Liu Bolin Works His “Invisible Man” Magic on Missoni, Lanvin, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Valentino

Liu Bolin Works His “Invisible Man” Magic on Missoni, Lanvin, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Valentino
Artist Liu Bolin works his magic on Alber Elbaz of Lanvin for Harper’s Bazaar
(Courtesy Eli Klein Fine Art, New York)

Call it a case of disappearing designers. For the March 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Chinese artist Liu Bolin worked his magic on the creative directors of four different fashion labels — Missoni, Lanvin, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Valentino — for an editorial called “Lost in Fashion.” The artist blended Angela Missoni into her brand’s trademark colorful zigzags. Then, Liu hid Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz in front of a mix of racks of samples and Lanvin mannequins at his studio. For Jean Paul Gaultier, he integrated the designer into a sea of his sailor shirts scattered against a backdrop of blue and white stripes. For the final image, Liu fused Valentino’s Maria Grazia and Pierpaolo Piccioli into a display of nine red Valentino gowns on dress forms.

Liu, also known as the “invisible man,” began his urban camouflage works as a form of protest when he painted himself against an artists village destroyed by the Chinese government in 2005. Since then, he has become known for seamlessly blending himself into a variety of settings, among them Chinese supermarket shelves, the Wall Street charging bull, and Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium. He is, poetically, one of the most searched artists on the Internet. On March 20, New York's Eli Klein Fine Art will present an exhibition of his works.


Urban camouflage actually seems like a trend in fashion editorials. For its December 2011 issue, Vogue commissioned Rachel Perry Welty, another artist known for blending herself into various settings, to conceptualize pages. In that spread, Welty, wearing the actual pieces, lost herself in a background of patterns scanned from accessories and clothing by Prada, Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière, and Alexander Wang. Welty currently has an exhibition at the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Is a Cecilia Parades editorial for W next?