A M/M (Paris) work for the collector Dakis Ioannou inspired by a Balenciaga shoe.
"Their world is like a labyrinth and there's always a new path. You don't know where you're going, but it takes you to another world", Nicolas Ghesquière - Balenciaga (via anothermag.com).
''Fashion and Art: Two paths in parallel'' was the title of my dissertation for my Bachelor's degree in Fashion Design & Production. My unsolved questions at the time were: ''Where are the boundaries between fashion and art'' and ''Why the works of famous artists like James Jean for Prada or Richard Prince for Louis Vuitton are not considered art? Can the clothes, bags and accessories become equal to the works of art like a painting or a sculpture since their print design came from the hands of an artist or there are elements on their prints from their works of art that at the same time are exhibited in galleries and belong to famous collectors?''. I guess you got the idea of my resonance, right?
It was then that I first discovered the work of the design duo Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak, better known as M/M - it is pronounced em em (paree)- two of the most defining creatives of their generation and to my opinion most innovative in terms of 'newness' in their imagery. While doing my research for my thesis, I read an article on the well-known Greek art collector Dakis Ioannou and his decision to open-up to the world of fashion by building slowly a new collection. The design duo M/M were the first to be appointed with the task.
Do you recognise the shoe above? Well, yes....You guessed right! It's the infamous Balenciaga shoe from back in 2008. Their inspiration came from five distinctive creations of the same season, which they then translated with their unique 'writing' into works of art. Together, they have realised some of the most striking visuals of the past two decades – including artwork for Björk, iconic campaigns for Balenciaga, Calvin Klein and Jil Sander, beautiful catalogues for Yohji Yamamoto, model alphabets, art posters for Sarah Morris and book covers for Hans Ulrich Obrist.
But I guess, you must be wondering why I am writing for them right? Why does this have to be interesting for you. Well they recently published a monograph showcasing their 20 years of work and creativity. Here is what they said about not designing the book by themselves:
''The book was designed by Graphic Thought Facility. "They are good friends of ours and we trust them", Michael explains. "We've always been close even though our work is very different. When we were approached to do the book, it took as a while to convince Thames & Hudson that we didn't want to design the book ourselves; we are too close to the work. It was important for us to put ourselves in the position that we have put so many other artists – what it feels like to put our work in the hands of someone else."
An M/M (Paris) work inspired by the Louis Vuitton collection.
An M/M (Paris) work inspired by the Comme des Garcons hat.
Calvin Klein spring/summer 2001 advertising.
The suggestion was that Mr Klein might have picked up the red and blue pens and written his own name.
Givenchy Haute Couture autumn/winter 2008 invitation folder
The Conversation series, 2006–11
Jil Sander Spring/Summer 1996 advertising
Théâtre de Lorient: Savannah Bay, 2002
Yohji Yamamoto spring/summer 2000 catalogue
M to M of M/M (Paris) is published by Thames & Hudson. Their exhibition Carpetalogue, 1992-2012 runs at Gallery Libby Sellers from October 10–December 15, 2012. Click here to view M/M (Paris) beautiful website. M/M (Paris) are also present in the social media, communicating to their worldwide audience via twitter and facebook. #modern
So, do you like the M/M's of fashion, as much as I do?
P.S In case you were wondering, I got a distinction in my thesis! ;)