Coach x Serpentine x Gary Baseman = The Secret Order Of The Camelias
In a strange turn of events, I found myself in a spiritual moment at the most unlikely time and place of all… at a fashion party in the middle of London Fashion Week!
The occasion was a celebration of Gary Baseman’s special collaboration with Coach’s design director, Stuart Vevers, for their SS15 collection where a site specific art installation of Bateman’s “Creatures” was commissioned for one night only at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Here we were introduced to characters that seemed innocently whimsical at first glance, yet there lay a devilish darker edge to them upon a closer look. I had always been a fan of Baseman’s illustrations, which seemed to emulate the beauty and bittersweetness of life in the most charming ways, so I found this particular collaboration an absolute delight.
These Creatures – whether they be a bunny who could not see, a bird girl who painted her feathers red, a playful monster with horn who hid in a handbag – all represented the hopes, dreams, fears, and secrets that we all kept buried deep within us. Nothing is what it seems because life is never what it appears to be. I loved how he played with human perceptions in this series of wearable artwork – how the exterior shells were not necessarily a true representation of what existed within.
According to Batesman on his creative process, “These Beasts represented a kind of hunger that we all have; and in many ways, the spring Coach Girl is kinda misunderstood: may be she’s from a small town and she has her own sense of style that people don’t understand because she just is a little different, a little odd and doesn’t necessarily fit in. For example, the bunny is finding it hard to see the light, may be she lives in her own head and is trying to understand a depth beyond the place that she lives in. Then Kiki, the bird girl, paints her feathers red and stands out from the frock.”
Behind each and every one of these charming characters was deep spiritual allegory of life that somehow resonated deep within me. The theme of hidden darkness was amplified at the event by the manifestation of a sacred shrine where Baseman, as master of the ceremony, invited us to take a moment to write down our deepest darkest dreams on a piece of paper, then to release our secret wishes into the universe and be initiated to The Secret Order Of The Camelias.
Although this whole ceremony was suppose to be a quirky and fun party experience, it reminded me of my childhood experience of going to a Buddhist temple on a New Year’s Eve with my family back in Thailand, where we were encouraged to meditate and gather our thoughts then whisper our hopes and dreams to the shrine, and washed away any sadness or disappointments from the previous year with water, as a way to start a new year with fresh and positive mind in preparation for all the good and bad encounters that constitute our journey in life.
Surprisingly instead of just attending another fashion party and enjoying a collection launch, which was one of my favourites this season anyway, I also left the party feeling emotionally refreshed with a positive mind set for the year ahead…
Now that I am a member of The Secret Order Of The Camelias, soon you will find out which of Baseman’s Creatures is my Spirit Monster! Meanwhile, the whole collection of Gary Baseman x Coach Spring Summer 2015 inspired by David Lynch’s Lost Highway can be seen in the video below: