Every style week brings prime designers into dialogue with the most important and budding names in visible artwork. The newest such collaboration got here courtesy of Loewe, an business darling for its radical but wearable wardrobe.
Loewe partnered with artist Julien Nguyen for its Fall/Winter 2023 Paris Fashion Week present this month. The Washington, D.C.–born, Los Angeles-based artist makes numerous off-kilter work the place artwork historical past and speculative fiction collide along with his private life. The outcomes are sometimes saturated and surreal, however include the inner logic of any pressing dream.
Two of his work, Executive Function and Executive Solutions, each from 2017, have been included in that 12 months’s Whitney Biennial. They have been populated with skeletons, angelic allusions, and nudes, all hearkening to Renaissance masters like Sandro Botticelli. But fairly than seeming staid or stale, these parts have been proven framed, in preparations that recalled the entrance web page of the New York Times.
Nguyen’s first solo exhibition, “Super-predators,” at Freedman Fitzpatrick in Los Angeles, featured extra tableaux affected by pop cultural crossovers: aliens and former presidents and noble wraiths mingling in a Boschian pit of horror.
For Loewe, Nguyen created three artworks: a miniature watercolor on vellum of his muse Nikos embellished with pithy messages and symbols that allude to personal emotions, in addition to two digital artworks that characteristic Nikos in a resort in Paris.
“I think one of the things I’ve been interested in is how one’s life fits into one’s work,” Nguyen stated throughout a recorded dialog with Loewe’s creative director, Jonathan Anderson. “I think by working with such a familiar subject I can pull out something more strange than I would be able to if I was thinking more historically, or topically or conceptually.”
The miniature was achieved within the fashion of the Elizabethan portraitist Nicholas Hilliard, for whom each Nguyen and Anderson share an admiration — or “obsession,” as each the artist and the designer stated. A well-liked courtroom artist, Hilliard created a number of the most delicate, detailed miniatures of his time.
Nguyen’s miniature was featured on the invitation to the present. In it, Nikos is painted in opposition to an excellent blue background, a nod to the well-known hue Hilliard utilized in his portraits.
“What is so lovely about the historical techniques that I find myself drawn to,” Nguyen stated, “are this stuff that individuals have troubleshooted over centuries; by way of fixed experimentation you arrive at incongruous combos of supplies and methods of doing issues.
“Tradition is exciting to me,” he added, “not tradition for its own sake but as like a fossil record of people trying to figure out something.”