Wowsers is a word one might say looking at Martyn Bal's stunning menswear label, or his resumé. He's worked under Hedi Slimane at Dior, for Versace and at Burberry Prorsum. Similarly, Wowzers is also the name of the sunglasses he's designed in collaboration with Cutler and Gross. To celebrate their continued success, Bal invited London-based artist Luke Waller to create nine portraits, with each subject wearing the 'Black Dream' Wowzers that have made a fashionable impression. Dazed Digital spoke to the designer ahead of the paintings' exhibition, opening this evening, in London. Dazed Digital: Tell us why you feel Wowzers have captured and moved people so strongly? Martyn Bal: Wowzers encapsulate a unisex duality where my choice of shape and material seem to have captured a moment. I used the Cutler and Gross DNA as a starting point and then added my constructive and architectural approach to design. I aim to always create something that is sharp, neat and sexy – which is usually the perfect recipe for a successful collaboration.
DD: What instigated these nine paintings and your collaboration with Luke Waller? Martyn Bal: Sharing thoughts about individuality, craftsmanship and artistic values. These nine paintings are the result of personal research and a desire to create a cinematic picture that is not necessarily telling a story but is rather an impression, open for interpretation by the viewer. Even though each picture tells a story of its own, the nine pictures together seem to express one storyline about individuals that all share the same values.
DD: How do you see the art and fashion worlds evolving in the form of collaboration? Martyn Bal: Considering art and fashion design evolve around expressing a creative vision or ideal, the synergy between both seem natural. Art can be a supportive medium to define a creative ideal; it is often studied to inspire and it certainly adds more depth and dimension to an idea by associating itself with a particular artistic expression.
The exhibition runs 18th May until 15th June at the Cutler and Gross vintage boutique, Knightsbridge, London.