admin On settembre - 25 - 2012

Art met fashion when la petite robe noire worn by Madam X in John Singer Sargent’s painting inspired Coco Chanel’s little black dress. Chiara Boni, the Italian sophisticated fashion designer of the brand La Petite Robe has always been avant-guard in combing fashion shows with unconventional locations.

This time the lady of the catwalk has involved the students of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts for an exhibit-event entitled “Performing Shapes”, “Elaborare la forma, Vestire il corpo”.

Midnight blue, geranium, wisteria, mint, barolo, gentian, orchid, emerald green, and last but not least black and white. All these shiny shades embody the collection Spring-Summer 2013. Tactile perceptions, metropolitan outwear, delicate materials blend the posh trait of Chiara Boni’s La Petite Robe creations with the sensitive talent of Brera’s young artists.

Why did you choose this title for the show and why did you choose to collaborate with the Accademia of Brera?

It’s been a long time since I was hoping to do something with the Accademia of Brera, as it’s always been such a wonderful inspiration to see all the artists at work. Amongst these is a good friend of mine, Laura Panno, she’s a painter and a sculptress. As she also teaches in Brera I told her about my idea: I wanted to give my dresses to the students so that they could elaborate them with their personal artistic flair. She liked the idea, so the students came to my showroom and we discussed the whole project together and we came up with the title “Elaborare la forma”, “Performing shapes.” So the students changed them to their own will. Some dresses are still wearable, others have completed morphed into different shapes, I’m really satisfied with the outcome.

What was it like to work with these young students?

I love to be around young people. In the last few years whatever we did, was always with universities, for instance we shot a short movie with some film-making students, we also did a photo-story, once again with some students studying art department and photography, we also had an actual fashion show with the High School Parini, and finally this year with the Accademia of Brera.

What advice would you give to these young artists?

Not to think that once they’ve finished school they know everything. The beauty of all jobs, even non-artistic ones, is to be triggered by the continuous pursuit of discovery. One must never believe to have arrived to destination, there is always something to learn.

Why and how did you become a fashion designer?

When I was a young girl being a fashion designer wasn’t really a profession. I liked so much dresses and dreamt of having a boutique, because I didn’t know that you could actually design clothes. My mother hated the idea of having a daughter with a boutique, because at that time these women were usually associated with the lovers of highly established men. So I had to be an antique dealer for a year, then once I got married, I straight away opened another shop with a couple of friends, but we had to be artisans since we couldn’t get a license to sell things. That is the reason why I become a designer, because then I could handicraft my clothes for my own shop.

What is the hallmark of your creed that derived from that shop?

My first shop was called “You Tarzan, Me Jane,” as it was an Off-Broadway Play, which was very feminist and it inverted the well-known phrase pronounced in the movie with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan “Me Tarzan, You Jane.” In the play Jane teaches Tarzan to speak, and the roles are re-established in the name of girl power, thus “You Tarzan, Me Jane.” It’s a way to restore the vision of how women are in charge of matters.

What is your relationship with art, how does it influence your creations?

Books and art influence me a lot. Perhaps books even more, when I read my mind wanders and I start visualising what the characters are wearing. Art as well is very important, visiting museums or exhibitions is always a great source of inspiration. Even just walking in the city gives a variety of inputs to my vivid imagination.

You consider yourself a self-taught-person, nowadays young people tend to overspecialise collecting many university degrees, do you think that in creative fields this could lead to a backflow?

In my time there was no fashion school whatsoever. Probably today the worst thing of being over-prepared is that once graduates get out of university they feel as if they don’t have to start from the basics. As for the backflow of creativity it much depends on the teachers, because young people are like sponges and they absorb everything that is thrown at them, so teachers have a great responsibility. But this of course embraces all fields, not just fashion.

Publishing, Television, Film, Food, Politics, School, Photography, Visual Art,…is there a field that you and your La Petite Robe haven’t explored yet that you would wish to try?

There is always an untrodden path. Right now I’m very focused on my work, but there is no particular collaboration I have yet come up with. I am elaborating something but it’s still somewhat of a cloud, it’s up there waiting to be moulded in my head.

By Chiara Spagnoli





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