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Jack Moss

The moments fashion met art at the 60th Venice Biennale

Balenciaga venice store installation at Venice Biennale.

As Salone del Mobile wrapped up in Milan, eyes turned eastwards to the floating city of Venice, where this past weekend the 60th Venice Biennale was inaugurated with a typically packed roster of events and openings to cater to the thronging crowds from the art world and beyond. At its centre was the 60th International Art Exhibition, titled ’Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere’ – the Adriano Pedrosa-curated group exhibition paying ode to ’foreigners, immigrants, expatriates, diasporic, émigrés, exiled, [and] refugees’ – which was supported by Parisian fashion house Dior, a continuing nod to house founder Christian Dior’s roots as a gallerist in the 1920s and 30s.

Dior was not the only fashion house present, though. As ever, fashion brands and designers seized the opportunity to forge their cultural links to the arts – with Venice providing a typically seductive backdrop. These included Burberry’s sponsorship of the British Pavillion (to celebrate, a party at the city’s legendary watering hole Harry’s Bar), Golden Goose opening the doors to ’Haus’, a new multidisciplinary cultural space (their celebration comprised a vast candlelit dinner in the hangar-like main hall), and Tod’s celebration of Italian craftsmanship which coincided with their own sponsorship of the Italian Pavillion. Here, as the 60th Venice Biennale opens to the public, the best moments where fashion met art.

The best fashion moments at the 60th Venice Biennale

Setchu collaborate with Savile Row tailors Davies & Son at Palazzo Venier

Setchu x Davies & Son (Image credit: Courtesy of Setchu)

Sometimes it is illuminating to take the familiar out of context; such was the ambition behind Japanese label Setchu’s latest project, a collaboration with storied Savile Row tailor Davies & Son. Choosing to present the collaboration on neutral ground, the Palazzo Venier in Venice on the opening days of the Biennale, the presentation captured the uniqueness of the project, which traverses time and space. Central to the collaboration, which is led by Setchu designer Satoshi Kuwata – who originally trained on Savile Row – is an attempt to conceive a collection of truly contemporary tailoring, which melds Davies & Son’s time-honed techniques (it is the street’s oldest operating tailor shop) with Setchu’s unique take on the medium, which combines Western and Japanese approaches (Kuwata now lives and works in Milan). The result is three black-and-white outfits, for men or women, comprising sleek single-breasted overcoats and trousers, complete with Setchu’s signature sliced seams and darts which are edged with buttons. Completing the lineup is a pair of laceless shoes by cobbler George Cleverley, made from a single piece of leather. At the chic Venice installation – featuring Japanese objects, from paper lanterns died with sumi ink to ceramic stools and cerami mats – guests could set up appointments to be measured for the bespoke pieces. Further fittings will follow in Milan with Kuwata, in London at Davies & Son, or in New York City when the Davies & Son team travels stateside.

Burberry sponsors the British Pavillion, John Akomfrah’s ‘Listening All Night to The Rain’

John Akomfrah, whose is representing Britain at the Venice Biennale (Image credit: Photographer: Christian Cassiel. © John Akomfrah; Courtesy Lisson Gallery )

Since the beginning of his tenure, Yorkshire-born Burberry creative director Daniel Lee has been keen to celebrate Britain’s diverse cultural output. ‘[I want] to show a positive side of Britain to the world,’ he said after his debut in February 2023. ‘There is great music here, great theatre, great art. That’s something I missed in recent years and that’s what I’m trying to celebrate.’ Just over a year on – and two collections later – Lee is true to his word as Burberry becomes the headline sponsor of the British Pavilion for the second consecutive year. This year’s Pavilion comprises a commission by artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah titled ‘Listening All Night to The Rain’, a multi-layered, multi-media piece which looks towards the sea to explore issues from environmental decline to migration. I’d got to a point where I thought a lot of what I want to say involves trying to pull people into positions of listening,’ he told Wallpaper’s Hannah Silver. ’[The work] is both looking ahead to the things that we are definitely interested in the present, but a lot of it is also to do with the immediate past and the things we haven’t really paid attention to, [and] sometimes they are related. There’s much to hear.’ Read more.

The British Pavillion runs from Saturday 20 April to Sunday 24 November 2024.

Golden Goose continues its Haus of Dreamers project

Golden Goose ‘Marathon’ sneakers, which were customised by guests at the opening of the brand’s Haus cultural centre in Marghera, Venice (Image credit: Courtesy of Golden Goose)

Coinciding with the Biennale, Golden Goose opened the doors to ’Haus’, a multidisciplinary space in Marghera, an industrial suburb of Venice where the brand was founded in 2000. Comprising an academy, where over the Biennale’s opening weekend locals could attend a number of workshops and talks, an extensive archive of rare Golden Goose sneakers and clothing, an auditorium, and a vast hangar-like room where guests enjoyed a candlelit dinner on Friday evening, it will continue to evolve as the months go on. Earlier in the night, guests were taken on an immersive tour of the space, which included an opportunity to customise a pair of the brand’s new Marathon sneakers, inspired by 1970s and 1980s running shoes, alongside installations and performances by Argentinian visual artist Andrés Reisinger, Italian sculptor Fabio Viale, French-Italian painter Maïa Régis, and Puerto Rican singer Mia Lailani. Viale’s was perhaps the most striking of the evening: a vast burning pyre erected in the rectangular pool in the Haus’ forecourt. It follows last year’s Haus of Dreamers event, which introduced the project with a series of events across the floating city – including a spoken-word performance by Quannah Chasinghorse on the Rialto Bridge.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Golden Goose)

