Handpainted garments that tell a tale

Aigana Gali weaves personal stories into her statement-making coats and shirts 

Aigana Gali’s “art couture” technique involves individually handpainting each piece, as in the Creation Myth No 8 coat, from £2,000
Aigana Gali’s “art couture” technique involves individually handpainting each piece, as in the Creation Myth No 8 coat, from £2,000

From the surreal lobster dress designed by Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí to Louis Vuitton’s recent collaborations with the likes of Jeff Koons, the worlds of art and fashion have long collided to striking effect. Adding to this rich history is Kazakhstan-born, London-based Aigana Gali, who creates bespoke clothing that dovetails with her painting practice. “Primarily I am an artist,” she says, “but fashion is also a passion for me.” 

Aigana Gali with the Hero coat, from £2,000, embellished with gold-leaf mosaic
Aigana Gali with the Hero coat, from £2,000, embellished with gold-leaf mosaic
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Gali’s process begins with sketches of her garment designs being sent to acclaimed fashion production atelier Marc Gysemans in Belgium, which also works with Dior and Raf Simons. The patterns – predominantly shirts (from £750), jackets (from £900) and coats (from £1,950) – are put together using fine cashmere, silk, linen or pure new wool, and returned to Gali ready to act as blank canvases. Her “art couture” technique involves individually handpainting each piece with fabric dyes and special paints, followed by embroidery and decoration with gold and silver leaf and crystals. She follows both the client’s design story and her own instinctive and individual painterly style: “I approach each piece of clothing in the same way as one of my paintings – so it’s unpredictable as to what will happen.” 

From left: the Blossom Heart jacket with gold-work embroidery and crystals, and the handpainted and embroidered Sun Shaman jacket, both from £1,200
From left: the Blossom Heart jacket with gold-work embroidery and crystals, and the handpainted and embroidered Sun Shaman jacket, both from £1,200
The commissions use symbols from ancient myths and legends: Jumping Cat hat, from £550
The commissions use symbols from ancient myths and legends: Jumping Cat hat, from £550

bespoke commission (coats from £2,500) starts with a detailed discussion of the client’s “story”, which Gali then interprets using visual symbols from ancient myths and legends. “One client wanted to have her family on the back of her coat. After some discussion I created a bespoke design, symbolically depicting each member of her family as part of the story.” The whole process takes about three to four weeks and each Manifestations by Aigana Gali piece comes with a signed certificate of authenticity. Gali’s new London boutique (by appointment only) opens at the start of July, and will host her own work alongside upcoming collaborations with other artists.

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