To celebrate their 260th anniversary, Nymphemburg Porcelain manufacturers invited 16 of the internationally most renowned couturiers to create new “robes” for the 16 Commedia Dell’Arte figures by the rococo sculptor, Franz Anton Bustelli. These figurines, which at the time made Nymphenburg world famous and which to this day count among its most valuable treasures, are being re-issued in a Couture Edition that is limited to 25 copies.
Nymphenburg Couture Edition
Originally created in 1759-1760 by Franz Anton Bustelli, the classic figurines get re-dressed by 16 fashion designers: Adeline André, Damiano Biella (Escada), Igor Chapurin, Esteban Cortazar (Emanuel Ungaro), Maurizio Galante, Christian Lacroix, Gustavo Lins, Pascal Millet (Carven), Gareth Pugh, Ralph Rucci, Elie Saab, Dominique Sirop, Franck Sorbier, Naoki Takizawa, Viktor & Rolf and Vivienne Westwood to become the Couture Edition.
The Nymphenburg Couture Edition starts with Franz Anton Bustelli’s bare Commedia Dell’Arte figures – “carte blanche” for the invited fashion designers, who then painted each in their own inimitable style.
This project was developed over a period of almost two years in close cooperation between PORZELLAN MANUFAKTUR NYMPHENBURG and designers in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Beirut, New York, Tokyo, Moscow and Munich. The designs clearly reflect the different cultural and creative approaches and thus the diverse nature of the global fashion scene.
Here are all 16 in their original white glazed versions and the new Couture Editions.
JULIA – CHRISTIAN LACROIX:
Recognizing her standing, Lacroix has given genteel JULIA an elegant robe with
opulent platinum ornaments that has been hand-painted in several stages. He subtly interrupts the rococo look with brilliantly coloured shoes, gloves and bow.
CAPITANO SPAVENTO – GARETH PUGH:
This newcomer to the fashion scene has cloaked the dynamic CAPITANO completely in geometrical shapes. Entirely in the style of his fashion, Pugh has radically made the figure subordinate to the shape and has transformed it into an abstract work of art.
LEDA – PASCAL MILLET (CARVEN):
The large floral pattern is a reference to a fabric from the current collection at Carven, the traditional fashion house in Paris. Only the very observant will notice that the robes possess an undercoating of delicate beige beneath the black flowers.
SCARAMUZ – NAOKI TAKIZAWA:
Takizawa, former creative director for the Issey Miyake fashion label, borrowed the classic looking clothes he designed for the dancing SCARAMUZ from current Tokyo street-wear. The hand and face are coated entirely in polished platinum.
COLOMBINE – VIKTOR & ROLF:
These fashion designers in Amsterdam have re-interpreted COLOMBINE’s role with their creation: with the diamond pattern held in black in black and the mask adorned with a painted teardrop, they have transformed the impish maid of ISABELLA, who just can’t stay true to any man, into a character from a tragedy.
MEZZETINO – VIVIENNE WESTWOOD:
For her design, Vivienne Westwood, who with Giorgio Amani, Emanuel Ungaro and Christian Lacroix counts among the most important fashion designers of our time, was inspired by Antoine Watteau’s paintings of the COMMEDIA figures in the French rococo style.
LALAGE – DOMINIQUE SIROP:
The French couturier, Dominique Sirop, has transformed the harlequin’s partner into an elegantly dressed Grande Dame. The platinum pattern on her dress imitates the iridescence of sequins on Sirop’s luxurious clothes.
LUCINDA – ESTEBAN CORTAZAR (EMANUEL UNGARO):
The up-and-coming Columbian, Esteban Cortazar, who was appointed head designer at the Emanuel Ungaro label at the age of just 23 years last year, refers to a pattern from his first collection for this company: climbing roses in the brand-typical pink enshroud the entire figure.
PIERROT – FRANCK SORBIER:
The melancholic PIERROT with his lantern doesn’t only appear in the COMMEDIA – he also turns up in the French folksong, “Au clair de la lune”, which dates from the 18th century. In reference to traditional music, Sorbier has completely covered his figure in musical notes and violin clefs.
DONNA MARTINA – DAMIANO BIELLA (ESCADA):
DONNA MARTINA, the DOTTORE’s smart wife, entirely unimpressed by his chattering, is off to do her daily errands dressed in a fabric taken from the current Escada summer collection.
DOTTORE – GUSTAVO LINS:
The know-it-all and conceited DOTTORE has been newly dressed using the over-top-stitching technique by Lins. The seams produce a filigree and abstract pattern through which the fabric’s colour shows – perfectly imitated on the hand-painted porcelain.
ANSELMO – ADELINE ANDRÉ:
By transforming the clothes into feathers, Adeline André has compared ANSELMO, the old music teacher, to a nightingale: if not the most beautiful bird, its singing does enchant all.
CORINE – IGOR CHAPURIN:
For now ten years, the couture designs by this fashion designer from Moscow and his costumes for the Bolschoi Ballet have drawn international attention. CORINE is held entirely in brown and platinum, Chapurin’s corporate colours. Only a light lace pattern interrupts the closed finish.
ISABELLA – ELIE SAAB:
The beautiful and ever popular ISABELLA is clothed in valuable gold and platinum robes. Just like the couture designs with sequins and pearls by Elie Saab who hails from Lebanon, this robe also reflects the association between luxury and modernism.
OCTAVIO – MAURIZIO GALANTE:
Gallant OCTAVIO, who has won ISABELLA’s heart, has been adorned with circular ornaments within circular ornaments from head to toe. They reflect the style so typical of Galante where fabrics are gathered and layered into frequently circular structures.
PANTALONE – RALPH RUCCI:
The miserly merchant of Venice is covered with Chinese characters – a timeless code from a foreign culture expressive of savoir-vivre and distant travels. The complex method of picking out the characters reveals the porcelain concealed under layers of painting.
Before Christian Lacroix turned to fashion design and became grand master of haute couture, he wanted to do a doctorate on the clothing represented in 18th century paintings – the period of Franz Anton Bustelli. And so it is hardly surprising that he approached his design for PORZELLAN MANUFAKTUR NYMPHENBURG with great interest: “For as long as I can remember, these figures, when I’ve seen them in museums or in photos in books, have always drawn my eye as living protagonists and witnesses from an age which they subtly and precisely reflect with costumes that are much more daring than those of today.”
The large project also included a photographic series of each of the designer’s studios as well as special edition books that included signed prints of the pieces and more.
The Collector’s Book will be published in an edition of 400 copies, which includes 1 signed and numbered photograph by Florian Böhm:
The Collector’s Book – Exclusive Edition is limited to 25 books only. This edition includes 16 numbered photographs of the figures, which will be signed by the fashion designers:
all information and images are courtesy of Porzellen Maufaktur Nymphenberg