Today at So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins, we’ll be looking into fashion collages. There is a whole world just waiting to be discovered and it’s full of creativity, brilliant minds and an infinite number of possibilities just waiting to be realized.
We’ve found a number of incredible talents, and we’ll be bringing them to you in the near future. This time around, we’d like to introduce you to Maria Sheila Miani, 21 years old and from Ireland, who is currently living in Rome where she’s studying the last year of a degree to be a Fashion Editor at the IED (European Institute of Design). Her work centers on painting and top models, a curious mix that the artist has been able to bring together into some amazing collages.
“But First, Let Me Take a Selfie” – Cara Delevigne Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso Original photo for British Vogue by Alasdair Mclellan, Editor: Katie Phelan, Hair: Anthony Turner, Make-up: Lisa Butler
So Catchy!: When and why did you start making collages?
Sheila Miani: I began making collages in February 2015. I started a new class in my IED University and my teacher was very inspiring and challenging us to go out on the web. For a long time I had in mind to create my own Tumblr account; I just had to decide what to share on Tumblr. Then, one day I was doing my daily walk in my city, Rome, and I saw a poster advertising an exhibition of the famous French painter, Henri Matisse. It showed a table with a bowl of fruit and I thought that it would look cool if I put a model in the painting – a collage! That is how it started.
“You Use Bedrooms in the Wrong Way, Vincent!” – Karlie Kloss “Bedroom in Arles” by Vincent Van Gogh Original photo for Acne Paper by Roe Ethridge, Stylist: Marie Chaix, Hair: Didier Malige
SC!: What is your ‘leitmotiv’?
SM: My Tumblr collages are divided into series: I pick one famous painter, Van Gogh, Munch, Titian, Picasso, etc. and I pick a model. I always try to pick a model whose features are completely in contrast with the kind of people that are in the paintings of the artist. For instance, for Gauguin’s works, which portray exotic women from a very primitive lifestyle in Tahiti, I chose to use Daphne Groenveld as the model. Her features are completely the opposite of Gauguin’s kind of women. She is pale, blonde, has huge lips and Bambi eyes. In most fashion editorials she resembles a Barbie doll and wears very expensive clothes. For Vermeer’s paintings, which are set back in the 17th century when women wore very modest clothes and behaved in a very reserved manner, I inserted the top model, Gisele Bundchen, the most famous Brazilian model whose lifestyle is all about yoga and sports. She also has an incredible body that fashion magazines love to photograph in swimsuits and short dresses.
Even more, it is always vital for each collage that the model is interacting with the characters and the background of the paintings. On the one hand, I want to make the collage look as natural as possible, on the other hand I want the model to stand out from the painting with her attitude.
Lastly, I always try to put a funny, ironical and catchy title to each collage. I often put just a sentence, what I think that the model would say. I just find that it completes the collage. This way I can also express my point of view, and my idea behind the story of the collage I am sharing.
“Your Turn, Henri!” – Lily McMenamy Ivy in Flower by Matisse, 1941
SC!: Do you prefer digital or handmade collages and why?
SM: I think that they are very different types of collages, and used for different aims. Handmade collages take more time, you cannot reproduce them, and therefore they are unique. However, digital collages are quicker to make, and as I am more interested in the idea than in the quality of the images, these are my favorites at the moment.
Of course, I am making these collages for my own sake, to challenge my imagination and my creativity. I am exercising my mind. If I made my collages by hand, I would spend much more time searching, purchasing the materials necessary and preparing them than actually making the collage.
“My mom makes the best cream in the world!” – Gisele Bundchen The Milkmaid by Vermeer, 1660
SC!: Why do you think there is such a big movement now around collage in fashion?
SM: In my opinion, I think there is a lot of interest in using old pictures and paintings right now because of the Internet. If you have an Internet connection you have access to an infinite number of images and sources. And often old images, even dating back only ten years have a certain allure and aesthetic which is very different from today‘s images.
People are looking for fresh new images that will make you stop and stare when you are scrolling your Tumblr or Instagram feed. Images are the language of fashion, as Franca Sozzani, Vogue Italia’s editor in chief, might say. So it was inevitable that the fashion world would find inspiration for collages.
I Rest Like Edouard Manet – Charlotte Carey for Elle Uk Oct 2014 M. and Mme Edouard Manet by Edgar Degas, c. 1868
SC!: Which other collage artists do you admire?
SM: Eugenia Loli is one of the first collage artists that really caught my imagination. She uses vintage images and mixes them with pictures of the universe or images of daily life.
I truly admire Kalen Hollomon who mixes fashion images (taken from fashion advertisements) with sexual images, or inserts them in a completely unexpected environment. He actually redefines beauty and leaves you reflecting on how you perceive the world. Would it be strange or not, if a basketball player wore high heels, or if a man wore a Prada bag? This is why Kalen Hollom challenges my view of the world.
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla