A Conversation with Gaëtane Verna, the director of the Power Plant Contemporary

Power Ball, the notorious art party and fundraiser, is back this year with Stereo Vision. Power Ball XIX, hosted by the Power Plant Contemporary and Max Mara, will once again transform the renowned gallery into an immersive artscape with works by architecture and design studio Pedro&Juana and artist Francesco Pedraglio, among others, alongside performances, cocktails, hobnobbing, chit chatting, admiring, and more!

In anticipation for the big event, Novella had a chance to speak with Gaëtane Verna, the director of the Power Plant regarding not just the Power Ball, but also what she has to say about our contemporary art scene.

Hoon: Tell us about this year’s Power Ball theme, Stereo Vision.

Gaëtane Verna: For this year’s 19th edition of our major annual fundraiser, we wanted to move away from our previous years’ themes of pleasure and excess. The TV series Stranger Things had just been released around the time we had started to brainstorm for this year, and we loved the idea of the Upside Down world. We were also inspired by similar elements from works such as Cronenburg’s films Videodrome and Stereo and David Lynch’s TV show, Twin Peaks. This led to the idea of seen and unseen worlds, which ultimately became Stereo Vision. The beauty of Stereo Vision is that it can be interpreted in many ways: our art installations will reflect the theme in different ways through various interpretations, and immersive environments. We want the party to really transport guests, and be this otherworldly space where visual art, music, food, fashion, community and society intersect.

H: How did you come across Pedro & Juana and Francesco Pedraglio? What drew you to their work and led you to work closely with them for Power Ball XIX?

GV: For our Power Ball VIP Party we always feature insightful living international artists; artists who have never been seen before in Toronto and Canada – in all, the best of the best in contemporary art. Collaborating with an internationally recognized artist to present a one-night-only project is an essential part of our annual fundraiser.

For this year’s theme of hidden worlds, parallel universes, we thought, who better to build and realize this vision of an entirely different world than an architecture and design studio? Pedro&Juana is completely unique and a departure from the types of work we had previously highlighted for the VIP Party. Their ability to cleverly design and redesign a space, and the thought they put into how that space affects the relationships between those present in an environment is certainly what drew us to them. Not to give too much away, the Mexican architect and artist duo will be working in collaboration with Italian performance artist Francesco Pedraglio to create a room where the real and the represented will be questioned by creating a mirroring play of vignettes.

H: Aside from being a notorious art party, the Power Ball is also an important fundraising event. Tell us what the fundraising is for.

GV: The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is Canada’s leading non-collecting public gallery dedicated exclusively to contemporary art and culture. This is, in fact, our 30th Anniversary Year and we pride ourselves in delivering the best in contemporary Canadian and international arts in everything we do.

Power Ball is, of course, no exception and we always deliver a not-so-ordinary fundraising gala (and art party!) experience for two reasons. First and foremost, and very simply, we aim to raise funds so that we can continue presenting new works by living Canadian and international artists and have our audience visit us and see these artworks for free – our gallery is admission-free, all year. We also provide opportunities for audiences to engage with the work in alternative ways, and this is where our public programs and educational events come in. The donations from Power Ball are crucial in helping us produce these as well, and many of these programs are free. Power Ball is the engine that powers The Power Plant and we could not deliver our many commissioned works and public programs without the support of all our guests to this annual event.

Secondly and equally important, this event helps us showcase the work of local artists to an audience that may be different from those that visit us during the regular exhibition seasons. Part of our mandate is to present the work of diverse artists to an equally diverse audience, and to be a forum for the advanced artistic culture of our time. Our aim is to encourage visitors to engage, ponder and interact with the artwork presented within the walls of The Power Plant and through the years we’ve understood that this is an important exercise that does not have to centre solely on our shows: we can do this through outreach programs with youth, workshops with children and their parents, and yes – even a unique art party, once a year, featuring the best in contemporary culture for our many patrons and supporters. Our mandate drives all of our choices here at The Power Plant and this fundraiser is key in allowing us to continue those important conversations at the intersection of art, culture, outreach, society and much more.

