The relationship between Niki de Saint Phalle and Fashion is strong and significant. She expressed herself through Fashion, she had a vision and designers believed in her sense of style and advice, like Marc Bohan, at the time, the designer for Dior.
At 20, she was a model, on the covers of Life and Vogue magazines. At 30, at the beginning of her artistic career, she said to the NYC Herald Tribune : […] I don’t mind wearing high heeled boots or a flower in my hair if I am in the mood. I think clothes should make a statement. Mine do. They’re the way I feel.
Niki de Saint Phalle in Paris by 1965 – photo: Jill Krementz
A year later, Niki de Saint Phalle’s solo show opening of “Les Nanas” at Galerie Iolas in Paris was memorable not only for the joyful feminine figures made of chicken wire, fabric and yarn but for the real women in the room, too! In an article published by Women’s Wear Daily on March 30, 1966, it is described in detail every extravagant outfits wore by the Paris’ It girls, among them, of course, Niki!
Image from Women’s Wear Daily, 1966 – source : NCAF Archives
Niki de Saint Phalle has always been a great source of inspiration for artists: painters, sculptors, jewelers… And again, very recently, we noticed how much fashion designers today keep borrowing her graphic elements and color palette to nourish their creations.
A month ago, during New York Fashion Week 2016, Japanese designer, Anna Sui incorporated Saint Phalle‘s Nanas in dresses and capes, as parts of her latest ready-to-wear collection.
NYC – FEBRUARY 17: Anna Sui collection – New York Fashion Week Fall 2016 – Photo by Luca Tombolini
Also, Libertine American designer, Johnson Hartig, dipped into Niki de Saint Phalle’s graphic repertoire for his latest creations. The open-hand, the heart and the sun symbols, just to name a few, are distinctive reacquiring elements from Saint Phalle’s alphabet that Hartig incorporated to dresses.
Carte de voeux with Flower, Sun, Start and Moon, 1987 © 2015 NIKI CHARITABLE ART FOUNDATION, All rights reserved.
“I studied painting and drawing in school so art has always been near and dear. Niki de Saint Phalle, and the Tarot Garden Tuscany were big inspirations” told Hartig to Fashion Times reporters, backstage after the show.
NYC – FEBRUARY 15: A model walks the runway wearing Libertine
Fall 2016 during New York Fashion Week – Photo by Neilson Barnard
Two weeks later, on the first day of Paris Fashion Week 2016, Dutch designer Liselore Frownijn, using Niki de Saint Phalle as a muse, paid homage to strong and artistic women with her collection ‘Let’s Hear It For The Lions’. The collection was made of voluminous tunics, curved bomber jackets and wide-legged trousers.
PARIS – MARCH, 1: Liselore Frown collection – Paris Fashion Week Fall 2016
Photo by Filep Motwary
‘They’re very naïvely done in a bold way with primary colors, bold shapes, round volumes, polka dots. It’s a very optimistic way of creating and I wanted to catch this energy that I got from her (Saint Phalle’s) work in the collection,’ says Frowijn.
Since 2015 the French stylist, Axelle Migé, behind the luxury brand Coppelia Pique, has created two collections inspired by Niki de Saint Phalle! Through her dresses she gives life to Tir, Nanas, Tarot Garden and, expressed in her own way, the macabre tension surrounding La Mariée.
Photo montage source: http://www.coppeliapique.com/home.php
Tir (Old Master), 1961 © Niki Charitable Art Foundation. All rights reserved.
La mariée, (Eva maria), 1963 collection Centre George Pompidou © Niki Charitable Art Foundation. All rights reserved.
Nana Hannover – Caroline, 1973 – photo: wikipedia
Niki de Saint Phalle hoped her Spirit would live on through her art, and inspire generations through time. Fashion may be ephemeral but Niki de Saint Phalle’s influence continues!
Next time, we will discuss how Niki de Saint Phalle used Fashion to create her artistic persona…