Fashion house retrospective lands in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 November, 2014, 10:31am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 November, 2014, 10:31am

Luxury brands have displayed considerable interest in the intersection between fashion and art in recent years.

Major projects include Louis Vuitton's recently unveiled Foundation for Creativity on the outskirts of Paris, and Chanel's Zaha Hadid-designed Mobile Art Pavilion, which toured Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Tokyo from 2008-10.

And now Prada is embracing the concept. From tomorrow until December 5, "Pradasphere", a free exhibition that catalogues the Italian label's fashion triumphs as well as its forays into architecture, cinema and publishing will open to the public atop Central ferry pier 4 in Hong Kong.

The project was conceived by Miuccia Prada, creative director Fabio Zambernardi and curator Michael Rock. Sheltered in a custom-built structure, the exhibit will present 60 complete looks as well as scores of shoes, bags and material samples.

There is also a lively display of campaign images and videos created in collaboration with cinema greats such as Roman Polanski, Wes Anderson, Ridley Scott and Yang Fudong. A VIP lounge overlooking the harbour will also be open for the duration of the show.

"Pradasphere is a serious curatorial attempt to understand the work of one of the world's most prolific and important designers," says Rock.

"It is not, in fact, about luxury at all. It is an exhibition about design and the way in which a designer engages content."

Hong Kong is the second destination for Pradasphere after its debut at Harrods in London earlier this year.

The exhibition is a condensed look at the fashion house with a focus on the 25 years that Miuccia Prada has been at the helm.

The selection of work is divided into six sections: origins, construction, observation, evolution, typologies and specimens. Each zone tackles themes that run through Prada's work, including the limits of extravagance, femininity and masculinity, animality, the evolution of the Prada philosophy and modernism.

"Fashion tends to be myopic: we tend to limit our perspective to the single season," Rock says.

"But stepping back and looking at an oeuvre as a whole, certain patterns emerge. We think of these patterns as the obsessions that direct the work of the designer."

Rock says visitors are often amazed that objects on display, some of which are a century old, feel incredibly modern. The same is said of Miuccia Prada's own work. "It is remarkable how work from two or three decades ago is completely compatible with work from last season. Prada is often thought of as a house that radically shifts from one season to the next. These displays belie that impression."

One of Rock's favourites is a dress adorned with multicoloured metallic sequins. Upon close inspection, they resemble flattened bottle caps.

"The garment embodies the Prada manipulation of the tension between the luxurious and the quotidian, high culture and pop culture, seriousness and playfulness," says Rock.