Montreal-based fashion label Norwegian Wood has nailed possibly one of the coolest conceptual, under-the-radar fashion and art collaborations of the year.
The owner of this Canadian contemporary clothing line, Angie Johnson, was one of five designers approached to work with the Rijksmuseum and Etsy to produce capsule collections, which feature art pieces from Holland’s oldest art and history museum in their designs.
Norwegian Wood’s Angie Johnson created three pieces for this project, while on a small scale, they illustrate the truism of fashion as art, art as fashion. Johnson had access to Rijksmuseum’s Rijksstudio – an online portal launched in 2013 that showcases 150,000 Dutch masterworks to the public and encourages the international audience to “use high-resolution downloads to create their own works of art.”
Johnson designed a lingerie set, taking inspiration for the black mesh and digitally-printed polyester spandex bra and panty from the vibrant and elaborate flower and bird motifs of Johann Spitzmacher’s wood cabinet (circa 1660 to 1670). The third piece of the lingerie set is an impressive silk chiffon kimono finished with a black fringe that features a print of Jan Asselijn’s oil painting, the “Threatened Swan” (circa 1650), on its back panel.
These Norwegian Wood garments are hand-made, unique and remarkably complementary. The label’s designer, in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, succeeded in reminding us that fashion isn’t just utilitarian, but can be as inspiring and moving as fine art.