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“I was saved by painting,” says the Calabrian artist Anna Paparetti in an exclusive new video in which she discusses her life’s work and vision with Maria Grazia Chiuri. One of the few female artists recognised in Rome in the 1960s, the visionary counter-cultural figure designed the colourful games-inspired set of Dior’s spring/summer 2022 show.
Surrounded by multi-hued signs shaped like arrows and dartboards reading “La gioco del nonsense” (“The game of nonsense”) and “Le jeu qui n’existe pas” (“The game that does not exist”), models rotated around Paparatti’s retro roulette-board set, with its bright orange, yellow, green and pink numbered steps reflecting the neon hues woven through the looks – all contrasting against a black canvas. “I wanted it all to be black, because even my bedroom is black,” Paparetti tells Chiuru. “I find that colours explode and sing on a black background.”
In the show, which took place at the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, short hemlines, Sassoon-style hair and sharply flicked eyeliner nodded to the Sixties – when Marc Bohan helmed Dior’s epochal Slim Look collection. This was also the era when Paparatti was shaping the Roman art scene at Galleria l’Attico, alongside her 20-year-long companion, the gallerist Fabio Sargentini. “We were the most avante-garde gallery there was,” she reflects.
It was here that Paparatti created an absurdist series of paintings under the title The Great Game, from which she drew her set design for Dior. “I took parts of some of these paintings that I had painted in the mid-Sixties and used them to put together the project,” she says in the video.
The symbiosis of art and fashion has been at the heart of Chiuri’s approach as the creative director of Dior, and such synergy exists for Paparatti too; for she sees style as a means of expression, a tool for women to free themselves from convention. She embodies a distinctly strong femininity with a free-spirited energy, making her a natural partner for this storied house.
As Chiuri says of their collaboration at the end of their conversation, “You played the game of art again” – to which she triumphantly agrees.
Watch the full video above.
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