Many stories have been shared of the conversations enjoyed by the fashion and art zeitgeist around the kitchen table of the late Azzedine Alaïa, often into the early hours. These encounters led to lasting friendships and sometimes, artistic collaborations. One such collaboration born over a hearty meal was with French artist César Baldaccini. A sculptor, César, made his first forms by welding together pieces of scrap metal –insects, animals, and nudes.
In later years, César became known for his “compression” work. One day, while scouring through scrap metal, he witnessed a hydraulic crushing machine operate. He decided to employ the machine with his art and his crushing or “compression” of various materials became synonymous with César. Any and all metal objects–cans, cars, jewelry–were compressed to create art. In the mid-80s, César created a two-dimensional compression pattern on paper for his friend Alaïa. This was then printed onto fabric and showcased in the Spring/Summer 1985 collection.
Now revived in a collection of two dresses, two shirts, a pair of high-waisted pants, and three bags, the “Impression Compression” pieces signed Alaïa and César are a must-have for any collector. The vibrancy of the colors and forms appears to interact with each other until they almost leap from the cloth, engaging playfully with its witness. Perhaps the joy brought forth from the marriage of art and fashion is the only eternal.
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