From octopus to the catwalk

Jan Kaplický, photo: CTK
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Architect Jan Kaplický may never see his controversial winning octopus or “blob” design for a new national library in Prague come to fruition. But rather than wallow in the endless debate and machinations, Mr Kaplický has instead taken up a new profession.

Jan Kaplický, photo: CTK
Jan Kaplický has become synonymous with architecture - with major buildings in London including the Selfridges building and the media centre at the Lord’s Cricket ground as well as an underground station and museum going up in Italy. But there is one place that does not seem particularly eager to see his designs come to fruition – his native country. For months a battle has raged in Prague over a winning design for a new national library. Critics say it is too controversial, too radical – the “blob” as it has been nicknamed has sharply divided opinion. The likely result, the building simply will not get built.

But, Mr Kaplický has been keeping busy in his native country. His latest project has seen him move from the arena of architecture to fashion design. On Thursday, a new exhibition from the Czech fashion label Leeda went on display at the Meet Factory – an alternative venue for the arts. Among the various clothing designs on display, a series of classy women’s outfits designed by the famous architect – everything from evening wear to more casual items and most of them particularly revealing. In an interview with the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny, Mr Kaplický noted the parallels between fashion design and architecture, pointing out that in both cases one is making something with the hope that it doesn’t fall down.

And this isn’t the first time that the architect has delved into the world of fashion. Last year, the architect-turned fashion designer created a wedding dress for his future wife. The twist? The dress was jet black. Whether Mr Kaplický decides to continue in the world of fashion isn’t clear, though the architect has not ruled it out.