By Timothy Hagy, Paris Editor
PARIS, October 18 - In the glossy pages of Wine Spectator some years back, an oenophile confessed the moment she realized that wine could be art, and it happened, in her case, over a bottle of Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru from Burgundy.
If you want proof that clothes can be art, you need look no further than a piece by Lacroix, or Lagerfeld for Chanel or Elbaz for Lanvin, but for me that moment happened on a drab Thursday afternoon in November of 2000. It was on Place Saint Sulpice, in front of the display window of the Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche men's boutique. Hedi Slimane's last collection for the label had just been spotlighted, and two pieces - a vest made of fine slivers of leather, and a jacket dusted with plumes - left no doubt.
Since then, I've followed Hedi to Dior Homme, to exhibitions of his photography,
to publication of books and now to his most recent project - a collection of
furniture conceived in the 18th century French tradition, and undertaken with
the support of Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons at her Dover Street, London
The concept of Archaism is to transpose functions and anachronistic usage, in this case of historic furniture, by interpreting them into an architecture of lines and proportions until they are reduced to their most simple expression. Looking at the pieces, you might imagine the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles compacted to a set of beams, but you'd still see a graceful balance in the skeletal remains.
The project is unfinished, meaning that it is a system rather than a collection. Based on the Golden Number, Phi, the module is in permanent evolution. Available in limited edition, each piece is signed and numbered, fabricated from black metal epoxy and ebony. The dialogue with physical presence and absence of material gives the modules their beginning point, and their end point - well that is as elusive as the meaning of art.