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Countdown to Fashion Week: Louise Nevelson, Eternal Muse

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“Fashion could be an art, but it isn’t,” sculptor Louise Nevelson once said. But that stance has done nothing to dissuade fashion designers from looking to both the work and the unique personal aesthetic of the late artist for inspiration season after season. And Fall 2008 is shaping up to be no different. This Friday kicks off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, and among the shows we’re looking forward to is that of Danish-born designer Camilla Staerk, who will present her Nevelson-inspired Staerk collection, entitled “Bride of the Black Moon,” next Tuesday in a show sponsored by Gen Art.

Staerk, who last season was inspired by old Woody Allen films, has some tough acts to follow with her Nevelson theme. Anna Sui mined the artist as an influence back in 2005, but we happen to think that it would be nearly impossible to top Ralph Rucci‘s Fall 2007 ode to Nevelson. Not only did Rucci manage to elegantly riff on the sculptor’s installations with gowns and suits that channeled AbEx bricolage, but he sent the entire collection out on models made up to look Nevelsonesque. “We did double sets of false eyelashes, and we covered the girls heads in Saran Wrap to look like Nevelson conceptually and Nevelson realistically,” he told us last year. As for why Nevelson is so museworthy, perhaps Rucci said it best, boiling her appeal down into three of his favorite words: “Originality, luxury, and eccentricity.”

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