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Naughty Nymphs

Posted on: 31 January 2008

I love illustration especially when its thrown into the world of fashion. The Likes of Lislotte Watkins to whom i spent a whole year obsessing over during my A Level Art to the many others that feature in my well worn,Fashion Illustration Now book.

So when i heard about the collaboration between James Jean, a Taiwanese-American illustrator and DC Comics cover artist and Miuccia Prada, I was intrigued. Especially when i l learned that they would be using his 'naughty nymphs' fairy designs (apparently they are seductive nymphs rather than fairies). His images have been used in the Spring advertising campaign, alongside their fashion show and also feature in print-form on their garments. A selection of wallpapers from the collaboration between Prada and 2x4 (art design team) is currently on display at the Architecture and Design gallery at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

However, that's not all she will also be unveiling a short 4 minute illustrated film, Trembled Blossoms at her Soho Boutique on Feb 5th, right in the middle of NY fashion week.
The film is an extension of the illustrations by James Jean, evoking fantastical fairies, flowers and suggestions of Aubrey Beardsley, Art Nouveau and even Hieronymus Bosch.
The concept of the film is linked to the motions of a dancer playing a nymph (from James Jean's illustrations) who has had small tracking reflectors on her body which have been captured and recorded, then digitally superimposed onto the drawings. It is meant to evoke the lush animation of Disney in the 1930s-40s.

This collaboration could be seen as innovative and i have read many thoughts that deem it as being so creative that it pushes Prada right to the creative forefront. I'd like to differ because in regards to video installations in the past, it has all been done before, and is not a new concept. Just what is it that is seen as innovative? Surely it just highlights the technology used by the art&design and film teams championing James Jean's illustrations (obviously great exposure for him as an illustrator) What does it say about Prada other than incorporating the dream-like sequence to their S/S collection, does it really say anything about innovation?. We might refer to YSL's Stefano Pilati forgoeing the traditional runway this year and who showed his collection in customised showrooms and through a video installation during Paris Fashion week. Particularly with YSL, is this the way forward? Where fashion becomes further removed from the viewers? I'm not so sure but it's an interesting thought and one i will be thinking about, especially if the video makes its way on to the Prada Website.

For now though, i can only imagine the fashion elite watching frolicking nymphs and disney-esque animation surrounded by Prada Shoes, clothes and the like, while clinking glasses and eating canop├ęs. Somewhat Surreal don't you think?

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