I’ve read an interview with Christophe Chemin about his collaboration with Prada, in which he explains: ‘People will see what they want in the clothes. The references are there for the people that are curious enough’. That’s really something meant for the readers of As A Muse!
Miuccia Prada often collaborates the worlds of art and fashion. For the Autumn-Winter 2016 collection, she asked the French artist Christophe Chemin for help. She didn’t only reuse his work but – wait for it – she asked him to imagine new illustrations. Therefore, the artist has been involved in the entire creation process, since Christophe Chemin knew from the beginning that his work would be turned into clothes.
Prada uses history to make us think about our society. That’s really a hell of a collection, and Christophe Chemin had no hesitation whatsoever regarding references. Here are a few ideas to interpret three looks I have chosen just for you.
You have probably figured it out: Utopia Survival is a reference to Noah’s Ark. The pairs of animals, both real and imaginary – have you noticed the unicorns?! – appear in the middle of an industrial estate. Humans have deserted the place. Christophe Chemin blows the whistle on the ecological issues that we all face today. In the Bible, Noah has to save human beings from a flood which is about to sweep everything away. Is our way of life also going to put us at risk of extinction?
Banquet Thieves is a banquet scene inspired from Vanities. The warm colours and the profusion of food point to a feast. Actually, the table is infested with rats and insects that devour everything they find. The perspective is not accurate, the table leans too much. The tablecloth is going to slide and knock over everything. Christophe Chemin makes fun of Food Porn, that trendy way of photographing food and then sharing the pics on social media. Banquet Thieves or Food Porn : beneath the apparent perfection lies the more mediocre reality.
culture of emptiness
What seems to be a nice choreography actually turns out to be a huge fight! Here, the artist laughs at narcissism – the culture of emptiness, the staging of the self through selfies, the search for fame for fame’s sake. Bringing something useful to humankind, here’s what really matters! Just imagine, what if the big names that made their marks on history had had such futile preoccupations?
That would probably result in something like that: Hercules trying to hit Freud, who is attempting to strike Goddess Athena with a club. Julius Cæsar is fighting with Saint Francis of Assisi in the left corner. In the centre, Nina Simone equipped with boxing gloves rises before Joan of Arc, who is ready to fight it out with her percussions. Finally, Geronimo wants to knock Pier Paolo Pasolini and Che Guevara – who is tightly holding his Oscar – on the head with a golf club.
All of them are determined to prevail in this absurd battle.
What I love in Christophe Chemin’s works is the underlying meaning, both dark and critical, that lies beneath the apparent beauty. I think this is the true strength of the collection. It answers the æsthetic expectations of those who are merely watching the collection, but also satisfies those who’d like to go beyond that. And then you appreciate it all the more!