- First came Flea and the 2013 Red Hot Chili Peppers world tour. It was a special stage outfit created by Flea’s best friend and neighbour in LA, Lara Schnitger, that started it all. Audiences in Bucharest, Cape Town and Dublin were some of the first to witness her art fashion gone live.
In art, Schnitger has been dressing her creatures for years. Stretched, stitched, looped, hooked, the multilayered sculptures of home made quilts and slogans with humor and (female) empowered pornography, so far, they were static.
‘Made of panels of fabric joined and stretched over complex wooden armatures, these oversized tensile structures seem at times like faceless monsters caught in a moment of suspended animation. […] Sometimes these materials are worn like clothing, while at other times a translucent fabric stands alone, creating a more naked effect. The latter, in particular, serve to remind us that the sculptures are essentially metaphors for the body—skin and skeleton.’ Writes Lisa Mark in her foreword for the book Lara Schnitger: It ain’t Gonna Lick Itself.
Off stilts or wall they come, onto the catwalk, into the world. March 2014 saw Lara Schnitger’s first couture fashion show at Anton Kern’s in NY Fashion week.
Cool linen and prints, multilayered, bold, patched, pleated, inserted, straight and draped, stenciled, laced — silk satins flow, walk, stop, turn. Champagne sateens in sand and straw hit the road in steel grey and concrete blue, stop at a misty beach. With a nod to Russian constructivism in more than shape and color, bold, seemingly random silkscreen writings play message – receiver. Democratically interlacing rich and poor (textiles), powerful and playful, feminine and feminist, Lara ingeniously plays the garter and the sack, layers Japanese Manga, stenciled arms and hands, reaching, holding, groping, touching, fondling, alluring, multitasking.
- The jumpsuit blue collar uniform and aprons resurges for today’s yummy working mummy. Moving around with babies all over, breasts and body... kids in, on or out, hands helping out, tactile pleasure, being able to have it all.
The collection title ‘Never Alone’ was spurred by a close friend of Schnitger’s who had two boys in quick succession and was never seen alone again.”Her walking down the street with her young children dangling like live accessories, little hands reaching for milk, while mom still doing what she wants. The new mother of the 21st century where female desire the ‘lick-me’ kind and the ‘let’s-make-a-baby’ kind blur together.” Schnitger explains.
Madonna and child paintings by the Flemish Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach resonate, who had breast laid bare, undergarments shine through and aprons hold things together. Schnitger adds a contemporary layer of screenprinted lace, modern interpretations of 18th century Dutch caps and aprons which, along with the choice of linen point to her own Northern European heritage. Her ancestry is directly addressed in her chosen Designer name ‘Sister of Arp.’ My brother is called Arp, but the name Arp Schnitger historically runs in our family, with the organ maker in the 17th century being the best known. He lived in the North of what is now Germany and a lot of Bach’s recordings are on ‘Schnitgers’... his favourite organs.
Evidently, the creative sense for beauty and harmony matched with technical dexterity lies in the family. Schnitger means wood cutter, but the contemporary Ms Schnitger rather broadened the range of materials in her work and the way her art is applied. Now gallerist’s, museum directors, collectors face a multiplicity of choice: hang it, don it, or best, do both. Her silk and linen art (Arp) couture is hand made ‘to measure and order’ in the Los Angeles Studio. She uses a water-based discharge technique for her slogans and stencils. Scarves and accessories are short run editions selling in museum stores worldwide.
- For the 2014 PINK POP Rock festival in the Netherlands featuring industry greats such as the Rolling Stones and Metallica she created the quilt installation ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ in the Pop up Museum, with (organic cotton) Tees and art-tattoo stamps to take away for a (free-) visit to the commissioning Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht.
Flea has a Red Hot Chili Schnitger Tee on order, a MOCA show is in the works. The great news is that with Lara Schnitger’s wear-art, we can all take part!