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.”
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.”
A 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.