Sonia Delaunay: Textile Maverick

Banner courtesy of Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

So much has been said about the storied intersection of art and fashion in the 20th century– and art ‘appreciation’ has become such a seamless part of the design process for many working designers  today–  that it almost feels redundant to examine this oft-traveled crossroads.  However, amongst the more flamboyant, outré creations of infamously art-smitten designers like Elsa Schiaparelli and Yves Saint Laurent, it’s worth remembering that there were also artists who dabbled in fashion.  New York’s Cooper-Hewitt museum currently hosts the oeuvre of one such artists, Sonia Delaunay, whose artwork and legacy of vibrant textiles continues to inspire and seduce the design world today.  “Dabbled” may be too casual a word for a woman whose decades-long career included a long-term collaboration producing textile designs for Amsterdam’s department store, Metz & Co. as well as for her own studio, the Atelier Simultané, trademarked as the Maison Delaunay.  Exploring the idea of simultaneity, or the sense of movement created by the juxtaposition of different colors within one pattern or painting, Delaunay and her husband, Robert, are credited as the founders of a branch of cubism known as ‘Orphism’ or ‘Orphic Cubism.’  Mirroring these ideas and motifs in her textiles, Sonia’s work was [and is] resolutely modern– and resonates today with a number of labels and designers, notably Marni, Prada, and Proenza Schouler of late– while sure to influence legions more to come.  For more on Delaunay, be sure to look at Stylesight’s S/S 12 Runway Roadmap: Pop Haus and stay tuned for more in-depth coverage on this textile maverick.

Color Moves: Art & Fashion by Sonia Delaunay runs through June 5, 2011 at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Open Monday – Friday, 10am-5pm & Friday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm.

Sonia Delaunay in her Paris studio, 1925; Block-printed crepe de chine, 1928

Bathing suit designs by Delaunay circa 1920s; Two models in Delaunay beachwear, 1927

Block-printed cotton, 1926; coat made for Gloria Swanson, 1923-24; block-printed silk scarf, 1926

Printed crepe de chine samples for Metz & Co., 1936; Delaunay sketches circa 1920s

Abstract Diagonal Composition no. 1733, 1925; Delaunay gouache circa late 20s/early 30s

From L to R: Marni S/S 11; Proenza Schouler F/W 11; Prada S/S11; Proenza Schouler F/W 11

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