Kundalin0ArtsInspired by the work of Zika and Lida Ascher whose mid-century collaborations with some of the 20th century’s leading artists left a legacy of silk panels that are now rare and coveted collector’s pieces,  Miss Kiki Salon Presents– a London socialite and muse – will reproduce the designs of a number of carefully chosen British creatives in a series of 90cm x 90cm silk panels in a way that celebrates their work and creates a forum through which they can commune with individuals. Martha Hayes has met up with Miss Kiki to talk about her inaugural line of silk scarves – Six Easy Pieces.

As far back as 1945, Harper’s Bazaar were singing the praises of scarves and how ‘used with ingenuity and imagination they enrich our scanty wardrobes and bring individuality to uniform clothes.’ Generations may have evolved since, but the stylish head (neck, waist… the list is endless) gear has only grown in its appeal. Now forget Dior, Chanel and yes, even Hermes, and prepare to embrace a new line of silk scarves by Miss Kiki Salon Presents.

London-based Kiki Salon has launched a selection of 50 different silk panels, each emblazoned with the artwork of up and coming new designers. Be it a bird on a patterned background, Oriental kitsch, or an animal’s tea party, the scarves all have one thing in common – they’re part of a collection that almost mirrors the creative movement of Zika Ascher in post-war London.

It was Zika who persuaded artists like Matisse and Henry Moore to design the silk scarves, which were taken up by couture houses including YSL and Lanvin and were the subject of a V&A retrospective in 1987. Now, more than ever, feels like the right time for young creatives to be tearing up the rulebook with recession-proof fashion and here to tell us more about this unique project is Miss Kiki herself…

zika-ascher_10QoV: What made you want to produce a range of scarves inspired by the Aschers?

Miss Kiki:I first came up with the idea at London Printworks Trust. Robert Burton and I were screen-printing his artworks onto silk for a fashion collaboration with the designer Catharina Eden. It occurred to me then that reproducing artworks on silk in a way that people can wear and so engage with art was an obvious thing to do. When I mentioned this to our close friend Mark Timmins – Director of Fashion at Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Design – he mentioned Zika Ascher(pictured right) to me.

I did my research and discovered that his story mirrored ours in that he worked with leading artists to create collections of silk panels, and then went on to extract and abstract art onto lengths of fabrics, which he then sold on to couture houses. That is exactly what we had planned to do, so the Ascher’s story provided the perfect backdrop to ours.

QoV: Could you talk us through the creative process involved in bringing these scarves to life?

Miss Kiki: Our lives revolve around fashion and art for that is our world. Rob is a textile designer and artist, working across several mediums including digital. We live in Hackney so we come across extraordinary new talent all the time. Our idea was borne out of our frustration that the work of artists is rarely seen, and it’s expensive to exhibit – we wanted to work with artists to give them more opportunity to get their artworks out there. For the inaugural collection of scarves, I wanted to curate a very graphic collection that would appeal to fashion buyers, the press and to consumers.

I already had several artists in mind but I needed two more. I wrote to Adele Elizabeth who I had been following on Facebook and she enthusiastically agreed to let us use her ‘Art of Illusion’ image. And then I asked the two artists that make up Kundalini Arts to submit an image. We had wanted to collaborate with them for several months. Thankfully they jumped at this chance and gave us permission to use ‘The Fabulous Geisha Girls Mandala’. I had my ‘Six Easy Pieces’!

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