Here at Fashion Statement, we love high fashion. But we’re also enamoured with the world of fine art. And it’s hardly a surprise. Fashion and art share an undeniable link – they’re cut from the same creative cloth, if you will. They’re both beautiful forms of expressions. They’re both visual and socially influential. And there’s a sophisticated glam halo that surrounds both.
Today, the two worlds are becoming ever more blurred. Fashion houses are getting their art on like never before, becoming the art patrons of our time. On the flipside, designers are using paintings as the inspiration for their collections.
At the forefront of this movement is Prada, naturally. Already the brand of choice for stylish curators and gallery owners, the Italian fashion house took this synergy further when it opened its new, hugely anticipated Fondazione Prada in May 2015. Fondazione Prada was established in 1993 to bring the quartet of fashion, art, cinema and philosophy closer together, but with this new Milan venue (see what we would wear on a trip to the Fondazione Prada), the fast-growing foundation also has a gorgeous permanent space large enough to house something truly dazzling. And it sums up the Prada brand in a single work of architecture: heritage aware yet thoroughly 21st century.
The space is absolutely spectacular – and that’s thanks to starchitect Rem Koolhaas. His firm, OMA, converted a century-old distillery in the southern suburbs of Milan into this arts centre. And the celebrated Dutch architect clearly let his imagination run wild – the vast, sun-dappled central gallery leads into a haunted house clad in sumptuous 24-carat gold leaf, as well as a cinema camouflaged by mirrors. There’s also Bar Luce, the bar designed by quirky director and frequent Prada collaborator Wes Anderson, which brings in the local touch, with an atmosphere that evokes the sophisticated charm of a Milanese café.
And then there’s the art. The sculptures and paintings were chosen by Prada’s longtime curator Germano Celant, Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery in London and art historian Salvatore Settis, along with added contributions from Miuccia Prada and Koolhaas. The haunted house, the home of provocative art installations, features giant steel spider sculptures by Louise Bourgeois, an underground grotto by Thomas Demand, cars made of cigarettes by Sarah Lucas and comic films by Nathalie Djurberg. In addition to the permanent exhibitions, the Fondazione also holds periodic events, from high-profile art shows to film festivals and conferences.
Mrs Prada, famous for her intellectual approach to fashion, has often called beauty ‘bourgeois’, and in everything she does, her emphasis is on being original and breaking boundaries. Nothing could be more of a testament to her unique vision than the Fondazione Prada.