The biennial House of Voltaire pop-up, selling works by young artists and their collaborators in other crafts to raise money to help artists in all fields, has taken a high-profile, high-fashion turn this year with the arrival of luxury-brand sponsorship. Boho-inspired, ultra-feminine Paris brand Chloé has put its weight behind the project, conceived four years ago by 20-year-old arts collective House of Voltaire, which felt that the traditional fundraising gala evening was not its style. Chloé has enabled the pop-up to take over a prime Mayfair site and has helped create exclusive products for it, working with three respected female artists.
The Studio Voltaire collective, based in Clapham, offers inexpensive studio space and solo exhibitions to emerging talents in many artistic areas, as well as running extensive education programmes. Chloé, founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion (who died recently), has long supported a wide range of artists, but the two were brought together by Clare Waight Keller, Chloé’s British creative director, a great fan of Studio Voltaire. “It’s a fantastic organisation in its support and nurturing of emerging artists and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to get involved in a meaningful way,” she says. “Choosing female artists to participate fits perfectly with Chloé, which has always had a close, emotional connection with women.”The pop-up includes a wealth of works from over 100 artists, with limited-edition prints, homewares, accessories and fashion alongside pure artworks. Waight Keller has worked on designs – made by the brand – for three artists, as well as designing a special green tote (£835, second picture) for the sale herself. Jenny Saville’s sketches and colour tests for her own work have been turned into silk scarves (£700, third picture), while artist Karen Kilimnik created a lace pattern and design for a characteristically Chloé top (£575) and shorts (£485). Perhaps most intriguingly, Chinese artist Cao Fei has created an exhibition of 12 dresses, 11 of them from Chloé’s archives and the remaining one from the new resort collection (£2,625, first picture), each of which come with elaborate stories told on the labels.A number of other covetable fashion and art collaborations grace the sale – a sweater by Sibling and Jim Lambie (£390, edition of 10, fourth picture), based on a 2008 work by Lambie, a limited-edition, enigmatic photograph of a Simone Rocha dress by Kim Gordon (£120) and a cut cardigan by Peter Jensen (£220, edition of 100), based on a sketch by Ella Kruglyanskaya, among them.
The pop-up itself is beautifully designed and elegantly staffed by arts and fashion world luminaries, such as collector and philanthropist Valeria Napoleone, designer Roksanda Ilincic and internet entrepreneur Suzanne Tide Frater. The limited-edition Chloé pieces will also be available on Net-a-Porter, while the pop-up itself runs from Tuesday November 11 to Saturday December 20.