H: Contemporary art is a broad term. The term itself and/or its ethos is often misunderstood, parodied, or simply looked over. How would you define the term?

GV: In my mind contemporary art is the art of our time. It is the work that artists all over the globe to shed light on blind spots – perhaps one could say, the hidden and unseen aspects – in our ever-changing world and society. Contemporary art does not have one unique form. It is a multi-disciplinary practise and combines equally diverse sources and contexts that are current to our world. Contemporary art is both lyrical as well as disturbing. It is poetic while exposing the worst possible expressions of the human injustices of today and the past.

H: What would you say makes Canadian art exciting?

GV: In 2017, within the context of Canada’s Sesquicentennial, Canadian contemporary art is forced to break many barriers and establish a visual arts discourse that is as complex as the world in which we operate – within Canada and beyond. As a country of indigenous people and immigrants we are forced to take a closer look at our 150-year legacy. The best contemporary artists are not afraid to tackle important local and personal stories, whether they are current or whether they explore histories that go beyond 1867. These stories, often hidden, are key to understanding who we are as a country and how our stories and artworks are relevant within our country as well as within the rest of the world. The multidisciplinary nature of Canadian contemporary art is what makes our strength. Many of our artists are practicing simultaneously in Canada as well as abroad, confronting their work to the rest of the globe and connecting their practice across borders and topics.

H: You’ve spent a lot of time in Montreal and Paris, two centers of francophone culture. Had this influenced you in the way you think of and look at art? Or do cultural backgrounds and geography have little to do with way one approaches art?

I was born outside of Canada and this has always made me a citizen of the world. I was raised in Montreal and I studied and lived abroad for close to ten years. My time in Paris, where I could encounter various aspects of the world converging in this city on a daily basis, has been critical in building my approach towards the arts. I see no borders between people or disciplines and in my world I am constantly searching for artists that are able to expose universal themes that will connect with a local – local to Toronto, that is – perspective, national perspective as well as global perspective. The Power Plant is located in Toronto but it is also a national institution that is respected all over the globe. My past years in Quebec and France have given me the outlook and the curiosity to explore all the angles that the best artists bring to their work and present it to Toronto audiences, show its relevance to all of our perspectives and continue building on to our 30 year legacy.

H: You’ve been deeply involved in the art community for over two decades as a director, curator, publisher, teacher, etc. How have contemporary art and society’s relationship to it changed over time? And where do you see it going in the near future?

GV: Contemporary art is now on the forefront of society. The increase in the number of art fairs around the world, as well as Biennales is an indicator of a new role of contemporary art, whether as an investment, as a catalyst for change or as an expression of social innovation. Since the end of the Second World War we have seen a constant increase in biennales, arts programs and curatorial programs in universities. As a result, we are producing more artists than ever before and more curators. Art plays an important part in the economy of Canada and of Toronto. Arts institutions like The Power Plant have many roles within our society. We are a place that promotes and presents the work of contemporary living artists. Additionally, we also function at times as an active cultural centre or a forum – a place of ideas and debate that affects our society as a whole. The role of museums and cultural institutions has evolved and artists are more so on the forefront of socio-political change and action. This convergence between the areas of art and activism will certainly carry on into the future.

H: The Power Plant is dedicated to, among other things, showcasing emerging talent. Could you tell our readers about a few exciting artists you’ve come across recently?

GV: At The Power Plant we develop and showcase talents in both artists and curators. Through two fellowships sponsored by RBC and TD Bank we have been able to contribute to the next generation of curators. I am looking forward to seeing what our alumni Fellows like Clara Halpern, now at Oakville Galleries, and Adrienne Costantino, now at Lakeshore Arts, accomplish next in our arts community. In terms of Canadian artists, I am excited by many, but a shortlist includes Brenda Draney, Jen Aitken, Patrick Bernatchez, Jacynthe Carrier, Howie Tsui, Maria Hupfield, Dawit L. Petros, Hajra Waheed, Brendan Fernandes, Tony Romano, Chih-Chen Wang, Marvin Luvualu Antonio, and Kapwani Kiwanga – who we just presented in our Winter 2017 Exhibition – amongst others. We can see great diversity in their types of practice and the sources they draw from, but the strength of their work is the diversity of perspectives that they bring to our Canadian landscape. There are many more artists which makes this an exciting time for our field.

