Performance art takes Givenchy runway

Yachun Peng
Marina Abramović and Riccardo Tisci's have collaborated for the upcoming Givenchy New York Fashion Week show.

Ever since creative director Riccardo Tisci revealed to Women’s Wear Daily that Givenchy’s upcoming NYFW runway show will be co-directed by Marina Abramović, the fashion world has been anxiously anticipating the creations that will come from such a powerful artistic alliance.

Marina Abramović may be new to fashion, but she has been astonishing the world with her performance art for decades. Her work explores the concepts of life and death, the limits of the human body and the inexhaustible possibilities of the mind. In one of her most famous works, Rhythm 5, she stood in a flaming wooden star-shaped frame and was rescued after being burned and falling into a coma. She has also taken large amounts of hallucinogenic agents simply to experience the feeling of revival after a long black out. Abramović’s works are no doubt innovative and many times darkly aggressive.

As the person who endowed the rebirth of Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci, just like Abramović, is never afraid to take risks. Aggressively decorative face jewelry, architecturally clean cuts and gothic uses of dark lace created an alluringly exotic Fall/Winter 2015 atmosphere. Season after season, Tisci has presented us with this eerie yet stunning pulchritude.

This is not the first time Abramović and Tisci have worked together. In 2013, Abramović modeled side by side with Kate Moss in a campaign shot by Mert and Marcus, while Tisci designed ballet costumes for Abramović’s show, “Boléro.” Next, the duo’s highly provocative photograph in Visionaire magazine featured Tisci nestled in Marina’s naked embrace, again stirring a craze amongst Givenchy and performance fanatics alike.

The tradition of designers cooperating with artists and singers to create unforgettable performances has long existed in the fashion industry’s history. Sixteen years later, Alexander McQueen’s 1999 use of mechanical spray paint arms on the runway remains a groundbreaking use of performance. Marc Jacobs’ collaboration with the likes of Yayoi Kusama set yet another standard utilizing artists in acts of performativity.

However, the cooperation between Abramović and Tisci is somehow quite different. Their modern visions are both so strong and recognizable that they must exhibit harmonious cooperation to be as successful as they have been in the past. They are combining two of the edgiest media that, on their own, already make a significant visual impact.

The duo is spearheading a trend of cooperation that is definitely on the rise for the future of fashion. Performance art can aid designers in conveying their seasonal ideas in a much more expressive way. Perhaps models of Chanel 2017 will walk through the Rain Room or Starkly engage in the present moment with an audience of editors, Abramović style.

Yachun Peng is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]

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