The Tome Spring 2016 collection takes inspiration from Fiona Hall, an Australian sculptor whose work is influenced by ecology, mythology, hyper consumerism, capitalism and national cultural identity.
As one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, her intricate handmade shrines to the extinct and exploited, have long meant something to the pair of designers who discovered her work some twenty years ago while in High School. Key to this collection is her ‘Paradisus Terrestris’ series, where sardine cans containing carved details of male and female genitalia sprout extinct plants before being dipped in silver and gold. Here the sacred and the profane, the precious and everyday, the familiar and the extinct are all in one creatively illustrated metaphor.
Earlier this year the designers visited Fiona Hall’s ‘Wrong Way Time’ exhibition at The Venice Biennale. The visual whimsy in her work used to deliver potent indictments upon consumption, both global and personal – her fascination with nature, and how it is both ferocious and fragile – became the guiding light for Tome. Hollowed out sardine cans carved into extinct flora were reimagined in the hand painted prints and hand made jewelry. Hand crocheted knitwear inspired by Hall’s replica birds nests of endangered species are pieced together again ‘by hand’. In this way the collection was made, with the same care for the craft and details of clothes that Hall finds in the natural world.