H: Are you working on any new creative programs for the Power Plant at the moment?

GV: Needless to say, we’re incredibly excited about Power Ball XIX on June 1, as we outdo ourselves year after year. It is as much part of our creative work as the exhibitions that we develop throughout the year. But what perhaps is most exciting is just that, the programs that we have upcoming after Power Ball XIX on June 1. They are simply the work that we do on a daily basis and that we’ve been doing for the past 30 years: presenting the work of the living artists of our time regardless of generations and provenance. I’m thrilled to be presenting the first major institutional exhibition of Ydessa Hendeles this summer. Opening with a free public party on June 23, this will be her first retrospective show in Canada, and as an important figure in Toronto’s contemporary art scene we are honoured to have her collaborate with us on this occasion. Following that, for the last exhibition season of our 30th Anniversary Year in 2017, in our Fall 2017 Season we’ll be presenting two solo show by Amalia Pica, from Argentina, and Sammy Baloji & Filip de Boeck, from Congo and Belgium respectively; along with a site-specific installation in our Fleck Clerestory by British artist, Michael Landy. Finally, to kick off 2018, visitors to our Winter 2018 Season in January will view solo shows by French-Algerian artist Kader Attia and Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh.

H: Anything else you’d like to add.

GV: All I can say is we will continue to present the world in one place at The Power Plant, but further to that…you’ll just have to follow us and see!

We are constantly traveling the world to bring it back and present it within our gallery walls to all Toronto audiences. We are an institution where all are welcomed through our ALL YEAR, ALL FREE admission-free program thanks to BMO. We are so excited to continue the journey with our staff, our board of directors and our audiences that represent all that Toronto has to offer to the city and the world. We take seriously our responsibility to contribute to breaking the barriers that too often exist between contemporary art and its public. I invite everyone to join us on June 1 as well as throughout the year. We have programs for everyone and everyone is always welcome.

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Contact Festival: Talking to Suzy Lake

Suzy Lake, ImPositions Pan F Contact Sheet, 1977, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist and Georgia Scherman Projects

The Scotia Bank Contact festival is Canada’s largest photography festival, with over 1500 participating artists and 200 exhibitions taking place through the month of May. It sprawls throughout the entirety of the Greater Toronto Area. This year, the festival focuses on Canada and recognizes the 150th anniversary of the confederation; explores both documentary style pieces that capture an ever-changing Canadian landscape and images that challenge our notions of the medium.

Novella had the privilege to speak with renowned artist and 2016 Scotiabank Photography Award winner, Suzy Lake.

Lake is a veteran photographer, video maker and performance artist. Her works deal with body image, ageism, beauty, as well as gender and identity construction. She explores the effects of social convention and power dynamics: “About forty to fifty years ago I started working with issues of identity and realized that, as one is trying to find one’s voice, one becomes aware of what the resistance is and so that continued as my visual journey until now.” Although her work is highly politicicized, Lake isn’t interested in preaching, “the thing is, I create work where I’m asking a question and raising discussion. It’s not agitprop. I’m not trying to convert someone.”

Suzy Lake, Puppet Study #10, 1976, gelatin silver print, string. Courtesy of the artist and Georgia Scherman Projects

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1947, Lake grew up in a politically tumultuous era where racial tensions ran high. She became politically active in her young adulthood. She studied painting at Wayne State University, but felt the medium did not help her reconcile what was happening around her. She began experimenting with photography and performance art on her own accord. Witnessing the Detroit Race Riots first hand, she and her husband were forced to leave her hometown, and ended up in Montreal, Quebec.

Lake quickly realized that Canada, too, was fertile ground for the exploration of identity and power dynamics. For example, when she moved to Quebec, she discovered that she was technically her husband’s property under the Quebec Civil Code. The FLQ, a political party who violently advocated Quebec’s separation from Canada, was also active in Montreal at the time of Lake’s arrival. She sought progression through her artwork. Lake cofounded a forward-thinking, artist-run space in Montreal called Véhicule Art Inc, in 1972. Many consider it to have been at the helm of contemporary art.

