Exhibition Inquisition

The stuff you look at, but don't see.

Warhol Inspiration @ Dior, Golden Slippers

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Christian Dior, Fall 2013 Collection

Fashion weeks are winding down, and once again many designers turned to art and art history for divine inspiration.  At Christian Dior, Raf Simon recently partnered with the Andy Warhol Foundation to incorporate some of Warhol’s sketches from the 1950s into the house’s fall 2013 collection.  Vogue’s Editor-at-Large, Hamish Bowles was charmed by the dainty flowers, pesky-looking birds, and glamorous beauty profiles that accented some of the looks that came sashaying down the runway.  The Warhol Foundation is doing a very low-to-high-end job of licensing Warhol’s work into tons of contemporary products, from fragrances and skateboards to champagne, and now the Parisian runway.

Andy Warhol for Christian Dior. Or is it Christian Dior for Andy Warhol?

Andy Warhol for Christian Dior. Or is it Christian Dior for Andy Warhol?

Some of my favorite Warhol-inspired pieces in the Dior show were looks that integrated Warhol’s “Golden Slippers.”  These whimsical and glitzy sketches of fancy footwear graced several dresses, but were utilized most cheekily into a number of bags that accessorized the looks.  The original images were caricature shoes of celebrities including James Dean, Julie Andrews, Truman Capote, and Zsa Zsa Gabor.  The shoes are executed in Warhol’s signature spidery, bird-scratchy sketching style utilized in his commercial work of the 1950s, and were embellished with gold leaf and decorations gleaned from candy box packaging.  Very DIY.

The Zsa Zsa!

The Zsa Zsa!

Warhol’s Golden Slippers were included in one of his first gallery shows in New York, at Bodley Gallery in December, 1956Life Magazine reprinted several of the shoes in a two page spread titled “Crazy Golden Slippers” in January of 1957.

Life Magazine said gold was on-trend in 1957.

Life Magazine said gold was on-trend in 1957.

Warhol of the 1950s was not the full-realized Pop-sensation-cum-personality he became in the 60s, but one of his shoes drawings was included in a group show, Recent Drawings U.S.A., at MOMA in 1956.  Warhol subsequently offered one of his shoe drawings to MOMA for its permanent collection.  MOMA politely declined Warhol’s the generous donation (and is probably still regretting the decision).  MOMA’s rejection letter made the rounds on the interwebs a few years ago: “I regret that I must report to you that the Committee decided, after careful consideration, that they ought not to accept [Shoe] for our Collection.” In hindsight, everything is 20/20.

So there you have it, Warhol’s shoes—not good enough for MOMA in 1956, but good enough for Dior in 2013.  And good enough (even in Polaroid form) for some collectors in 2012.

Yay or nay?

Yay or nay?

– H.I.

P.S. Per usual the auction houses are willing to whore out Warhol as hard and as often as possible.  Christie’s recently got HBO Girls creator, and totally-hot-right-now, Lena Dunham to promote their Warhol sales in this SHAMELESS pitch.  “I don’t remember not knowing about Andy Warhol. One of my claims to fame is that my parents have been in the same room as him. As a child I thought he invented soup.” Barf.

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