A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting artist, fashion illustrator and author, Hormazd Narielwalla, in London, where I learned more about his art, books and a current exhibition. Today, I want to introduce you to this interesting man, who utilizes traditional bespoke military patterns in his very own, unorthodox way.
Initially, I got in touch with Hormazd after I had read his book, The Savile Row Cutter book, a biography of Dege & Skinner’s master tailor, Michael Skinner, which we reviewed a few months ago.
Since I really liked the approach of the book, I decided to pay Mr. Narielwalla a visit in his atelier/workroom. There, I learned that he had already published a limited edition book, Dead Man’s Patterns, which portraits vintage military patterns that were repurposed into artwork. This book was self-published on very high quality paper and was acquired by several art libraries around the world, including the Rare Modern British Collections at the British Library and the V&A library. When you meet Hormazd Narielwalla, you soon realize that everything revolves around patterns – men’s
military patterns. In his own special way, he takes traditional tailor patterns and creates collages of various kinds – something nobody seems to have done before.
Of course, the connection to Dege and Skinner also started out with a request for patterns and along the way, Hormazd felt that this man, Michael Skinner, had so much to say that it would be a pity not to document his knowledge for future generations.
Mr. Narielwalla’s passion for antique military tailoring patterns earned him the singular International Rector’s Scholarship from the University of Arts at the London College of Fashion. Currently, he is pursuing his Ph.D. researching general military tailoring, and more particularly, the historical and artistic narrative on the construction of uniforms of British Raj.
Most of Hormazd Narielwalla’s artwork revolves around collages ranging from Victorian gentleman riding a bicycle, to human anatomy. While he was cutting the patterns into suitable pieces for his artwork, he noticed that the leftover debris itself was cool looking, and so he incorporated it into a collage itself. Using a more traditional approach, he put together an illustrated history of the Raj uniforms on a gigantic piece of paper. Overall, I think especially his collages are unique and since I am interested in bespoke tailoring as well, I really enjoy the fact that a piece of abstract artwork on your wall can be connected to Savile Row.
Moreover, he is a fashion illustrator, and his work has been published in Martin Dawber’s Great Big Book of Fashion Illustration.
Outside of his artistic endeavors, he enjoys vintage fashion literature and magazines. Luckily for him, he has found various interesting magazines, such as an issue of Vanity Fair of the coronation of George VI or Apparel Arts magazines.
Fairy-God Fashion-Mother Exhibition
From 8th November until 7th January 2012, Hormazd Narielwalla is exhibiting an assortment of his collage drawings at the restaurant, The Modern Pantry. At this Clerkenwell gem, you may enjoy great art on a regular basis but also bold flavors, unusual ingredients, herbs and spices from all over the world. The exhibition, “Fairy-God, Fashion-Mother” can be visited 7 days a week. In case you are in London in mid-January, you should definitely visit the exhibition, especially if you have an affinity for art and tailoring.
Overall, I had a great time with Hormazd, and he even let me choose one of his bespoke pattern collages – I went with the aforementioned Victorian gentleman on a bike. Although Hormazd Narielwalla uses the patterns in anything but a traditional way, I sincerely enjoyed his artwork.The Modern Pantry. 47-48
St. John’s Square,
Clerkenwell, EVC1V 4JJ, London