Ana Kras is a highly talented photographer, furniture designer, and visual artist. In 2013 I began my career in New York managing her studio, and working with her to create her signature Bon Bon lamps, increasing and improving production methods, while also working on collaborations with Band of Outsiders. In 2015, I worked with Ana to creatively translate and define her concepts for collaborating with international luxury brand, Chloe. I consulted with her and created a thorough presentation of her design feature ideas for leather weaving to incorporate into Chloe's future runway and retail designs.
Ana Kras Textile Pitch for Chloe
COLLABORATING WITH AN ARTIST
As an artist who does multidisciplinary art practice, I took my time to think of the right approach for this exciting collaboration with Chloe. I thought of many different things starting from applying graphics and drawing to use as prints, developing special shapes for certain garments, or doing a unique color palette for brand. But I was not quite satisfied with any of these concepts, because it would mean only applying something that I had already done to an already existing object. I really wanted this collaboration to be a natural next step for me an artist in my personal practice and also be applicable to Chloe as a brand, and what I think they represent. I want my in-depth relationship with Chloe to reveal itself through the work. I was relieved when I had my final idea because I came up with something that is not an object, and it’s not a one-off piece, but it is a technique that can be applied to many objects while evolving with each unique piece. My concept can create a world within Chloe with the potential to grow in future collections and design directions. In my artistic practice I multitask in a few fields: drawings and paintings, making objects, photography and filmmaking. What I am most curious about in each field is not isolated moments of singularity, but the series. I am attracted to multiplicities that come from inventing a new technique. I love to explore through the process of developing a new technique with endless possibilities. Without any direct weaving knowledge, 8 years ago, I came up a personal weaving-related technique to create my Bonbon lampshades and sculptures. Each one is unique and the field of play still continually inspires me. Forms can change; colors and inspirations can change within the original structures, fashion changes with each season. Within that unfolding, I can traverse the surface of an object and work to makes changes that update the total product.
THE TECHNIQUE: A NEW APPROACH TO LEATHER WEAVING
When I think about Chloe as a brand, the strongest impression is of soft smooth shapes with beautiful volume. I see beautiful complex materials, and I was especially mesmerized and influenced by the suede garments of SS15 collection. When I take into account the image of Chloe and my personal taste, the concept that emerges is leather weaving. It is the most natural way of breaking down leather into a softer shape: deconstructing the skins to recreate a malleable new surface. It is a canvas for exploring limitless options for weaving, which is my personal curiosity. I see the weaving as a playground that hasn’t yet been explored in the current fashion landscape despite the heritage and ancient roots of the weaving practice. Most of the leather weaving I have seen has been made using different solid colored leather strips that come together a simply create a mathematical precise pattern. I don’t see Chloe as a brand works in the realm of standardized and predictable hard edges. My weaving concept comes across as more spontaneous and free, accidental and playful.
My idea is to color treat skins of leather with abstract patterns, Then the skins are cut into the thing strips, that are woven into the new surface that can be used to create various products. In that way, the image on the weaving pattern becomes a free and random surface. There are limitless solutions for the look of the final surface depending on the specific way and the colors that the leather is being treated with. The treatments can vary from splatter spray to using bigger swaths of colors, or even randomly bleaching. This constructs both subtle interventions and very contrasting ones; all will result with totally different outcomes. Because I am a fan of a “total look”, and because I don’t want this technique to end only in structured garments, I would like to apply this to soft suede leather such as goatskin with the same treatment of color. From this we would create strip from which a crocheted version of wearable garments, such as dresses, shirts, and jackets could be formed.
The leather weaving technique can be applied to current Chloe leather garments such as bags, belts, shoes, or it can be applied to entirely new styles. The crocheted suede can be applied to dresses, pants, shirts, jackets and garments that need more mobility. All together, these pieces can create “total looks” in so many different ways. Mixed and matched, for subtle to eccentric looks.
Chloe is about simple, subtle and time-honored classic concepts with a new twist that make it fresh and contemporary. Chloe is all about soft comfortable shapes that reveal a chic silhouette. Crochet and woven leather follows of the shape of the body or the object natural and easily. I couldn’t be happier to have a technique that Chloe and I can develop together. I want to integrate this technique to the brand as practice instead of a basic one-off print with far-reaching modes of design to grow within the world of Chloe.