss. A couple kissing passionately. The kiss being the absolute « kitsch » (as in representation) of Love, and something that completely project you out of time for a while. In “Impossible True Love”, an ironical take on such a romantic genre, not only is the love impossible but the whole situation – even though it all looks here like a realistic situation or a simple staged kiss scene coming directly out of a movie. Let’s say, if this is a poster for an Historical movie… then the director of « Impossible True Love » would certainly be the German movie director : R.W. Fassbinder – in Hollywood ! Or maybe… this intimate captured moment is happening off set, behind the projectors, in front of a background that was rejected and is laying now in the corner of some American studios. A glamorous actress playing the goddess Isis is romantically kissing an army boy that could be a young Elvis. This moment of projection, faked or true, is like in a dream – stars are falling from the sky, two different opposite cultures are reunited, and like in dreams it all floats forever in time. As Balzac once wrote: “Love is like the w ind, we never know where it will come from.

The Important Ones Blue Color pencil on paper, 2016

If History is years, it is also faces – famous faces. One might remember Heroes. Good people, people of Justice. Inventors, fighters, creators. The ones that did something for Humanity, something to go forward – those are eternal in our minds and are important. In “The important Ones” we assist to the reinterpretation of a classic Renaissance Battle genre that is almost transformed into an absurd “Dance Tableau”. A Baroque blue toile de Jouy, or a battle of the new Gods dancing for Eternity. It has to do with the ego of people nowadays, and how much anybody wants to be important, titled, treated as important, and how much they forget that you need to do important things to be remembered as someone unique and special. You might recognize: Hercules wearing Hulk fists, Sigmund Freud holding a huge stick, The Greek Goddess Athena with a thunder bolt, Julius Caesar and a laurel branch, Saint Francis of Assisi and a bird, Nina Simone wearing boxing gloves, Joan of Arc holding Maracas, Geronimo holding a golf club, Che Guevara holding an Oscar and Pier Paolo Pasolini holding… nothing! All reunited forever.

Survival Utopia Black Ink on paper, 2016

Finally with “Survival Utopia” we move away from humans to focus on animals and revisit a myth of historical incoherence: Noah’s Ark. Animals that once existed, exist, or never existed both gather through an industrial almost utopian landscape, a human deserted city. Some of them are wearing high heretic hats that refer to the Great Inquisition, a dark moment in Human History, others are wearing Japanese human Kabuki masks, some help each other by carrying the others on their backs. All going by couples – except a dove, and a crow. It seems they saw something and they are leading somewhere, but where?… That’s a beautiful mystery.

Years References*

Banquet Thieves

1300 Giotto’s Saint Francis of Assisi church, “The Death of the Knight of Celano”.
1349 Giovanni Boccaccio’s “The Story of Alatiel”, The Banquet (from The Decameron).
1947 Camus, “La Peste” (novel)
1968 Parajanov, “The color of Pomegranates” (Sayat Nova), (film).
1979 Werner Herzog, “Nosferatu” (film).

Impossible True Love

2320 before JC First appearance of Isis name in texts found in Ounas Pyramid tomb.
1476 Cristoforo de Predis, “Morte del Sole, della Luna, e caduta delle Stelle”.
1779 Guillaume Grandjacquet, Albaster and black marble Isis.
1958 Elvis Preysley is serving as a regular soldier in the United States Army for 2 years.
1963 Mankiewicz’s “Cleopatra” with E. Taylor.

The important Ones

1470 Antonio del Pollaivolo, “Battle of the nudes”.
1760 Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, “Toile de Jouy” Manufacture.
1910 Matisse, “La Danse”.
1937 Picasso, “Guernica”.

Survival Utopia

1500 “La dame à la licorne” medieval tapestry (The Lady and the Unicorn).
1815 Goya’s “Disasters of war”, etchings.
1924 Karl Völker, “Picture of Industry”.
1933 “King Kong”, film.
1952 Le Corbusier “La Cité Radieuse”, Marseille.
2015 “ARK: Survival Evolved”, PlayStation game.

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