It can be rather surprising how sometimes the colours and themes of a collection may ring a bell with what's on show in an art exhibition.
Take Lacoste's men's and women's A/W 2017 collection showcased during New York Fashion Week. Creative Director Felipe Oliveira Baptista moved from the life of founder René Lacoste: the latter focused on the aircraft industry after his tennis career, starting the company Air Equipment that contributed to the development of the Concorde and Airbus programs in France.
Baptista's father was a pilot as well, so the designer combined aeronautical uniforms with his passion for sci-fi and space pioneers, an inspiration that actually came from the garments and memorabilia on display at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow.
The collection - showcased on a runway covered in red-gravel and evoking a rocky planet - combined therefore jumpsuits and uniform-like pieces such as leather flight suits, plus iridescent parkas and garments with prints by sci-fi artist and author Ron Miller.
There was a strong inspiration from the '70s and the '90s as well in the tracksuits, chevron tops, checked shirts and cardigans, baggy pants with cargo pockets and parkas with matching gloves.
The designer also created dichotomies of materials, matching leather mini-skirts with mohair tops or combining leather trenches with nylon inserts. The most interesting piece was a trench that can be dismantled and worn as a jacket and a skirt since it pointed at a practical functionalism that many designers out there have forgotten about.
As a whole, it was a practical and sporty space odyssey, a cosmic and galactic voyage that kept firmly in mind the bare necessities of everyday life.
Art-wise the collection seemed to echo some of the pieces currently on display at the Royal Academy in London as part of the "Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932" exhibition (until 17th April 2017).
This event marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution and does so via propaganda posters, architectural models and film footage. The most interesting thing about it is that it recreates almost entirely some of the sections of the original "Fifteen Years of Artists of the Russian Soviet Republic", a huge expo organised in 1932 that covered 33 rooms of the State Russian Museum in Leningrad.
Baptista seemed to echo in his palette the most avant-garde pieces produced right before or around 1917, those works that promised a new freedom with abstract lines and a strong geometric dynamism.
Echoes of Malevich's "Red Square" or "Dynamic Suprematism Supremus", with their manipulations of abstractions in space or vortices of geometric shapes, reappeared in some of the colours or the sharp details of the garments.
Interestingly enough, a Malevich palette returned in a bright yellow trench and in the final piece, a dress made with colourful strips of velvet with a drawstring waist that seemed to call to mind Malevich's paintings of Constructivist faceless peasants (think about works such as "Peasants", "Head of a Peasant", "Peasant in the Fields" or "Woman with a Rake") that marked the artist's return to agriculture as a subject to comply with the Kremlin's instructions.
The exhibition also features "New Planet" by Konstantin Yuon that somehow seems to be echoed in this collection by the sci-fi designs (though the painting is political, since it shows the October Revolution as the result of a cosmic catastrophe).
By 1932 Russian art had turned its back on Suprematism, Constructivism and geometric abstractions and the RA exhibition includes works with figures borrowed from sports, including runners and soccer matches (think about Alexander Nikolayevich Samokhvalov's sports girls and athletes). It seems somehow bizarre but the cosmic voyage of this collection mirrors in a way the themes of the exhibition, almost following a circular path of art, geometrical abstractions and sports.