Lake’s interest in the dynamics of power flourished. As she described it, there were: “Identity issues that were being addressed and they were politicized and there was resistance to them and I was very interested in that because it was very much similar to the civil rights work that I was doing in Detroit. So really, power dynamics are power dynamics. The story might be different, but the dynamic is the same.”

Suzy Lake, Thin Green Line, 2001, chromogenic print. Courtesy of the artist and Georgia Scherman Projects

Lake moved to Toronto in the late 1970s. She began to create work concerning both identity and landscapes, these were a testament to how she felt about deeply Canadian issues. Her installations, “Desire and the Landscape” and “Authority is an Attribute, Part I and Part II” explored Canada’s convoluted relationship with landownership. In “Desire and and Landscape” she juxtaposed the pride of a community in a rural, industrial paper mill town in northern Ontario, with the fallacious expectations of cosmopolitan tourists.

“Everyone really identifies with their surroundings if they have been in a place for a long period of time. Living in Montreal for ten years — that was a length of time where I learned about its history the nuances of personality so and so forth. We have a pride in that comfort of where we are and what it looks like. It becomes part of who we are,” she said.  “If you’re a tourist, you kind of idealize what that is and it’s not necessarily on the same terms as the caretakers of that land.” For the piece, Lake created wall drawings with colored graphite pencil and intermittently hung photographs of tourists.

Canada’s historical power dynamics, clearly fraught with injustice, were incorporated into her work, she explained, “The Temagami land claim was living on a tremendous amount of Ontario, they’re hunters and at the same time desire of all the cottagers of the Temagami area had desire over the beautiful vacationing landscape and the soft wood lumber industry Goulard assumed desire and ownership over the pine forest and hydro and so you know there is a different kind of investment by others than those who are really the caretakers of the land.”

Her piece “Authority is an Attribute Part I and II” further explored the relationships between First Nations people, the provincial government, and the logging and tourist industries. In Part I, we met the figures of desire and issues of appropriation, each colonial figure had a set of binoculars because their gaze holds the power of decision-making. For Part II, the Teme-Augama Anishnabai Band Council asked Lake if she could create an exhibition on Bay Street that non-Indigenous people in Toronto could see. The Council wanted the exhibition on Bay Street (Toronto’s equivalent of the infamous Wall Street in New York), “because that’s where important decisions are made.” Lake said, “They wanted their side of the story told so every decision, every visualization that I did, I would go up to Teme-Augama and present it to and have it approved by Band Council so it really was a collaboration, but I visualized it.” The photos consist of triptychs of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai Band members smiling on their rightful land and home. She also included photos of the previously identified authority figures with binoculars from Part I as well as in cut out installations to really accentuate their taking of space. There is also a small series of silver gelatin prints entitled “Game Players” of businessmen in suits playing chess on the Augama Anishnabai land. The businessmen also represent aspects of neo-colonialism.

Whether Lake is dealing with beauty ideas, ageism, or other societal constructions, her work sparks conversation. Her work is a visual manifestation of how we may feel about social injustice.

CONTACT is celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday—yet many see little reason to celebrate our colonial foundations and the ongoing disempowerment of indigenous groups. Lake’s Attribute I and II function as an important reminder of the many injustices that Canada has perpetrated over those 150 years.

You can see Suzy Lake’s exhibition is on from April 29-August 13 at the Ryerson Image Centre.

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Fashion TV Shows that don’t suck

With so many die-hard fashion lovers around the world, why is it that only a handful of (poorly made and utterly boring) fashion centred TV series seem to garner attention? I mean sure, there is a plethora of fashion reality tv shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway kicking around, but why is that fashion lovers around the world are confined to having to watch Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, or some random show that has nothing to do with fashion, but has a great wardrobe none the less. This article could have easily been filled to the brim with shows that have stunning costumes like Versailles and Downtown Abbey, but that would be unjust to those who live, breathe, and work in the fashion industry. Luckily, Novella is here take away your woes and provide every fashion lover out there with a list of great fashion centred tv shows that won’t have you lying in bed wondering if sleep really is a better option than binge-watching an entire season before work.

