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Chicago’s reigning queen of vintage, Alma Wieser, invited us over to her studio at Heaven Gallery for an exclusive preview of "Model Assemblages," the Fall 2011 collection for her reconstructed vintage line Renovar. Wieser is best known for her role as the organizer and producer of the monthly vintage fashion marketplace, Vintage Heaven, but Renovar is her creative passion. While her last collection referenced Issey Miyake and the Japanese “anti-fashion” movement, her next collection draws upon great American sculptor Louise Nevelson. Nevelson is known for her influential work as an installation artist and helped popularize the form. She drew upon discarded wood from the streets of New York, which she then recycled into art.
Similarly, Wieser uses discarded vintage clothing as her material, which she then transforms into wearable art. Shown above are two pieces from the collection. The necklace is made from old childrens’ blocks and electrical wire. The dress, as is standard for Renovar, is a vintage sheath wholly transformed through pleating and drapery into a brand new creation. Wieser explained to me that working with a piece of vintage clothing breathes new life into the piece that surpasses the original purposes the garment was created. The act of reconstructing a dress, she says, gives the piece a spiritual life far greater than its first incarnation. Nevelson felt the same way about using discarded materials in her work, firmly believing in the power of the creative process to transform the mundane. Even more importantly Renovar makes a powerful statement about sustainability in fashion with its one-off designer pieces and exclusive use of recycled materials.-Amy Creyer
· Heaven Gallery [Official Site]