British-born artist Benjamin Shine came into the spotlight earlier this year when he collaborated with Maison Margiela on the house’s 2017 spring couture show. The John Galliano-designed collection was extraordinarily beautiful all in all, but one of the most show-stopping looks was definitely that sleek, white trench coat featuring an otherworldly portrait made of tulle.
Created by the skillful hands of Shine, the unique runway piece took about four months of meetings with Galliano and his team before actually coming to life. As a Central Saint Martins graduate, Shine explained that it was “a dream come true” to work with the renowned designer. “I studied fashion design a long time ago, and have known of John’s work and admired what he’s done for years,” Shine told us. “Seeing my work which had come from fashion, and gone on to do its own thing and come back, was really icing on the cake.”
Having discovered the fun of working with fabric through studying fashion design, Shine cleverly takes the idea of sculpting and “painting” with materials to produce standalone artworks. His preferred medium is tulle, a very fine netting commonly used for making veils, gowns and bridal wear. “To me, I see it as almost like a physical representation of watercolor,” said Shine. With the idea of painting with fabric in mind, he used techniques such as ironing to create a smoke-like suspension around the coat that literally took everyone’s breath away.
Watch our exclusive interview above to learn more about the artist and the memorable couture piece.
- Valerio Mezzanotti/The New York Times