Atelier (Japan)

Photo: Netflix

Atelier (Andâwea) is one of those series that sadly gets overlooked on the Netflix roster because of the simple fact that it isn’t in English. Now, some may be hesitant to delve into the world of subtitle reading, but the sacrifice is well worth it: This single season powerhouse of a TV show packs a mighty punch. Throughout the series, you follow a young textile design graduate, Mayuko Tokita (Mirei Kiritani) as she navigates the world of high fashion lingerie. Immediately our young protagonist is met with resistance by the series’ main antihero, a veteran lingerie designer (Mayumi Nanjo, played by Mao Daichi) and owner of Emotion Lingerie, who uses tough love to guide our hero through the often times brutal fashion world. The greatest thing about this show is the emotional response it generates in its viewers. It’s so easy to fall in love with Mayu and connect with the ups and downs of her career at Emotion as if they were your own, making Atelier a very enjoyable watch.

The Fashion Fund (USA)

Photo: Vogue

Now everyone is very well aware of the dominance Project Runway has over the fashion design competition category of reality tv. Season after season, fashion lovers are treated to a group of designer hopefuls fighting for a chance of winning a chunk of cash and a spot on New York Fashion Week’s illustrious schedule. However, once you get past all of the flash and bang that Project Runway creates, you soon come to realize that it really just is the fashion lovers’ version of American Idol. Luckily, not all is lost when it comes to design competitions. From the brilliant marketing minds at Vogue magazine comes a little design web series based on one of the most intense competitions the fashion world has to offer. Follow editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, designer Dianne Von Furstenburg, and countless other fashion elites as they mentor and oversee the Vogue Fashion Fund, a design competition aimed at kick-starting the careers of fashion designers who exhibit the most potential for becoming the next American fashion heavyweight. The best part about the series is how real and relevant it is to today’s fashion industry. Rather than watching a design competition for the sake of drama and good tv, this series aims to showcase the reality of what it takes to play with, and impress, the big kids in fashion. And if that isn’t enough incentive to start watching The Fashion Fund, then you might find some in the fact that you get to watch the designers behind brands like Gypsy Sport, Chromat, and Jonathan Simhkai do their thing all under the watchful eye of Ms. Wintour.

Absolutely Fabulous (UK)

Photo: Fox Searchlight

This British tv classic should be hailed as a national treasure at this point. With six seasons under its belt and recently a feature-length movie (with appearances by fashion legends Kate Moss and Suzy Menkes, to name a few) Absolutely Fabulous is a glittering gem among drab fashion related shows. The show follows the everyday life of self-proclaimed PR guru Edina Monsoon and her fashion editor best friend Pasty Stone as they navigate the world of British high fashion. The series itself is brilliant enough based on the constant bombardment of British wit, but the real laughs come with the catastrophic scenarios Eddy and Patsy manage to get themselves into. Ab Fab really is a melting pot of quick English wit, drugs, Bollinger champagne, and laugh out loud moments that will change the way you look at the glamorous lives of the fashion elite forever.

Fashion War (Hong Kong)

Photo: TVB

Fashion War is what they call on the Eastern hemisphere a drama. A television drama can best be compared to a soap opera. But Fashion War doesn’t play out like its melodramatic western counterparts. It follows the lives of a group of people employed at an important Hong Kong fashion magazine. Viewers are taken on a ride through the often ugly and brutal side of the fashion industry, where decisions are made at the cost of others’ feelings and jobs, which is an interesting take on the often comical or uplifting and inspiring portrayal of the fashion industry in media. Unlike the other shows on the list, Fashion War focuses on the more intense side of the industry, where loyalty and betrayal come hand in hand; a perfect edge of your seat nail biter for those of you who want a show with a little more edge to it.

