style file: Tome Pays Tribute To Ana Mendieta

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thumbnail Tome Pays Tribute To Ana Mendieta
Nov 18th 2013, 15:40, by Katharine K. Zarrella

“It’s one of those rare occurrences where the inspiration for our Spring collection, artist Ana Mendieta, by some cosmic happening, coincided with her first-ever retrospective, with no actual planning,” said Ryan Lobo, the co-founder and -designer (along with Ramon Martin) of up-and-coming New York womenswear label Tome.

Martin and Lobo, whose Spring ’14 collection was inspired by the late Cuban-American artist, were asked almost serendipitously by Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery, in London, to produce a commissioned artwork for the comprehensive exhibit of Mendieta’s life work, which opens tomorrow evening.

The two immediately obliged, taking several months to plan out their tribute, which they filmed at a friend’s property in Millbrook, New York. The resulting short, which debuts exclusively here, references the natural, pagan elements of Mendieta’s oeuvre while highlighting a few of Tome’s light and ethereal looks from the runway.

“There were so many different ways we could approach making a film as an homage to her,” Lobo said. “But the work that resonated with the two of us most, were her hand drawings and self-portraits where she becomes one with nature.” It was the latter, along with the severity of her work, that moved the designers upon their first introduction to the artist while watching Lynn Hershman-Leeson’s 2010 documentary film, Women Art Revolution.

The Tome woman is not dissimilar to Mendieta. “There’s this duality to her,” Lobo explained. “She doesn’t sacrifice her femininity or the power she exudes.” For the emerging designers, this film was an exercise in humility—a chance to pay it back. Another, humble way of paying thanks was the film’s title. It’s simply dubbed For Ana.

—Elizabeth L. Peng

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