Hormazd Narielwalla ‘Le Petit Echo de la Mode No.78′ 

Narielwalla makes collages from antique tailoring patterns. His latest work mines a seam of precious found material hidden between the pages of Le Petit Echo de la Mode. Published in Paris between 1897 and 1983 was a popular fashion and lifestyle magazine. Within it, loose and often discarded, he pluck a streak of radical abstraction. The magazine contains tailoring patterns that, for efficiency’s sake, layer the life-sized templates of entire garments onto a single sheet of paper. Each facet of the garment is encoded in an intricate web of lines, dots and numbers. I challenge to view this sheet not as a means to an end but as an end in itself. Shattering the female form into precise overlapping facets flattened not as views of a subject but as the object itself. He makes the radical potential loose in Le Petit Echo de la Mode real by cutting delicate sheets of coloured paper and acetate with the pride of a mother. The sheet of paper instructs the housewife, and the artist, to make itself. Predating Futurism and prefiguring Cubism these Le Petit Echo de la Mode abstracted the female subject to a degree more radical and precise than the highest aspirations of the 1912 manifetso Du “Cubisme”. This pattern was extracted from undated (c1960). Acid free archival double sided tape is used to create the artwork.

Mother and child reading. Almanach Le Petit Echo de la Mode, 1950.

The French fashion magazine Le Petit Echo de La Mode was published for over 100 years. Founded in Paris by Charles Huon de Penanster in 1879, the last issue was on the newstands in 1983, having been published weekly throughout (most of) that time.