Each vogue week brings high designers into dialogue with the most important and budding names in visible artwork. The newest such collaboration got here courtesy of Loewe, an trade darling for its radical but wearable wardrobe.
Loewe partnered with artist Julien Nguyen for its Fall/Winter 2023 Paris Vogue Week present this month. The Washington, D.C.–born, Los Angeles-based artist makes loads of 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 interior logic of any pressing dream.
Two of his work, Govt Operate and Govt Options, each from 2017, had been included in that yr’s Whitney Biennial. They had been populated with skeletons, angelic allusions, and nudes, all hearkening to Renaissance masters like Sandro Botticelli. However relatively than seeming staid or stale, these components had been proven framed, in preparations that recalled the entrance web page of the New York Occasions.
Nguyen’s first solo exhibition, “Tremendous-predators,” at Freedman Fitzpatrick in Los Angeles, featured extra tableaux plagued 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 non-public emotions, in addition to two digital artworks that function Nikos in a lodge in Paris.
“I believe one of many issues I’ve been fascinated about is how one’s life matches into one’s work,” Nguyen stated throughout a recorded dialog with Loewe’s creative director, Jonathan Anderson. “I believe by working with such a well-recognized topic I can pull out one thing weirder than I might be capable to if I used to be pondering extra traditionally, or topically or conceptually.”
The miniature was performed within the model 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 court docket artist, Hilliard created a few 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 towards a superb blue background, a nod to the well-known hue Hilliard utilized in his portraits.
“What’s so pretty concerning the historic strategies that I discover myself drawn to,” Nguyen stated, “are these items that folks have troubleshooted over centuries; via fixed experimentation you arrive at incongruous mixtures of supplies and methods of doing issues.
“Custom is thrilling to me,” he added, “not custom for its personal sake however as like a fossil file of individuals making an attempt to determine one thing.”