Swiss sportswear brand On was born from nature. From the Alps of the brand’s formation, the clouds on which they engineer sneakers to feel like running on, or the gardening hose co-founder Olivier Bernhard cut up to create the concept for their iconic CloudTec®️ cushioning technology, everything they do falls back to the organic beauty of the natural world.
On's co-founder David Alleman recently said, “Performance used to borrow from fashion; now fashion borrows from performance. And we do have a distinct advantage in that performance and tech are at the core of our brand." The Cloudnova sets out to live up to this statement, tying the ‘Run on Clouds’ sensation of CloudTec®️, with that barefoot strolling through long Swiss grass feel of the one-piece upper, it brings the joys of nature and organic performance-based design into our mostly concrete everyday lives. Running has taken a turn from just being for those who keep fit to providing a platform for mindfulness and escapism, freeing up the creative mind for its next project. The Cloudnova manages to release those endorphins without actually having to go for a jog – the CloudTec®️ cushioning the sneaker is built upon is that floaty.
What the Cloudnova, in essence, has done is take On’s, perfect for a 40k run, CloudTec®️ performance technology, added a dose of their springy signature Speedboard™ cushioning and built an upper suited to everyday life and on-street flex upon it. So you get that all-encompassing comfort and performance the world's best runners need, in a lightweight and fashion facing lifestyle fit.
In the spirit of the Cloudnova’s desire to bring technology more associated with marathon sneakers to the world’s more style and creativity obsessed individuals, we met up with Jean-Christian Pullin of Berlin-based floral artists Anatomie Fleur. The use of flowers in their art mirrors On’s aim of bringing performance and natures feeling of freedom and escapism into the everyday lives of artists, office workers, craftspeople and runners alike.
Throughout history, the flower is one of those time-defying symbols that continues to inspire art, fashion and music. Name a movement and I will give you a flower. From the baroque to the renaissance, Supreme to JW Anderson, Morrisey to Tyler the Creator the references are obvious and abundant.
“It's in everything. It's in literature, it's in names of songs, it's in visual arts, and actually, it feels like it's always this one thing that humanity can never put a full grasp on, but it’s always there, it's a way of communicating.”
Anatomie Fleur takes the temporary beauty of flowers and turns them into pieces of art that permeate the consciousness and leave a lasting mark on the mind long after the last petal has dropped. Just as the flower is the result of a series of beautiful coincidences, so was the formation of Anatomie Fleur. Jean-Christian Pullin and Amandine Cheveau met by chance at the place people meet by chance in Berlin- a party. Pullin comes from a background in acting and the odd gallery gig whilst Cheveau took the path of graphic design. Their roots are different but the destination they both yearned for the same- Pullin had started working for Versace and Off-White floral collaborator Mary Lennox and Cheveau was finishing her floral intensive training. Several engaging encounters, and exchanging of ideas later, Anatomie Fleur was born.
As Pullin describes how they decided on their name, you know these are not your run-of-the-mill flower arrangers. Their business is art and the flower their means of expression.
“We wanted to have a name that didn’t immediately identify us as working with flowers: rose, lily, bloom. We are both inspired by surrealism, and Anatomie was an abstraction of the physical components in flowers that are similar to the sexual anatomy of humans. It is referential to the occupation of the space by the body, every composition is created like a sculpture where its environment plays a major factor in our creations.”
“Every composition is created like a sculpture where its environment plays a major factor in our creations.”
Their work has found itself in the halls of the Boros Collection and Galerie Neu in Berlin, stores like Sunnei in Milan, on runway shows with Ximan Lee, and contemporary dance performances with Miles Greenberg in Paris. But as is the way with flowers, their art form is temporary. In a world where people buy objects and art to last a lifetime, how does their work fit into this paradigm?
“We're doing something that's actually old school in a way, working with flowers. This has been around forever, but I think it is its own language that can be communicated at any period in time, so we're trying to contemporize in a way the usage of flowers, and also to bring them back, and show why they never really left society.”
“We're trying to contemporize in a way the usage of flowers, and also to bring them back, and show why they never really left society.”
Their main influences are not things you can pin down- their work is not constrained to a theme or pattern but instead, each piece of output they create takes on its own character. Every one of their installations blossoms with inspiration taken from the environment their work is set, a film or piece of art Cheveau saw the week before, or even the last track Pullin heard as he left the club that Sunday night. For Anatomie Fleur there is no particular place they go to find inspiration- Berlin, the city, and what they consume on a daily basis is enough.
“I see a lot of art. I go to a lot of exhibitions in Berlin, and get this clear headspace from seeing what everyone else is doing ... we both watch a lot of movies, and I think the cinematic eye is something where we see this. We even use this kind of terminology like, ‘This bouquet makes me think of David Lynch,’ or, ‘Maybe these colors are a little bit Tim Burton. Maybe we don't do that.’ ”
Their studio is the idea factory whilst the place their art takes shape is the environment in which it is displayed. “As soon as we're working with the material, then everywhere is our space in our studio, as soon as we're in it.” In that sense there is a spontaneity in it, a sense of living in the moment and spurring each other on to make the next move like a free-jazz ensemble - Ornette Coleman in his hey - go crazy but keep the crowd bopping. It’s all about that balance.
“That's our struggle, to break away from just something that's pretty.”
“I think the kind of overriding factor that we want to meld into our work and its various artistic movements is that it's a sense of a balance between something that's very, very beautiful and elegant, but also violent and in a way undesirable. For example, ballerinas who are on stage look completely flawless, but you see that their feet get completely beaten up. That's why we try to play with these elements in our work, because it could on the surface look very purely aesthetic or first degree in a way, but that's our struggle, to break away from just something that's pretty.”
From Virgil’s SS20 Louis show in Paris to Prada’s 2020 Resort campaign, featuring fancy florals in your work is becoming more and more in vogue. This could be down to natures part in well-being and our daily struggle for mindfulness making color and happiness in our consumer choices more important, or more likely Pullin’s take on it might be closer to the truth, “There's been a huge kind of boom and a little bit of a floral renaissance with the age of social media, because it became something to be looked at, and that's why some people who were early on in the game rose to a meteoric rise to popularity, because they had a very singular kind of Instagram, and so I think flowers then became associated with things that were in this kind of lifestyle category, so that's why you would also see it in interiors.”
As 2020 rolls on, what has become clear, even pre-corona, is that the appreciation of a good inside space on social media has grown way beyond just checking the latest Beau-Traps post or pics of Drakes latest multimillion-dollar mansion, people have grown to appreciate and share the spaces they reside in no matter the social or wealth bracket. A big player in this is the house plant and floral arrangement, an affordable home accessory that adds a touch of class, luxury and well-being to any abode. Pullin looks at it like this, “There's one thing with flowers, which is almost undeniable, is that most people find them to be pleasing to look at, so already there's the visual plus of it being beautiful. Then there's something else that comes with flowers. Flowers bring back memories, then flowers bring back their sense. In a way, flowers are useless to us, yet there's a huge industry, and that's because they have a positive effect.”
Keep your eyes fixed on anatomiefleur.com for news of further projects including a highly anticipated limited collection of vases with ceramicist Rosaly Chave later this year.
On’s limited edition Cloudnova is now available in Lagoon Limelight and Denim Ruby, enter the raffle from May 21st to May 28th here. The Cloudnova is also available in the Black Eclipse and White Umber colorways at select retailers including MATCHESFASION (worldwide), Dover Street Market (worldwide), Shoe Gallery (USA), Bodega (USA), Atmos (Japan) and 43einhalb (Germany).
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