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26 Nov

Sybilla Retrospective Reflects on a 4-decade Profession in Fashion

Sybilla Retrospective

LONDON — Sybilla Retrospective The Sala Canal de Isabel II, an exhibition hall in Madrid, Spain, that resembles a lighthouse from the surface, is shining a highlight on the work of native fashion designer Sybilla, who rose to fame within the ’80s with minimal avant-garde designs.

The retrospective, titled “The Invisible Thread,” is the designer’s largest exhibition thus far, running until Jan. 15, and curated by her friend Laura Cerrato Mera.

It should include greater than 80 pieces of Sybilla’s designs, in addition to catalogues, catwalk show footage, lavish invitations, press clippings and artifacts for example the designer’s four-decade profession.

The exhibition space is split into five sections across five floors — “The Basting Thread,” “The Warp Thread,” “The Weft Thread,” “The Thread of Time” and “A Thread of Whispers” — to trace Sybilla’s success.

“Preparing this exhibition under Laura Cerrato’s guidance has forced me to evaluate and someway rationalize my working processes through the years and, through my conversations together with her, has helped me understand them,” Sybilla says.

The exhibition starts within the Nineteen Eighties, when the designer was a part of the La Movida Madrileña countercultrual movement that took place after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. That is where Sybilla established her designs by sharing them together with her community and began a longtime collaboration with photographers Javier Vallhonrat and Juan Gatti.

“The Invisible Thread” at Sala Canal de Isabel II.SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Sybilla has all the time had a flair for architecture in her garments — on display on the second floor is her practice of painting fabrics and fidgeting with sculptures and geometry, which expanded into bridalwear.

Sensuality and wonder are the theme of the third section, “The Weft Thread,” where Sybilla showcases contrasting ideas, including angles and curves, rigidity and fluidity, black and color, and extravagance and ease in her “Airport” collection from 1989, and pieces from her Sybilla Noche line.

The Spanish designer was a sustainability leader within the ’90s and worked briefly for the Italian house of Capucci before taking a protracted hiatus after to concentrate on craft and interiors, which is on display in “The Thread of Time.”

“A Thread of Whispers,” the ultimate section, contains a special video where Sybilla meditates on the epochs of her profession, the fashion industry, her aspirations and obsessions.

“It hasn’t been easy for me, as every thing I do tends to be quite spontaneous and unconscious. I do what I like, what comes up at any given moment, and I’m the primary to be surprised by the outcomes,” she concludes.

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