Text by Lydia Kamitsis / Exhibition Curator
In French the name is an exclamation of surprise, bordering on annoyance: “On Aura Tout Vu”, which roughly translates as “you think you’ve seen it all”, neatly sums up the project of Livia Stoianova, Yassen Samouilov and André de Sà Pessoa. An association of three iconoclasts trained in the fine and applied arts in Sofia, Lisbon, New York, Versailles and Paris, two of them Bulgarian and the other Portuguese, but Parisians through and through, the on aura tout vu collective has carved out a unique niche in the fashion world. Installed in the Palais Royal since 1998, their couture house is a multiform creative adventure that deliberately eschews labels, in both senses of the word : on aura tout vu resists the downward drag of conformism, freely exploring a variety of artistic expressions.
Embroidery, painting, sculpture, welding and sewing all play a part in the creation of original textures that are made out of mixtures, juxtaposition, superposition and hybridization. Their method applies just as well to jewellery and accessories as it does to clothing, technological artefacts, textile sculptures, cases, bottles and furniture, and comes across as a jubilant exploration, a permanent challenge to the dogma of good taste. Offbeat in every respect, their work overwhelms by the ambiguity of its messages, the sheer extent of its productions, the eclecticism of its frames of reference. Their inspiration is not drawn from the history of styles. Instead their collections are built on metaphors, poetical evocations of the world, critical yet amused observations of contemporary society. Fashion according to on aura tout vu is never a re-creation of bygone modes, as the momentum inherent to their work is not driven by nostalgia.
A dash of surrealism, an undertow of humour, a hint of derision, a taste for wordplay and wit, and an unconditional love of the artisanal, the handmade: these are the ingredients that spice the message sent out by each of their collections. Poetry is omnipresent, a frame of reference clearly asserted by on aura tout vu: shaping their fairytale world as much through objects as through words, poetry is a leitmotif that runs through their communication of ideas, intentions and emotions.
The presence of “poetic messages” integrated into their collections in one way or another contributes to their transformation into unique performances. It is not insignificant, for example, that each model in the Summer 2006 collection, presented after the sudden death of André de Sà Pessoa, borrows verses from Paul Eluard’s Poésie ininterrompue (Unbroken poetry) as an ode to the departed: “naked and retiring in sleep”, “barred, guarded and contradictory” or “surprise revealed and broken”… Later there are instances of Anna Akhmatova, Roland Barthes, Balzac (A message from beings and light collection, Summer 2007) and, in striking juxtaposition, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Barbara Cartland, the Countess of Ségur, Desiderius Erasmus, Fernando Pessoa, Le Journal officiel, the Unknown Blog, Lewis Carroll, Figaro économie and Charles Gounod, during a truly memorable “one-woman fashion show” by Emmanuelle Rivière for the Me, myself & I collection (Summer 2008). The actress and model-for-a-day acted out various facets of the contemporary woman, each in suitable attire, each introduced by the appropriate text.
June 14th to December 31st 2014.
Agence Observatoire – www.observatoire.fr
68 rue Pernety, 75014 Paris – Phone+33 1 43 54 87 71