Karen Barbé Workshops

24 Jan 2009

Sonia Delaunay - Swimsuits (1928)

What a great artist Sonia Delaunay is. Not only did she succeed in painting, but also in fashion, textile and stage set design.Her work is mesmerizing, the use of essential strokes, shapes and colours is stunning. After reading about her on The Textile Blog I had to get a book to read more about her work so I picked Sonia Delaunay | Fabrics and Fashion by Jacques Damase (Thames and Hudson, 1991). The collection of swimsuits shown above is featured there.

When describing her fabrics, Sonia explains: "I have done fifty designs, relationships of colour using pure geometrical forms with rhythm. They were, and remain, colour scales - really a purified version of our concept of painting. (...) The rhythm is based on numbers, for colour can be measured by the number of vibrations. This is a completely new concept, one which opens infinite horizons for painting and may be used by everyone who can feel and understand it."

It only added to my delight when I discovered that Sonia was the designer behind the costumes made for the first Dada play by Tristan Tzara, Le Coeur à gaz (1923, Paris), which decades later inspired similar outfits worn by David Bowie and Klaus Nomi. Great trivia, isn't it?

On a funny note, this photo has been included in the sixth edition of the Schmap Stockholm Guide. It's just one of the thumbnails in the review of Café String but anyway it's kind of nice, huh?


Anonymous said...

delightful blog!

Karen Barbé said...

thank you cynthia :)

Isabel said...

what a beautiful blog i'll be coming back

Teri Pettit said...

You might like to take a look at this paper doll that my daughter made of Sonia Delaunay last year for a Book Arts class. She uses the same swimsuit image that you show first above as the inspiration for the doll.

Teri Pettit said...

Uh, sorry, I forgot to include the link:


Karen Barbé said...

Thanks for sharing, Teri. I'd say Tiffany's version is far more flattering!