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Lebanese designers pay tribute to Gustav Klimt.

Summary: Austrian painter Gustav Klimt was known for his admiration of Asian arts and its exotic-looking textiles, as well as its women.

BEIRUT: Austrian painter Gustav Klimt was known for his admiration of Asian arts and its exotic-looking textiles, as well as its women.

In many of his paintings, the two-dimensional floral design and the bright colors reflect Klimt's esteem of Chinese and Japanese clothing such as the kimono. It is said that Klimt's interest in women is what made his art famous and appealing to the Western world.

A one-of-a-kind event, "In the Mood of Klimt" was organized at Wadi Abu Jmeel's Music Hall Wednesday, with the aim of paying tribute to the Austrian painter and to implicate Klimt in a broader world of fashion and design. Lebanese fashion stylists like Grace Rihan from "Atelier G" and Rami Kadi presented their creations to honor the master depicter of all things Asian.

The fashions of "Atelier G" combined many of Klimt's paintings. The models might have been the living embodiment of the painter's artwork. Five silk and satin creations, worn by gorgeous models, were presented, mixing several motifs of Klimt's art.

"Each of our creations," "Atelier G" managing stylist Grace Rihan said, "is a representation of Klimt's paintings."

The first outfit -- radiating bright purples, reds and greens -- united three paintings: "Dancer," "Portrait of Emilie Floge," and "Eugenia Primavesi." Another of Rihan's creations mixed Klimt's "Friends" and "Hygeia," two warm orange-colored paintings.

What emerges from Rihan's designs are the luminous colors and the Asian textile fluidity of the traditional kimono. Bare footed and make-up-free, the models sashayed down the stage with grace, accompanied by the vocals of Japanese soprano Akiko Nakajima. The music was conducted by pianist and husband Niel Muus.

Nakajima also paid tribute to Klimt by wearing an outfit of traditional Japanese silk. She embodied Klimt's admiration of Asian art, as though she were one of the artist's muses.

Lebanese designer Rami Kadi honored the Austrian painter with a dress taking its inspiration from Klimt's "The Kiss." Suffused in golden radiance, the model carried the item with elegance, as though Klimt's painting had been flensed from the canvas and sewed directly upon the model's body.

Kadi himself made a respectful nod to the artist, wearing a golden blazer, a white shirt and a black bowtie, colors redolent of "The Kiss."

The works of other designs were also presented -- Mira Ghandour Tabet's outfits from "Amita," for instance, and the designs emerging from the ecological fashion boutique "Green & Glam." Rihan's and Kadi's creations were the more stunning and impressive items on show however.

In addition to honoring Klimt, all of the stylists paid tribute to women and to femininity. Klimt is said to have wanted to render women in all their shapes and sizes, "emphasizing on their breasts," as the event's press materials observe.

All the profits from this event went to the "Faire Face," an NGO dedicated to fighting breast cancer.

Copyright 2011, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:May 21, 2011
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