Tod’s celebrate the art of Venetian craftsmanship

Tod’s ’The Art of Craftsmanship’ project, featuring gold leaf artisan Mario Berta Battiloro (Image credit: Courtesy of Tod’s)

Tod’s’ involvement with the Venice Biennale this year was twofold. First, they were the sponsor of this year’s Italian Pavillion, which was titled ’Due qui / To Hear’ and created by artist Massimo Bartolini alongside curator Luca Cerizza at the Biennale’s Arsenale venue (the installation comprised a vast scaffolding maze, alongside a sound installation featuring music by Caterina Barbieri and Kali Malone, and British composer Gavin Bryars). Secondly, the Italian brand used the event to celebrate its own deep-rooted history of creation and craft by uniting with Venetian artisans to reinterpret the Tod‘s famed Gommino driving shoe. Cue a dramatic array of original works inspired by the perennial style, created by craftspeople working across mediums, from glassblower Roberto Beltrami and goldbeater Marino Menegazzo to traditional Venetian mask maker Sergio Boldrin. Meanwhile, a limited-edition collection of pieces, inspired by Venice, will be available for purchase.

The Italian Pavillion runs from Saturday 20 April to Sunday 24 November 2024.

Dior supports happenings across the city, including the Beinnale’s International Art Exhibition

The extravagant Naumachia Ball, with funds going to the Venetian Heritage Foundation (Image credit: Courtesy of Dior, photography © @Adrien Dirand and Pierre Mouton)

Christian Dior began his career not as a couturier, but as a gallerist, co-founding Paris’ Galerie Jacques Bonjean in 1928, before going on to be linked with Galerie Pierre Colle, which hosted works from artists including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. As such, art has long permeated the Dior universe, something celebrated this year in a wide-ranging sponsorship from the Parisian house which stretched across locations and events. First, Dior supported the Biennale’s main group exhibition (the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia), which this year was curated by the artistic director of the São Paulo Museum of Art, Adriano Pedrosa. Titled ’Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere’, Pedrosa said the exhibition paid ode to ’foreigners, immigrants, expatriates, diasporic, émigrés, exiled, [and] refugees—particularly those who have moved between the Global South and the Global North. Migration and decolonisation are key themes here.’

Elsewhere, the ’Cosmic Garden’ exhibition – which includes works by Madhvi Parekh and Manu Parekh created alongside the Chanakya School of Craft, with whom Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri has collaborated extensively – is supported by Dior at Salone Verde – Art & Social Club. Meanwhile, at Museo Fortuny, guests can discover Eva Jospin’s Selva exhibition, a Parisian artist whose layered cardboard grottos provided the backdrop to Dior’s S/S 2023 womenswear show. Finally, Dior also collaborated with the Venetian Heritage Foundation to partner on the extravagant Naumachia Ball on April 20, 2024 at the Arsenale Vecchio of Venice, with funds largely supporting the renovation of the Arsenale’s Porta Magna and the ’House of Gold’ Ca’d’Oro museum.

’Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere’ ,the International Art Exhibition of the 60th Venice Biennale runs from Saturday 20 April to Sunday 24 November 2024.

Balenciaga spotlights the Rodeo bag with theatrical installation

Balenciaga’s San Marco Venice store, which staged a theatrical installation celebrating the Rodeo bag (Image credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga)

For the Biennale, Balenciaga transformed its Venice store into a red-curtained installation to celebrate the arrival of the brand‘s summer collection (the S/S 2024 show itself had featured a similarly theatrical set). In particular, the Rodeo bag, a roomy, vintage-inspired handbag which can be customised with a multitude of playful charms in creative director Demna’s typically idiosyncratic style. 14 unique iterations were available to Venice shoppers, while the installation was celebrated with a cocktail on April 18.

Louis Vuitton brings French artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest to Venice

Ernest Pignon-Ernest ’Si je reviens’, Roma (2015) part of the ’Je Est Un Autre’ exhibition at Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia (Image credit: Photography courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co, Ernest Pignon-Ernest-Adagp, Paris 2024)

Fondation Louis Vuitton, the LVMH Group’s vast cultural outpost in Paris, brought French artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest to Venice for this year’s Biennale, staging an exhibition of his work at the Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia (the foundation’s Venice oupost, close to the famed Piazza San Marco). Titled ’Je Est Un Autre’, the exhibition – conceived by Pignon-Ernest for the space – continues his exploration of ’the foreigner’, a perennial theme which has run throughout his oeuvre since he began his career in the 1960s. An early proponent of street art – with works appearing in places across the world, including Naples, Rome, Soweto, Haiti, Paris and Algiers – his pieces often feature portraits of figures who operated on the margins, from Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, who travelled across the country to escape persecution from the Soviet regime, to Arthur Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud, Jean Genet, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. The new exhibition is curated by Suzanne Pagé and Hans Ulrich Obrist, in dialogue with Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster.

Ernest Pignon-Ernest ’Je Est Un Autre’ runs at Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia from Saturday 20 April to Sunday 24 November 2024.

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