Although separated by time, Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli—both Italian, both feminists—share striking affinities in terms of their design strategies and fashion manifestoes. Presented as an intimate “conversation,” Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations aims to tease out formal and conceptual similarities between the two designers. Striking photographs and insightful texts illustrate the parallels between the two, including their preferences for interesting textiles and prints, eccentric color palettes, and a bold and playful approach to styling and accessories.

Schiaparelli, in the 1920s through 50s, and Prada, from the late 1980s to today, exploited the narrative possibilities of prints, sought out unconventional textiles, played with ideas of good and bad taste, and manipulated scale for surrealistic outcomes. Contemporary art plays a major role in the work of these inventive women—Schiaparelli in her famous collaborations with Dali and Cocteau, and Prada via her Fondazione Prada. Blending the historic with the contemporary, the catalogue brings the masterworks of both designers together into a grand conversation between the most important women fashion designers to ever emerge from Italy.

This collection of Andreas Slominski’s recent work includes Christmas ornaments and all kinds of constructions, including traps, made in a host of materials and techniques. They range from large, aggressive-looking boxes for fighting dogs to toys, like “Van for Mice,” that let the underdog off the hook. Once arranged on the floor of an exhibition space, these snares create a bit of a minefield, an environment where visitors tread with care. Some experiential pieces share the traps’ lighthearted focus on practical matters and working professions: the hiring of frogmen to rescue keys thrown from a bridge, of a skyscraper painter to work on a high window, and of seamstresses to take apart and put back together viewers’ pants–after which they sew in a label marking them as part of a limited edition. With a preface by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli.

For Walter De Maria, hurricanes, floods, and sandstorms–natural disasters–are “the highest form of art possible to experience.” Through such monumental works as “The Lightening Field,” a permanent installation in New Mexico which fuses the natural phenomena of lighting with the artistic process, De Maria has had a lasting and decisive impact on the orientation of art since the 1960s. This unique artist’s book, one of only a few publications on this seminal artist, intermingles De Maria’s sculptures with the city of Milan through a portfolio of black-and-white photographs by Nanda Lanfranco, produced in close collaboration with the artist, which reveal various crossroads of this Italian metropolis. Essay by Germano Celant. Foreword by Walter De Maria. Preface by Miuccia Prada.

In an effort to make art accessible to the wider public, Carsten Holler employs strategies of direct involvement that help to abolish the barrier between the work of art and the spectator. Sculptures and installations designed for the Fondazione Prada insist on visitor interaction, and the act is reciprocated: the works change progressively due to intermittent lights which transmit vibrations to the visitor’s body. A hallucinogenic subversion of individual sensibility results, one that is in line with Holler’s aim of raising doubts about the certainties of contemporary lifestyles. Complete with a biography and bibliography, this catalogue is the most exhaustive documentation of Holler’s challenging work to date. Essay by Germano Celant. Introduction by Miuccia Prada.

This beautifully illustrated book brings together a selection of pieces spanning 500 years of fashion, with new texts and fascinating literary definitions by curator and exhibition-maker Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. Taking the definitions as a starting point, more than 200 stunning images are also included, weaving together historic dress, haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion, textile ornamentation, manuscripts and photography. Illustrator Alice Smith adds exquisite emblems that animate the definitions.
The book includes dictionary definitions and literary quotes of the word vulgar alongside transcripts of interviews with leading contemporary designers, including Walter Van Beirendonck, Manolo Blahnik, Hussein Chalayan, Pam Hogg, Stephen Jones, Christian Lacroix and Zandra Rhodes, and works by Chloé, Christian Dior, Pam Hogg, Charles James, Christian Lacroix, Lanvin, Moschino, Miuccia Prada, Elsa Schiaparelli, Philip Treacy, UNDERCOVER, Walter Van Beirendonck, Viktor & Rolf, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood.
Potent, provocative and sometimes shocking, the word vulgar conjures up strong images, ideas and feelings in us all. The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined considers this inherently challenging but utterly compelling territory of taste. It questions notions of vulgarity in fashion while reveling in its excesses, and invites the reader to think again about what makes something vulgar and why it is such a sensitive and contested term.

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