Miuccia Prada has always been a master of timing: by drawing on a handful of eras and locations, she continually manages to reinterpret the past without feeling overtly retro, and succeeds instead by maintaining a precocious, modern and relevant approach to history. From spring 2011s Hawaiian panorama panache to spring 2012s 1950s swinging sweathearts, the Italian designer has aninnate archival ability to hone in on a zeitgeist before many of her competitors, striking popularity with seasoned fashion editors and the young celebrities alike.
It is only natural then, that her intuitive creativity would spark an artistic collaboration with Milanese artist Francesco Vezzoli, a Central St. Martin’s alum who has collaborated with the likes of Lady Gaga and Frank Ghery, for a fleeting 24 Hours in Paris’ beautiful 16th arrondissement. Taking place at the historic Palaisd’Iena, an original design by AugustePerret, the classical venue now boasts the CESE and, for anephemeral 24 hours, Vezzoli’s hot pink fluorescently lit galactic installationin its athree-partmuseum space.
Launching on Tuesday, the 24th of January, the inaugurationbegan with an exclusive invite only cocktail, followed by a dinner for close friends, editors and industry elite (hosted inside the museum by Miuccia Prada herself),and ended with an all-night a dance party attended by the likes of Diane Kruger, Salma Hayek, Dita Von Teese and the very best DJ, Kate Moss. On Wednesday morning the museum opened to the public for a mere five hours, followed by a press walk through and exclusive, invite only guided tours for students: amongthemwas IFA’s Bachelor of Fashion Design and Technology class. IFA’s Paris location, in the increasingly trendy textiles district of the 10th arrondissement, allowed students the privilege to attend one of fashion and art’s most influential artistic collaborations during the Haute Couture spring shows in the heart of the fashion capital.
The students were pleasantly surprised when the founding artist, Franco Vezzoli personally introduced the IFA class to the 24h concept.“I was absolutely blown away when the artist and creator of the museum, Francesco Vezzoli came over to introduce himself and the concept behind the museum to us. It was totally unexpected! The fact that this world renowned artist, who has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga, Helen Mirren and Natalie Portman would take the time to speak with us was enough to make my evening!” exclaimed Davinia Vitrac, a second year Bachelor of Fashion Design and Technology student from New York. After a brief introduction of the ‘non-existent’ museum concept, he encouraged the group to independently investigate the three areas of space: historic, contemporary and forgotten.
"I found the exhibition exciting. I thought Francesco Vezzoli's ability to take the structure out of a classic museum is parallel to life, which I found refreshing and original," says Australian international student Edwina Grace Kent. And that’s exactly what he did. While the ‘historic’ theatre played vintage film footage, the focal point of the building was the grand staircase with an angelic cartoonesque diva perched precariously – almost floating – in the center with the Facebook icon ‘Like’ emblazoned across her bust. Diva like images of modern day muses and celebrities, such as Britney Spears, posted on Roman marble columns in a unique modern threshold of art, architecture and socioeconomics (the current venue exists today as le Conseil Economique, Social et Environnemental) filled the contemporary area of the museum.Vezzoli found a means to engage our society - a people so fascinated with instant gratification through technology - with the idea of a ‘non-existent’ place and time.
The forum was less existential than it sounds, however, as the culmination of its three areas historic, contemporary and forgotten (note: forgoing the labels past, presentand future) drew a more cohesive ethos from the artist, as opposed to a cyclical one. And that particular precipice exemplifies the engaging subject matter that keeps Prada a relevant brand today. Miuccia sees beyond the tangible design of luxury Italian goods and creates a higher artistic, poetic vision. After attending Prada’s exclusive event, some of the students reflected that, “It makes the visitors feel quite special, if the museum they enter only exists for 24hours.” What an important concept to learn during Haute Couture week. Standing out and taking risks is important sometimes because safe isn’t going to get you talked about, is it?