If you walked by Mona Moore towards the beginning of this year, you likely came across an alluring window presentation. Five mannequins stood facing the viewer, each wearing garments that weren't garments at all...
In February of 2016, Victoria Andrejeva, mastermind behind Cherevichkiotvichki, took a creative approach to presenting the S/S '16 collection. The Lithuanian artisan created an installation that featured five mannequins wrapped in various objects of nature serving to represent the dyeing process she uses for her garments and shoes.
Andrejeva intricately adorned the mannequins with fresh eucalyptus leaves, fine string-bound fabric rolls, soaked eucalyptus leaves, naked eucalyptus branches, and red dyed linen twine. The result displayed various textures and an array of Earthy hues. The intriguing vision drew the curious viewer into the shop. Within, the other half of the presentation was revealed.
Another row of five mannequins faced the inside of Mona Moore, mirroring the assemblage in the window. This row was dressed in pieces from the S/S '16 collection. The two rows served to represent the past and the present: the dyeing process of the clothing (occurring in the past) mirroring the finished product, the clothing itself (existing in the present.)
Andrejeva described it as "two rows of women. One - imaginary, and another - very real; as if they are shadowing each other."
Finally, two opposing aged convex mirrors created a distorted illusion of "the present past."
All nature-sourced objects incorporated in the window display were components of the Earth-based dyeing method that Andrejeva used for the S/S '16 collection as well as many eucalyptus-dyed items in her other collections. This method was used long before artificial dyes were created, and not as often since. Combined with Andrejeva's use of traditional craftsmanship and shoemaking techniques, the plant-based dying process contributes to Cherevichkiotvichki's distinct look: a refreshing taste of authenticity that is commonly absent in the synthetic appearance of modern clothing, accessories and shoes.
"PRESENT-PAST: A SHADOW OF THE PROCESS"
Stepping away from the world of fashion, we find someone else decorating the female body with objects of nature.
Earlier this Fall, I visited the Lois Lambert Gallery in Santa Monica, California. On display was an exquisite series of photographs by visual artist Miguel Milló titled "Of The Earth."
Milló's process of creating the pieces for this series is conceptual in itself. The artist spends several hours preparing the model to be photographed. He begins by covering their body and face in clay. He then paints them using natural pigments from India. The models are then adorned with various vegetables, fruits, and plants.
During the entirety of the process, a live band plays improvisational music, creating an atmosphere wherein Milló can channel his concept into visuals.
Once the models--which he refers to as "canvases of flesh"--have been covered in layers of color and texture, they are photographed.
The series of photographs serves to represent the connection between humanity and nature. From Milló's perspective, labels intended to categorize humans are irrelevant. "We are all from the Earth, and when we are buried we go back to it, making us all one." In decorating the models he works with until their identities are no longer visible, he attempts to portray the concept of equality.
"OF THE EARTH"
Both creators incorporate objects of nature as key elements in their work.
Andrejeva chooses to use eucalyptus and twine rather than artificial dyes and materials, infusing her creations with a certain authenticity unique to Cherevichkiotvichki.
Milló uses objects of nature to convey a concept of interconnectivity. This series, as well as his others, transform the simplest components--human, plant, color--into something stunning.
Bridging connections between the worlds of fashion and of art, Andrejeva and Milló's work emphasize the value of that which is created by the greatest artist of all: Earth.