On September 23rd, 2014 Manhattan’s finest joined ESCADA at Adelson Galleries for the unveiling of the ESCADA Meets Thilo Westermann Collection. Guests sipped on champagne while admiring the artwork and the clothing, styled on bust forms. High-boys were covered in sleek, black linens and accented with vibrant, pink peonies. Celebrities in attendance included Television Personality, Fashion Designer and Model Camila Alves, Gossip Girl Actress Kelly Rutherford, and Orange is the New Black Actress Selenis Leyva – all in head-to-toe ESCADA. Also at the event were Wilhelmina Models CEO Melissa Wilhelmina Cooper, ESCADA Fashion Director Daniel Wingate, and the featured artist, Thilo Westermann.
The Collection: Comprised of seven pieces, the ESCADA Meets Thilo Westermann Collection represents a global art project spanning over 100 points of distribution. Each piece incorporates abstract elements from Thilo Westermann artwork. A simple dress, printed on silk/viscose, highlights the soft wave of an orchid petal, while a classic blazer integrates the graphic texture of a crystal vase. Other pieces utilize color and fabrication as allusions to the Thilo Westermann Vanitas series. The Artwork: Contemporary artist Thilo Westermann creates his elegant still-life motifs by painting an accumulation of miniscule dots from the reverse side of glass. When complete, the dots merge into a photo-realistic three-dimensional image that transports the viewer into a study of Vanitas.
LUXXELIVING had a chance to ask the artist Thilo Westermann some questions regarding ESCADA and his contribution for the ESCADA S/S 2015 Collection.
1. LUXXELIVING: How did the collaboration between your designs and ESCADA S/S 2015 Collection Initiate?
TW: ESCADA fashion director Daniel Wingate dropped by my gallery (Oechsner Galerie in Nurnberg (Germany)) at the beginning of 2014 and became astounded by the craftsmanship and time-consuming evolution of my pictures. I had presented a selection of small reverse plexi paintings and large Diasec prints; the latter represent the motifs of his reverse paintings on a magnified scale. The enlargement reveals that they are made up of individual handpainted dots. Daniel asked me to put together a few sketches of how I would envisage a collaboration with ESCADA. So I drew a few designs that were ultimately produced – and are now components of the ESCADA Summer Collection for 2015.
My basic idea was to abandon the two-dimensional plane of painting and transfer my artistic concept to the three-dimensional language of clothing. I didn’t want to have just a few details or themes printed on the fabric; I wanted the hand-crafting of the dot rasters to be recognizable. This way the clothes allude back to their origins in painting. In contrast to the uniform halftone you find in the print media, every single dot in my work has a different, unique shape that I originally applied by hand. ESCADA liked this concept and respected all my ideas. It was great working together with the ESCADA team so closely. Daniel Wingate, the ESCADA team and I discussed every single step of the production of the clothes in detail.
2. LUXXELIVING: What was the inspiration for your work?
TW: I was interested by the idea of translating the concept of my paintings from the flat picture plane into the threedimsional language of fashion/clothing. In the very moment that someone wears a dress there is even a performance aspect as the dress gets into movement and action. Crucially influenced by Photorealism and Conceptual Art I compose my still-life paintings using individual dots that coalesce into shades of gray in the eye of the beholder, lending the subject – at first glance – the look of a black and white photograph.
However, unlike the pixels in photography and the mass-production methods used in the print media, I creat my pictures in the extremely intensive process of manually setting dot by dot on the reverse side of a sheet of Plexiglas. Once this stage is complete, I have the reverse painting scanned and printed on a larger scale. As if through a magnifying glass, the enlargement reveals the hand-crafted quality of the work. In contrast to the monotone uniformity of industrially produced halftone rasters, each single dot in my prints emerges as an individually crafted tool of artistic expression. It is pretty much the same effect like when you look at the pictures of fashion magazines through a magnifying glass: the images dissolve into single dots. So having my motives printed on fabric for ESCADA was just a little step further.
3. LUXXELIVING: Where you involved in the design of the clothing with ESCADA or where they only working from the artwork you created?
TW: ESCADA liked my concept and respected all my ideas. It was great working together with the ESCADA team so closely. Daniel Wingate, the ESCADA team and I discussed every single step of the production of the clothes in detail. As Daniel is the pro for tailoring he figured out clothes and silhouettes which turned out perfect for carrying my ideas.
I decided the very details which has been printed on the fabrics and together with Daniels knowledge and skills we gave the pieces of the ESCADA MEETS THILO WESTERMANN capsule a perfect form.
4. LUXXELIVING: The ESCADA collection will be available S/S 2015, any possibility for them to sell sooner?
TW: As part of the Spring/Summer collection 2015 the ESCADA MEETS THILO WESTERMANN capsule will be available worldwide in ESCADA stores as well as at Harrods in London and Saks 5th Avenue in New York from February 2015 onwards.
You can see the art exhibit the Thilo Westermann Collection at Adelson Galleries in New York City thru November 15, 2014. For more information go to: http://www.adelsongalleries.com/exhibitions/
Writer: Yerelyn Cortez Hidalgo
Daniel Wingate and Camila Alvez wearing ESCADA
Selenis Leyva wearing ESCADA
Kelly Rutherford wearing ESCADA