Designer Tanya Ashraf and artist Petra Kaltenbach seal the show - GulfToday

Designer Tanya Ashraf and artist Petra Kaltenbach seal the show

Tanya painting  1

The pomegranate bleeds, being pierced with the arrow of love.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Art aficionados and fashionistas were recently treated to a preview of Roxx Fashion’s upcoming Spring Collection, through an intercultural art and fashion project titled The Couture of Art by Indian fashion designer Tanya Ashraf, owner of Roxx, and German artist Petra Kaltenbach. They joined together to partner in an art inspired fashion show, where the core themes were ‘Pomegranate’ and ‘Love’. The themes were expressed through paintings and clothes. The duo did not copy each other: the dresses and pictures they presented were synergic, bouncing off each other through colour, texture and style. Instead of copying Kaltenbach’s artworks wholesale onto the clothes, Ashraf uses elements from the art, such as pomegranates, cupids and love arrows. She combines them with her own touch, to create high end fashion pieces.


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Once the design is decided upon, she says, it is printed onto 100 per cent smooth silk. All pieces are produced locally – but the duo pointed out, the products are totally the results of two intercultural minds coming together. Peter Gressmann, Founder, artforumuae, who curated the show, said that “I couldn’t really make friends with digital art at first, although works of art from the so-called new media appeared as early as the late 1970s. “Only a few years ago, the artist Petra Kaltenbach was able to convince me that this art form definitely has a reason to exist and I learned that digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative process.

“Although Petra Kaltenbach uses this new medium in her works of art, she still uses her own hand and brush to make her computer-aided works of art distinctive. “And it was exactly the final touch by the hand of the artist that inspired the creative director of the fashion label Roxx, Tanya Ashraf, to collaborate with the artist. “And so we can not only show great works of art, we also present an incredibly beautiful, colourful and wearable fashion line. A great result from from the collaboration of two strong self-confident women”.

Roxx was founded as a multi-designer fashion store based in the Northern Emirates in United Arab Emirates, in Ajman. It specialises in Haute Couture, Fusion, Bridal Wear, Indian Wear, Cocktail, Farashias, Pret Line and Abayas.

“Our designs embody the spirit, vibrant colours and cultures of the regions they originate from, uniquely infused with western undertones”, says Ashraf. “It results in truly contemporary, eye-catching designs”.

Tanya painting 2 Bright design at full throttle.

The Dubai show was offered as an invitation for a royal love affair between the bold strokes of art and intricate details of fashion: a seamless blend of renowned Kaltenbach’s gracious lines and Ashraf’s elegantly created outfits. Art and fashion, it has been said, are two fields of innovation and creative expression. But they are also distinct from each other: art, at times, is free from restrictions; fashion is sometimes bound to the demands of a fast-paced industry. But art and fashion makers professionally collide, given their creative sides. Fashion designers have often turned to artists for design ideas. This has resulted in sensational art-meets-fashion collaborations.

Some of the most iconic pairings between the two worlds include Elsa Schapiarelli and Salvador Dalí; Longchamp and Tracy Emin; Rei Kawakubo and Merce Cunningham; Louis Vuitton and Richard Prince; Alexander McQueen and Damien Hirst; Stella McCartney and Ed Ruscha and Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami.

According to businesswoman Kim Winser, OBE, “fashion designers are curious about shape and form, fascinated by colour, intrigued by social, historical and cultural references, and therefore find themselves drawn to art galleries, to museums, to artists’ studios and archives, and to simply hang out with their contemporaries in the artworld, or other design disciplines.

“From architects and sculptors to contemporary concept installation artists, the creative mind comes in many forms, and has often varied influences.

“Over the years, art and fashion have enjoyed a rich relationship, sometimes bold and brazen, often more understated, yet always stretching way beyond the boundaries of geography to bring global influences to our wardrobes”.

Ashraf began her career as a model, and has experience in the fashion industry. She is living her dream of creating couture clothes by herself. Kaltenbach goes for creating themed art, while living in Dubai. Owning an advertising agency previously has allowed her to develop the skills to create designs, using digital media and printing them on her artworks. Fashion constantly produces trends – its ongoing collaboration with art and artists is one example – which are born both on the streets and in ateliers of particularly gifted designers. Trends are essential since they mark new changes and suggest new incentives. Artists consult fashion magazines and designers haunt artists’ studios and art fairs. Both artists and designers, more often than not, are frequent travellers, always hoping to glimpse something new.

Art, with the ever-growing fairs and biennial exhibitions, is following in fashion’s footsteps, on the catwalks and in designer houses. The synergy creates new trends, innovative movements, and new stars.

Museums often mid-wife trends. They have become ever more interesting places to be discovered – real amusement parks which mediatise artworks and artists. And fashion houses open art musems. Fondazione Prada, the institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture from Prada, the Italian luxury fashion house in Milan and Paris-based Louis Vuitton Foundation, the art museum and cultural centre sponsored by the LVMH group and its subsidiaries, are two such.

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