In the seventies Colette , a young artist had already acquired a worldwide reputation for her multi media works, ranging from luxurious silk environments to, light sculptures, photo performances, paintings, .. art objects and last but not least an original style of dress.
In 1974 she became the focus of a well publicized exhibition entitled "Fashion as Fantasy" at Rizzoli's bookstore, by exhibiting her light boxes as well as herself as "Ragdoll". The costume created for the performance became identified as the Colette Look: bloomers, a white corset, thin white lace barely covering her breasts, and laced Victorian boots. And so began Colette's reputation as "walking Performance" .
Nightclubbing - by Rose Hartman 76( with corset and leggings)
By 1978 it was clear that her work as well as ber image became a source of inspiration not only to the art community but also in the commercial world of fashion, design and music. This prompted her to to stage her own death and resurrect as Justine. Justine played role of entrepreneur, posed as rock star, fashion and interior designer. Justine joined a modeling agency and became a creator of products ( the Colette doll perfume - etc ..) as well as the head of Colette's estate.
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|1.Beautiful Dreamer LP 79 2. Justine performs. 3.The bath at home 1978. 4.photo of justine by Gilles Larrain - 80 |
In 1979 Colette aka Justine won the award as Fashion Innovator, presented a multi media spectacle - fashion art performance "Ripping myself Off" - in a well-known boutique in SoHo - where she presented clothes inspired by her image and artwork. The same year she designed the "deadly feminine" line - for Fiorucci (inspired by the Austrian shade and silk parachute fabrics worned in her performances and named after her trademark) and had her Beautiful Dreamer LP, selected by the Village Voice as the strangest record of the year.
Mata Hari and the Stollen potatoes in front of Berlin Wall - 84
In the eighties while continuing to exhibit her artworks and staging her elaborate , extravaganzas in museums and galleries she continued her dialogue with a larger public by presenting her fashion art/performances in less orthodox art spaces such as nightclubs, windows, restaurants ... etc. It was also at this time that she created an environment and line of wear abies for Patricia Field, installed her own closet as well as her home offices in a trendy shrift shop in Soho as well as exhibited her costumes in Barney's windows. Her clothes were also displayed in the windows as well as inside the Gallery of wearable art. In Berlin they were featured in Durbruch, a favorite boutique and in Munich at the two most fashionable department stores - Ludwig Beck and Loden Frey. It is also in the eighties that Colette was commissioned to create the sets and costumes for Ravel's L'heure Espagnole for the Berlin Opera.
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|The countess, In Dial C for Scandal outfit and The Countess in transit - 88|
In the nineties Colette continued a more personal romance with fashion; by continuing to dress up and occasionally being commissioned from her atelier- then "The House of Olympia" to create a special attire for a selected clientèle. During those years her main interest as well as energies were concentrated mostly on her art. In 1997 her fashions were exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum displayed on a life size Colette doll / mannequin sculpture. In 2001 as part of the 3rd Montreal biennale she installed her new york atelier currently named " La Maison Lumiere"" in the Mexican consulate and there presented on clothing racks her "Mode Nomade- with "La Ligne dechiree" ..
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|"To the return of the gown and ...good manners" - USA Nightclub event - NYC 92. Olympia in her bedroom. Olympia in street look - by Chris von Hohenberg. Colette in Berlin , 1997|
In 2004, Colette transformed an entire floor in the HPGRP building in Ginza, Tokyo.“The Bedroom” was entirely covered with rushed satin fabrics, mostly in Colette’s trademark pink. Inside the room were new paintings, sculptures, a pink satin clothing line created to match the environment, and various objets d’art.
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|1. At the crowbar event for the CIA (Colette Institute of Art) - 2004. 2. Lecture fashion show at Santa Fe Art Institute, 2006. 3.At Vivian Horan Portrait Show opening |
Following “The Bedroom” in Tokyo, she presented “Domestic Bliss and theColette Look”, a pink environment with a grand dining table and dinnerware designed by Colette at Rosenthals Madison Avenue headquarters. In 2005,she was included in a group show along with other famous peers in “La Robe” at UNESCO, Paris, that incorporated fashion and art. Later that year she also participated in “clothesline” for an exhibion at the Santa Fe Art Institute. Most recently she was included in the travelling show, “Downtown New York “(1974-1984) which opened at the Grey Art Gallery in January of 2006, and currently at the museum of modern art in Austin, Texas. Last February, she presented her “Reverse Pop” at the House of Kultur in Germany.( her justine series which recorded Colette’s pioneering downtown days). From June till September she was the highlight at the Frauen Museum in “Ladies of the Night”. In June she unveiled, in two solo exhibitions “La Vie en Rose” I at Pablo’s Birthday gallery in Tribeca and “La Vie en Rose II” at Carol Johnssen gallery in Munich. These works documented a period dedicated to religiously wearing the color pink. In January 2007, “Intriguing Faces” which showcases Colette’s commissioned portraits (with Colette costumes), was held at the Vivian Horan gallery in uptown Manhattan.