Since 1846 Savile Row has been synonymous with the most meticulous men's tailoring in the world. Much of the street's reputation rests on the ability of the men and women who create the patterns from which suits are made. From 20 precise measurements, a Savile Row cutter makes a bespoke card pattern for each and every client, from which a flawlessly fitted suit is made. The pattern is named, kept and filed, it can be altered and reworked over time, mimicking the changes in the body of the client.
In many of the Row's long term relationships, a pattern may stay in house right to the bitter end and only when an individual passes away are the patterns no longer of use. But what remains is a perfect trace of a body which disappears. Prior to the dominion of the tailors, the street had been occupied by doctors and surgeons who swiftly moved on to Harley Street when the suit makers descended. So from one stitcher, to another, the area is inextricably linked with a habit of de constructing bodies in one way or another.
It is the relationship of these patterns to the body, traced out in finely constructed yet fragile cuttings that so fascinates artist Hormazd Narielwalla. Studying for his PhD at the London College of Fashion, Narielwalla's practice has lead him to uncover a range of patterns that have been discarded for this very reason. Their bodily counterpart has died, and due to the bespoke nature of the craft, the pattern is rendered redundant. But in these cuttings, Narielwalla finds a connection with bodily matter that is reduced down to its simplest components. Using surgical precision, Narielwalla breathes new life into them by reading them in a similar way to the artists linked with cubism and abstraction. He creates collages which pick out shapes that trace the body as a surface. Narielwalla's studio is crammed full of these patterns, and the Savile Row cuttings are accompanied by vintage lingerie, Victorian mourning dress and military uniform patterns. Each will be appropriated by Narielwalla into collage and sculpture finding new ways of rendering the physical body.
SHOWstudio Shop will soon be offering a selection of Narielwalla's intricate collages for sale. Watch the blog to find out when they will become available to buy.