Prints in Harmony

Arthur Arbesser’s Spring Summer 19 collection for Milan Fashion Week is an ode to the art of two artists, Italian sculptor and ceramicist Fausto Melotti and Austrian sculptor Vally Wieselthier, linking the personal history of the designer in Austria and Italy to the collection in a cascade of prints.

2019-04-04 | byKatie McKnoulty

_mint edit

Campaign @arthurarbesser SS19, photo by @driuandtiago
Campaign @arthurarbesser SS19, photo by @driuandtiago

The theme of Arthur Arbesser’s Spring Summer 19 collection is showing the finished piece as well as the way it came into being. He was inspired by the artist’s studio as both a concept—a space where ideas are born—and as the actual place to shoot the campaign for the collection. The result is a swirl of prints, colourful yet cool in their restraint, retro with just enough hint of modernity to make everything very wearable.

Astratta print @arthurarbesser SS19
Astratta print @arthurarbesser SS19

“Art, architecture and the life of its creators is definitely my passion so it’s only natural that I feel attracted to their work and their stories. I guess every creative person is sensitive and curious so what surrounds us, what we grow up with or what we discover on the way is fundamental to one’s aesthetic. In my case it was art so I’ll automatically always go back there.”

On his personal connection to art as a fashion designer, he explains “Art, architecture and the life of its creators is definitely my passion so it’s only natural that I feel attracted to their work and their stories. I guess every creative person is sensitive and curious so what surrounds us, what we grow up with or what we discover on the way is fundamental to one’s aesthetic. In my case it was art so I’ll automatically always go back there.”

The collection was inspired by two different artists, a nod to Arbesser’s upbringing in Vienna and his history living and working in Milan. He tells me that Italy has influenced him artistically in “the sense of aesthetic, colour, a certain lightness and this Italian way of miraculously always making things fall into place.” He adds, “Milan showed me lots of new artists, I discovered a lot more about architecture and design and of course lots of Italian music. I think it gave my slightly rigorous Viennese way of designing something playful and light.”

On his Austrian background, “growing up in Vienna with my ‘culture nerd’ parents has been fundamental to me. Turn of the century architecture and design but also this grand, imperial city with a melancholic look to the past have all been very influential for me.”

@arthurarbesser SS19 look, photo by @henrik_blomqsvist
@arthurarbesser SS19 look, photo by @henrik_blomqsvist
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“The incredible elegance and sophistication of his work, it really represents for me a certain Italian self-assured, intellectual, organic simplicity (…)

The works of Italian sculptor Fausto Melotti are referenced heavily in the collection, where the artist explored themes including natural order, geometry and harmony. A signature horse figurine of Melotti’s as well as a swirling painted print from one of his ceramic pieces appear printed on key pieces. On Melotti, he tells me, “The incredible elegance and sophistication of his work, it really represents for me a certain Italian self-assured, intellectual, organic simplicity (…) There is a timeless, naive, dreamy quality to it that attracted me immediately when I discovered his work upon moving to Milan 13 years ago.”

Viennese Sculptor Vally Wieselthier is an influence too: surreal elements of the collection refer to the Austrian artist’s face, a wise feminine force. Wieselthier inspired the collection with “her bold colour combinations, sense of humour and also her persona as a feisty female ceramic artist in the Viennese art scene in the 1920s.”

Sequins appear for the first time in the designer’s history, creating a geometric print on dresses, turtlenecks and even shoes. Harlequin and geometric prints sit alongside painted abstract textiles in a collection that certainly feels more Italian than Austrian in its influences. The unbridled creativity of the artist and the studio space seek to find order and harmony in form through the contrasting silhouettes, both neat lines and more soft draping, of the garments in this collection.

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