Velvet (Spain)

Set in the late ’50 and early ’60s, Velvet is yet another series that showcases fashion through a different lens. In the world of Velvet, Alberto (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), heir to the prestigious Spanish department store Galerias Velvet, is faced with the daunting task of running his late father’s store while trying to keep his own personal life in pristine condition. However, things take a more difficult turn when he begins to fall for Ana (Paula Echevarría), a seamstress who works at the store. What ensues is a whirlwind of love and the tough decisions that come with it, especially when facing the responsibility of keeping a business afloat.

The Paradise (UK)

Photo: PBS

Now, this list wouldn’t be complete without a British costume drama. Luckily, among all of the historical series that features stunning costume design, the Brits managed to make a show that’s based on the industry that created those stunning costumes. Set in 1875, this two-season series follows the changes shop workers and owners must go through when the first English department store opens its doors. Alive with romance and loss, The Paradise is one of those shows that reignites the creative flame all fashion lovers have within them. The stunning costumes hark back to a time when clothing represented more than just self-expression and every detail was of the utmost importance. Another fun aspect to the series is seeing how retail fashion all began, which could be a very interesting concept to those on the business side of the fashion industry.

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Iconic Moments in Fashion: Viktor & Rolf Haute Couture ss 2016

Have you ever imagined what a child’s imagination would look like if it came to life? What if a child’s imaginary friend sprung from their head and began to dance around the room? That was the beauty of Viktor & Rolf’s spring 2016 couture show. Childhood memories came out to dance and play among the very adult world of fashion. Unfortunately, in today’s fashion world, we rarely get to see whimsy and childhood charm walk the runway. Designers have created brands and taken them from the realm of imagination into the realm of industry, creating an engine hell-bent on pumping the world with constant doses of trends, fast fashion, and see-now-buy-now collections whose sole purpose is profit, not wonder.

Photo: Alessandro Garofalo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily for fashion lovers around the world, the haute couture house of Viktor & Rolf has for years been associated with design that reaches beyond traditional fashion. While some houses’, like Chanel’s or Dior’s, primary focus was to modernize tradition, Viktor & Rolf are renowned for reinventing traditional haute couture values rather than modernizing of something that has been held dearly.

Photo: Alessandro Garofalo

Viktor & Rolf have created a brand that delves into some of Europe’s most important design niches. On one hand, V&R embraces deconstruction; they embrace the art of taking a garment apart and putting it back together in new and exciting ways. On the other hand, the brand is also deeply rooted in detail and high fashion prestige. This intense marriage of raw design and refined beauty encompassed their spring 2016 couture show. It was a dance between the cut and paste imagination of a child and the rigidness and simplicity of adult life.

Photo: Alessandro Garofalo

When we first see the collection, the clothing presented seem simple enough. A utilitarian shirtdress with a few paste on appliqués in white. A secret sprinkled here and there. Soon after, the dresses become more elaborate and more abstract. Audiences are left watching as the imagination of a child takes a simple idea and allows it to grow and blossom into something far more magical than just a cut out of an eye on a dress.

Photo: Alessandro Garofalo

As the collection progresses, the dreams of a child’s unchained mind come face to face with the stern rules of adult life. But the clash of the two isn’t what makes this collection so memorable. It’s the sheer dominance nostalgia and childhood imagination have over our adult lives. Even though the collection still adheres to its strict couture guidelines, the childhood dream world that began as a simple eye on a stark white dress grew into something more extravagant — something far more important than just fashion. The idea that Viktor & Rolf wanted to get had more to do with the flame of wonder that is ignited in childhood never truly going out than trying to parade models around in towering polo shirt totem poles for the sake of “fashion.” For both Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, creating fashion for the sake of fashion doesn’t seem to be the name of the game. Bringing dreams to life by taking inspiration from the world around them has always been the motive and lesson at V&R couture. And it’s a lesson in creativity all future designers should be listening too.

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Art x Fashion: Fashion inspired by history’s most stunning gowns

Fashion and art have always worked hand in hand like a hall of mirrors. When one creates something, the other reflects it. For centuries, art and fashion have danced with one another. Creating memorable images in either fabric or paint form. When I chose to venture into art and fashion in the first “Art x Fashion” article, the comparisons made between the artwork’s and the clothing was based on colour, print, pattern, etc. Now, the comparisons are based on some of the most stunning gowns ever painted throughout history.

