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Friday 6 May 2016

How to Steal a Damien Hirst - Part II

Back in May, I wrote about how I stole a priceless Damien Hirst butterfly print from an Alexander McQueen store in Mayfair. Various accomplices later, and the delicate silk butterfly print, almost two meters in height, features as the flagship canvas in Ultraloft.

The steal of the decade, certainly. But here's the story of how I avoided spending time at Her Majesty's pleasure. For this heist, not only required careful planning, entrepreneurial zeal, and the right connections, but crucially, was done without breaking a single law. And you can do it too.

In winter 2013, iconic British fashion house Alexander McQueen announced a historical collaboration with Damien Hirst. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of McQueen's eponymous skull design scarf, the two powerhouses of contemporary culture worked together to produce a series of 30 highly limited edition scarves. In silk and cashmere, the designs would bring together the signature styles of both designers; butterflies, skulls and intricate repeating geometries.

There is a long and illustrious history of the world's most brilliant artists working to create artworks on textile. Matisse, Miró, Picasso, Dail, Warhol; all recently featuring in a recent exhibition.

A collaboration between one of Britain's most celebrated fashion designers and it's most controversial contemporary artists is masterful. Like the Hirst x Nobu collaboration, it is amplified tenfold because of the uneasy commercial relationship between art, retail and fashion. A two meter Hirst butterfly print will trade hands for five figures; yet will be printed on paper and bear only one signature. By contrast, the sub £1,000 McQueen x Hirst scarf, properly mounted, has a far richer narrative.

Limited in number like conventional art prints, but on a lustrous silk canvas. Bearing two signatures, the collaboration is unlikely to ever be repeated. While those signatures aren't in ink, the beauty is that they don't need to be. The silk scarf doesn't need to masquerade as static, formal, textbook definition 'art'.

The relevance is... 'this is a silk scarf'. It was bought from a shop, it is a branded luxury good that has provenance, celebrity and reflects the mode du jour. The exact same thing can be said for anything sitting in Gagosian with an inked signature and a price tag.

Have your textiles professionally mounted by internationally renowned textile restorer Kitty Morris and framed in custom constructed UV resistant perspex by Framed Vintage Scarves in London.
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