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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Flyer on the Wall

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The fourth and final installment from item idem on his SWAP collaboration with Andrea Crews collective...

Looking back, I can say with certainty that we accomplished our mission with SWAP, to express ideas and images through a combination of media: a pop-up shop, a window display, products, performances and blogs. SWAP even appeared in the Fashion Scoops section of Women's Wear Daily, featuring the final state as a window installation at colette. Yet, ironically, these successes might have unraveled the entire SWAP enterprise, because that same window was taken down a day early, following a polite request from Louis Vuitton, who apparently didn't like our reappropriation of their bags.

Far from an attack on Louis Vuitton's image or logotype, the SWAP project was merely an attempt to share ideas through art and fashion. For the six of its seven scheduled days, the window was extremely popular, drawing reactions of all kinds. I remember Andie MacDowell passing by and taking pictures with her mobile phone, while a few minutes later, an elderly woman denounced the window as very ugly. Personally, I am never that interested in good versus bad; I am more focused on the background noise and the intensity of reactions, whatever they may be. I believe this is what the artistic endeavor is all about, to provoke vivid emotions and engender new ways of thinking. Still, despite the early dismantling, Hint remains a fantastic window to express how pleasantly surprised I am to attract Louis Vuitton's attention with our humble project, yet also disappointed that passersby couldn't enjoy SWAP on the last day.

I'd like to thank all the actors and partners of the SWAP project for their generous participation, especially Sarah from colette, whose positive attitude and affection for experimentation is a model for us all. SWAP will be back!

Photos by Baudouin

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

More from item idem on his SWAP collaboration with Andrea Crews collective...

The opening of the SWAP SHOP at Andrea Crews was surreal. The studio is located in the red-light district of Paris, so we were surrounded by sex shops and strip bars with exquisite names like Dirty Dick and Lorelei (which had a facade straight out of Bernhard Willhelm's most Tyrolean dream). Adding to the atmosphere, a fantastic Brazilian wedding was taking place next door in a night club. We managed to have the bride pose with us (in our Louis Vuitton armor) before she got totally drunk and rode off in her wedding car.

Michel Gaubert, in Andrea Crews' Bibi Chignon hat, prepared a great musical selection for Mai Ueda to perform her hits "Don't Call Me Elephant" and "I Want to Buy Some Clothes." He also played a lot of classical music, including Stravinsky, and even some unknown tracks from Dada artist Francis Picabia. Out front, for the pleasure of many Parisian hipsters who stopped by, we set up a trampoline that I had tagged with the copyright symbol and the item idem logo, made from the Nintendo font.

Michel Gaubert, Mai Ueda

The SWAP SHOP was certainly a unique project and probably the shortest pop-up store ever, open for only an afternoon. We all like the idea of a conceptual art and fashion exhibition based on products, not artworks. We also wanted to stage an exhibition with a complex vocabulary and evolution, from its conception months ago to the launch of the SWAP SHOP and the window display at colette, ending with a party at Le Baron. Then, of course, finally immortalized on Hint.

Next, I will show you my SWAP window at colette.

Photos by PLAY

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Friday, April 18, 2008

item idem, with an update on his SWAP collaboration with Andrea Crews collective...

The core of my aesthetic is being slowly, methodically dissected by the Andrea Crews team, while Jean-Michel Bertin, an up-and-coming set designer and collaborator with Louis Vuitton, Lacroix, Pharrell Williams and Justice, is bringing clever and creative solutions to the mix, with a smart understanding of time, space and budget constraints. Currently, we are setting up a gold and black dance floor tile for Mai Ueda to perform on—it's very slick. The rest of the space at SWAP SHOP is full of huge monolithic styrofoam blocks and colorful Louis Vuitton patterns mixed with copyright and anarchy symbols. On April 21, we'll launch our colette window, where we'll display a fleet of rebranded products, including colette stationery, shopping bags, a limited-edition tee, art notebooks (already a must-have!), sunglasses with wigs and a fake Rolex in the shape of a Coke container (inspired by my classic Caniche Courage watch, sold for a long time at colette and Palais de Tokyo). Meanwhile, Laurène Vernet, who heads up the graphic design team of Andrea Crews, has created a new totem—inspired by my emblematical "robo logo"—that will cover an entire wall of the exhibition space. And tomorrow, Andrea Crews founder Maroussia Rebecq will shoot a new outfit produced by her studio and inspired by my latest sculptural piece of clothing: Louis Vuitton bags converted into samurai armor and decorated with TV test patterns. You can see it here. More later!

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An introduction to SWAP by item idem (aka Cyril Duval), a self-described international conceptualist puppeteer...

The last few days in Paris have seen the launch of SWAP, a multi-disciplinary-art-meets-D.I.Y-fashion project, and the brainchild of myself and Maroussia Rebecq of the Parisian fashion collective Andrea Crews. SWAP is a concept rooted in Bernhard Willhelm's boutique in Tokyo (which I had the pleasure of designing) and it started from a simple question: If an artist can create a shop for a fashion designer, can a fashion designer produce an artist's exhibition? Thus, teaming up with retail legend colette, online fashion nexus Hintmag.com, Michel Gaubert and Japanese musician Mai Ueda, SWAP presents no art, appearing only through ephemeral interiors and events that examine the role of the artist through marketing and branding.

Stay tuned for more posts on the evolution of the SWAP project, including the opening of the SWAP SHOP at Andrea Crews (April 19), the spectacular SWAP WINDOW at colette (April 21 - 26) and the SWAP DANCE at Le Baron club.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Johannes Thumfart and Rachel de Joode hustle over to Andrea Crews...

Andrea Crews is not a person, but a fashion collective with a shop and studio in Paris' red-light district of Pigalle. When describing the look, its mastermind Maroussia Rebecq was quick to let us know that the street-walkers outside would probably wear her clothes with the same conviction as the hipsters and fashion-drunk Japanese who blow through. "We do not believe in taboos," she said. "Ni maitre, ni dieu was the slogan of the French Revolution, and it's ours, too."

Befitting the anarcho-democratic, anti-authoritarian vision of the label, Maroussia herself is not a designer, but a conceptual artist who admits she has no idea how to make fashion. Instead, she gives the vaguest of instructions to her crack team, who then bang out naive-style pieces from vintage fabrics. Highlights include hoodies that transform into skirts, geometric overalls made from forgotten neon scraps and gigantic padded necklaces and rings.

A collaboration with Nike is in the works. Until then, you can find Andrea Crews at Colette in Paris and Henrik Vibskov's Copenhagen shop.

Text by Johannes Thumfart, photos by Rachel de Joode

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