Lafayette Anticipations to welcome fashion designers

"It's an old BHV warehouse, which spreads over four levels. We wanted to create a space for the firm's Foundation. But Paris is spoilt for art-dedicated spaces. We soon felt that there was a need for a place dedicated to production. And here, we have installed a 400-square-metre atelier where artists can work with wood, metal and paint," said a smiling Guillaume Houzé, in welcoming the press Monday morning to the unveiling of the Lafayette Anticipations building, over which he presides.

From March 10, the creative space, set up between Rue du Plâtre and Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie in Paris's Marais district, will be the new centre of gravity for the Foundation's initiatives, overseen by the Galeries Lafayette Group.  

Delfino Sisto Legnani et Marco Cappellett

The bright, 2,200-square-metre public space, conceived by OMA and architect Rem Koolhaas, will welcome many artists and their works. The area extends over four levels, with a functional studio and exhibition spaces that travel around a central zone, which is designed to be flexible with fixtures that can be installed at different levels of the building. It's an atypical approach, which should allow artists to apprehend and play with volumes.

The first main exhibition is by American artist Lutz Bachek, which will run until April 30. But Lafayette Anticipations will host three to four major exhibits per year, it said.

"There will be three big moments, Spring, Summer and Autumn," said François Quintin, the new space's director.

"In the meantime, we will host performances, festivals and collective practices." 

And beyond contemporary art and design, the building will now include fashion, relying in particular on its approach to the expertise of Lidewij Edelkoort.

"Our wish is to consider designers as visual artists," Quintin told FashionNetwork.com. "We want to offer designers the opportunity to explore their creations and evolve the ideological straitjacket of fashion."

Therefore, fashion designers will be able access to two studios, in particular: one with a digital drill; the other with sewing machines.

The goal of the fashion team, which is lead by curator Hicham Khalidi, is to communicate expertise and open the door to seamstresses, pattern makers and other talents in the sector. 

In May, Tarik Kiswanson, who creates for Nicolas Ghesquière, is set to arrive at Lafayette Anticipations.

Translated by Benjamin Fitzgerald

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