All images from
Color Moves: Art & Fashion by Sonia Delaunay.
In March, Jay and I went to Manhattan to view a super exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, http://www.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/color-moves
Delaunay had her own fashion house.
Color Moves: Art & Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, on view until June 19, 2011, is an expansive survey of the work of Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979) with an emphasis on her textile designs.
The exhibit is upstairs from a show of Van Cleef and Arpel jewelry, a shameless display of over-the-top-bling for the rich and famous. So, security was tight throughout the building, and photography was not allowed. The images in this blog entry were scanned from the eponymous exhibit catalog.
More images can also be seen in the excellent review of the show by NYT reporter Roberta Smith:
Bottom row, right: sketch made into repeating fabric design.
Bottom row, left: design card, with colorways.
Following the Depression, Delaunay closed her fashion house but developed a special relationship with the fashion-forward Metz Department Store in Amsterdam, selling textile designs for their exclusive use. Importantly, both Delaunay’s sketchbooks and Metz Company documents survive, allowing us to see the process of apparel fabric production from artist’s sketch to finished fabric.
Bottom: master print.
The translation of sketch to yardage is a multi-step affair, including fine-tuning the original motif, creating the print repeat, and keying the gouache sketch palette to fabric inks. Somehow, in the hands of an obviously sympathetic textile manufacturer, these steps improved upon Delaunay’ s delightful initial sketches, with the end result being scrolls of pattern that happen to be bolts of fabric.
As Roberta Smith states in her review, the show …may change forever the way you look at dry goods. I know that, if these designs were in fabric stores today, I would be adding them to my fabric stash.
Catalog: ISBN 978-0-910503-84-6