What do you see when you envision a fan? Perhaps gilded sticks, a painted leaf, a sprinkling of palettes? What about a fan made of perfume blotters, a cut-up silk scarf, or leather? World-class artist Sylvain Le Guen pushes the boundaries of traditional fan craftsmanship, using unexpected materials and shapes to construct contemporary fan designs. On October 26, 2019, the FIDM Museum was proud to host Le Guen at the annual Fashion Council Fall Lecture Day celebrating our new exhibition FANtasy: The Mona Lee Nesseth Fan Collection at the FIDM Museum at the FIDM Orange County campus.
Le Guen began his presentation with an overview of fan history, tracing the object’s journey from ancient Egypt to Japan and China. He then walked the audience through his process of creating custom fans out of his Paris workshop, showing us fans in various forms of completion to illustrate each step. Le Guen’s clients include private individuals, corporations, and the film industry; you might have seen his impressive work in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006) or Disney’s live-action Cinderella (2015). His fans have also graced couture runways, window displays, art galleries, and grand masquerade balls – each tailor-made to suit the occasion and customer.
The Museum is privileged to now count an original Le Guen design in our permanent collection: a custom Deco-inspired fan commissioned by Mona Lee Nesseth to match a beaded Lorena Sarbu evening gown, also in the Museum’s collection. Associate Curator Christina Johnson spoke to Le Guen about how this fan came to fruition – be on the lookout for a future blog post detailing that process! You can see the gown and the fan displayed together for the first time when you visit FANtasy at the FIDM Orange County campus. Please note the exhibition is open by appointment; to schedule your visit, please call 888.974.3436.
If you’d like to learn more about Sylvain Le Guen’s work, you can follow him on Instagram or visit his website. See photos of the Museum’s new Le Guen fan, the FANtasy exhibition, and the Fall Lecture Day below!
Museum Coordinator Leigh Wishner with husband Brian Light
Sylvain Le Guen presenting
Curator Kevin Jones gives a demonstration on the language of fans
Lorena Sarbu gown in the FIDM Museum collection that inspired Mona Lee Nesseth to commission a matching fan
Front of the new Le Guen Deco-inspired fan
Reverse of the fan
Mona Lee Nesseth, Kevin Jones, and Sylvain Le Guen inside the exhibition