Ann Demeulemeester x Thomas Hudson

Ann Demeulemeester fw17 by Sebastien Meurnier | “Portrait of Lady Frances Courtenay, wife of William Courtenay, 1st Viscount Courtenay” by Thomas Hudson | Photo: Vogue Runway

Until recently, black was a coloured reserved for mourning, not elegance. So when it came to finding a gown that matched today’s modern obsessions with the shade, a deep dive into the world of classical art was the only way to go about it. Luckily, I stumbled upon Thomas Hudson‘s beautiful painting “Portrait of Lady Frances Courtenay, wife of William Courtenay, 1st Viscount Courtenay” which showcases its main subject wearing a beautiful black gown. The sheen on the black fabric, white ruffled collar, and sleeves was mirrored by a look that walked the runway at Ann Demeulemeester this season, which featured a black dress and white shirt. The two gowns almost look like doorways. One leading to the past, the other, the future.

Loewe x Giovanni Boldini

Loewe fw17 by Jonathan Anderson | “Madame Charles Max” by Giovanni Boldini

Powder blue, not only was it named the colour of the year last year (along with rose quartz) It has steadily filtered its way through everything from fashion, to home decor, and even car colours. What sets this colour apart from other blues on the lighter spectrum is its softness, its cleanliness, its elegance, and it’s ability to remain an extremely dominant colour without looking juvenile. At Loewe, a stunning powder blue gown came down the runway looking like a clown in the wind. Immediately Giovanni Boldini came to mind. The effortless brush strokes of the blue dress in Boldini’s “Madame Charles Max” look as light as air, mirroring the billowing blue gown on the runway.

 

Calvin Klein x Thomas Cooper Gotch

Calvin Klein fw17 by Raf Simons | The Lady in Gold by Thomas Cooper Gotch

Gold is one of those colours that will always be associated with royalty. It represents the thrown, the sun, wealth, extravagance, and the God-given right to rule a kingdom. In Thomas Coop Gotch‘s painting “The Lady in Gold,” we can see how gold plays a vital role in creating an elegant and domineering atmosphere. Not only is the dress itself a beautiful hue of yellow gold, the entire painting itself is painted in various hues of warm yellow. Giving the woman in the painting a sense of sheer importance and status. At Calvin Klein, A stunning gold coat walked the runway. The gold fabric and cleave PVC overlay looked made the garment look like liquid gold. Twisting and swirling onto itself. Truly a modern take on an old royal favourite.

 

Gucci x Frans Verhas

Gucci fw17 by Alessandro Michele | “The New Bracelet” by Frans Verhas

Call it lilac, periwinkle, or lavender, or aubergine, but no colour can match the unbridled intensity of purple. Which screams “look at me!” regardless of which hue is being shown. In Frans Verhas The New Bracelet,” a soft lilac jumps out from the canvas against a neutral background. It’s clear that the intention of the painting was o put the gown itself into focus while letting the background fade away. And what a perfect colour to do just that. However, at Gucci, this purple gown was one of the only colours that was featured entirely by itself. The dominant colour creates a mesmerising look that needs little more than a lustre in the fabric itself to stand out. Just like Frans Painting, this Gucci dress captures the eye and lets the background fade away.

Chika Kisada x William Ross

Chika Kisada fw17 by Chika Kisada | “Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg” by William Ross

What do you think of when you think of pink? For me, I see candy, extravagance, sugar, delicateness, and power. Now, most people would agree with candy and delicateness, but why power and extravagance? It’s simple, pink is one of the strongest colours on the colour wheel. It gives off an intensity without ever experiencing any muteness in its hues. Whether it’s baby pink or fuschia, pink lights a fire unlike any other colour on the spectrum. In William Ross‘ “Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg,” we can see that even though the pink chosen for the gown is the softest imaginable, it still draws the eye to it. Dominating everything around it in the painting. This is also the case with this stunning pink dress at Chika Kisada aw17. The mix of bubblegum pink and dusty rose creates levels of excitement and interest in the dress. Pulling your eyes towards the harness on the model’s chest, and drawing it all the way down to the train.

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