by Alexander Fury .

Mother of Pearl S/S 2011

Coming as it does at the end of the international round of collections, the Frieze art fair earlier this month felt like the perfect time to launch the latest collection from Mother of Pearl, the clothing collection designed by Damien Hirst's wife Maia Norman - and not just for that rather obvious art-world connection. The label collaborates with figures from the contemporary art world to devise exclusive prints and fabrics for their collections: but, as Norman herself states 'I keep it very practical, and wearable. It's not just art for art's sake'. For proof of that, one need only look at the neat little romper-suits sported by the label's PRs at their presentation at London's Haunch of Venison gallery. The fact the graphic jacquard fabric was the result of a Carsten Holler collab for A/W 2010 seemed secondary to the aesthetic considerations of the outfit. The same was true of this season's collaboration with artist Jim Lambie, presented on a series of flower-headed mannequins dotted about the gallery, or framed poster-style in a sandwich of glass sheets. For S/S 2011, Norman and Lambie chose a selection of prints from his archival work and then applied them to fabrics - fine silk crepe-de-chine, organza and even nappa leather - which were then crafted into simple sportwear-influenced pieces. Norman relates that it is a case of working with the artists' existing work, but translating that into clothing - and specifically, seeing which works best within the realm of fashion. Lambie's trademark assemblages seem the perfect choice - case in point the gaffer-scarred silk number Norman herself was wearing. Any music or art buff would recognise the eyes peeping out from behind the tape as coming from Lasmbie's cover of Primal Scream's Dirty Hits LP - but to the uninitiated, it registered as a clever twist on fashion's continuing obsession with pretty printed frocks, and one that looked mightily desirable into the bargain.

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