Fashioning Art: Marques’ Almeida on Mulholland Drive

Marques' Almeida Spring 2015 and Mullholland Drive: The Road to the Studio (1980), David Hockney

Marques’ Almeida Spring 2015 and Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio (1980), David Hockney [Image taken from Fash of the Titans]

British artist David Hockney‘s love for the City of Angels is apparent in his body of work. The cultural vernacular of the city that the Yorkshire-born Hockney has lived in since the 1960s features in many of his paintings, from languid interior scenes of domestic bliss, to sun-kissed pool-side landscapes and frolicking young men with film star good looks. Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio captures the artist’s daily drive from his home in Hollywood Hills to his studio along Santa Monica Boulevard. Painted from memory, the over 6-metre long canvas is a personal recollection of the sights and sounds the artist recalls while on the road.

Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio (1980), David Hockney

Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio (1980), David Hockney

In a city where inhabitants are constantly on the move, driving is a quintessentially LA activity. This sense of flux is captured in the way that Mulholland Drive – the road that winds through the Santa Monica mountains, capturing with it the imaginations of many a novelist, filmmaker and songwriter through the years – threads through the painting. The road loosely dances across the canvas, taking the viewer’s eye through stylised re-imaginations of the landscape, buildings and power lines that border the famed road.

Marques’ Almeida, founded by Portuguese designers Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida, is known for its brand of effortless, grungy cool. Since their debut in 2011, the pair have become recognised especially for their frayed fabrics and distressed denim. Critics have noted that across their collections, Marques and Almeida forgo complex and convoluted intellectual meditations, opting instead for the spontaneous and the instinctive with which to build their collections. “She’s a quietly defiant girl—always!” said Marques once when asked backstage on who the pair design for. This vibrant runway look from the Spring 2015 season captures perfectly the offhand, instinctive nature of the brand. With a similar energy and fiery colour palette to Hockney, the pair mix and match fabrics and textures to create a flowing but distinctively urban look. The patchworked swatches of colour on the dress echo the abstract planes of colour and grids that Hockney uses to depict Studio City and Burbank in the distance in Mulholland Drive. Marques and Almeida were trained in London’s Central Saint Martins and work out of London’s gritty east end. Through their collections, they have been credited for instigating an artistic revival of grunge, that characteristically London style. However, when placed next to Hockney, the look takes on an additional dimension and infringes into a unique brand of casual LA cool.

Image taken from Fash of the Titans.

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