“Cross-dressed” at Nina Lumer gallery was part of the Milan Fashion Week 2008.
I was always intrigued by this well-known cultural phenomenon: in children’s books, which our society grew up on, most animals are depitcted wearing clothes. Remembering just a few: Charles Perrault’s Puss in Boots, Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, Grandville’s illustrated fables of La Fontaine. As most of us, I spent my childhood surrounded by illustrated children’s books where animals appeared dressed as humans.
My first trip to the zoo (I was 4 or 5 at the time) threw me off: I decided that all the animals in the zoo were naked.
More than twenty years of making my own children’s books, which I also furnished generously with illustrations of well-dressed animals, served
to convince me completely that the world where animals wear clothes and talk, really does exist. Now finally I strongly believe that these two worlds are interconnected.The human world brings to the imaginary animal world its own taste and style and receives in return humor, fascinating characters, and enormous capacity for imagination.
So as my undeniable proof of the existence of the world of dressed animals, I presented this collection of life-size clothes of children’s books animal characters, which they may have sported at some point in their fairy-tale lives.
One can also look at this fashion collection as a kind of strange phenomenon. It’s something like “Illustrating an illustration”, executed in a very realistic manner, and because of that having gained, or rather re-gained, its three-dimensionality and its grandeur.
My biggest regret is that showing these photos of the exhibition on my site, I cannot convey the most important visual effects — the enormous,
hard-to-believe, size and the very realistic execution of the clothes. Imagine an anaconda’s wedding dress that is five meters long or hippos bathing trunks, life size. I tried to correct this unfortunate limitation of the web presentation by providing sizes.