Commedia dell'Arte – Couture Edition

On the occasion of the 260th anniversary of its foundation, Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg issued a special collector’s edition of Franz Anton Bustelli’s masterpiece Commedia dell’Arte figurines first introduced 1759/60. For the Couture Edition, each of the figurines have been redressed with new designs by contemporary fashion designers and Haute Couturiers including, Christian Lacroix, Viktor & Rolf, Gareth Pugh and Vivienne Westwood.

Taking this project as a launching point the Collector’s Book examines the Commedia dell’Arte as a whole, its significance and impact on fields as diverse as literature, painting, circus, fashion, all forms of theater, cinema and advertising over the centuries up until the present day. With over 500 photographs, drawings, historical and contemporary references and multifaceted essays and texts, by a series of authors, the book takes the reader on a caleidoscopic ride through centuries and across disciplines, documenting and contexturalizing the project from a variety of angles.

A brief history of the Commedia dell’Arte, introduction of the main characters, Bustelli’s versions transformed into Porcelain and the designers new interpretations, the cultural significance of the Commedia dell’Arte, Bustelli’s figurines’ peculiar gestures juxtaposed to those in silent movies, pantomime, street gestures by urban tribes, masks from use in performance, art, fashion, religion, masquerades, film, comics and rock’n roll, the unique costumes of the Commedia dell’Arte as popular and reappearing motif in fashion over centuries.

Simultaneously the publication documents the design and production of the Couture Edition pieces in the studios of the designers and Nymphenburgs Master workshops revealing rare insights in process and alchemy of fashion and porcelain production. Each of the sixteen new designs is discussed in context of the respective protagonist, who are portrayed with an intimate photograph in their studios and a comprehensive profile text.

The book demonstrates the increasing relevance of handcraft in the age of mass production - century old techniques are the engine of both fashion and fine porcelaine. The elaborate production process of the figurines at the Nymphenburg’s master workshops is for the first time documented and revealed to the public. It illustrates the familiarities and essential bond between Haute Couture and Fine Porcelain making, the mutual devotion to technique and stupefying craft. Why Haute Couture and the Nymphenburg Manufactory are to be counted amongst a few guardians of a level of human achievement expressed as an untouchable form of beauty that would otherwise be lost within a generation or even less.

Commedia dell'Arte – Couture Edition: About

The Designer

Adeline André
Gareth Pugh
Damiano Biella (Escada)

Ralph Rucci
Igor Chapurin
Elie Saab

Esteban Cortazar (Emanuel Ungaro)

Dominique Sirop,

Maurizio Galante
Franck Sorbie
Christian Lacroix

Naoki Takizawa

Gustavo Lins


Pascal Millet

The Contributors

Thomas Bärnthaler is a freelance journalist who lives and works in Munich. He writes on fashion and design for periodicals such as the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Weltwoche and GQ, and is in charge of the twice yearly fashion and design supplements of the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin.

Patrizia Dander is Curator at the Haus der Kunst in Munich. Between 2006 and 2007 she founded and co-directed the exhibition space ‘white light’ in Düsseldorf. Her recent projects at the Haus der Kunst include a.o. a Thomas Schütte exhibition as well as the presentation of the conceptual art collection by Herman and Nicole Daled.

Georg Diez is a journalist who lives and works in Berlin. He has written for Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and DIE ZEIT, and is today a writer for the arts section and magazine of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. A book on the death of his mother was published in autumn 2009 (Kiepenheuer & Witsch).

Rolf Hughes is Professor in Theory and Practice-Based Research at Konstfack University College of Arts, Craft and Design (Stockholm), and Senior Professor in Research Design at the Sint-Lucas School of Architecture (Brussels & Ghent). He has written and directed plays, and published essays, theory, fiction, prose poems, and a play, This Is Not A Story, on the life and work of Denis Diderot.

Ronald Jones is the Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden. At Konstfack he leads The Experience Design Group, and he is a guest professor of Experience Design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. He is the author of numerous museum catalogues and writes regularly for Artforum and frieze.

Tan Lin is Professor of English and Creative Writing at New Jersey City University. He published Lotion Bullwhip Giraffe (Sun & Moon Press) in 1996, and has written for a range of journals. His visual and video work has been exhibited in New York, New Haven, and Copenhagen. His book Plagiarism/Outsource (2008) tracks the real-time blog announcements and news updates following the death of actor Heath Ledger. He is now writing a book on Andy Warhol.

Eckhart Nickel is a writer and journalist who lives in Sonoma County (California). He has written for the European TV cultural channel arte and the journal Architectural Digest, among others, and was in charge of the weekend style section of the Süddeutsche Zeitung and chief editor of cultural magazine DER FREUND. He currently works for the fashion magazine ACHTUNG. His publications include Was Ich Davon Halte (stories), Paris Bar Buch, and (as co-author) Tristesse Royale: Das Popkulturelle Quintett.

The Editor

Florian Böhm, born in 1969, lives and works in Munich and New York. He has exhibited his work at various international institutions including KunstWerke Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Storefront for Art and Architecture (New York), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Fondazione Adriano Olivetti (Rome), and Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain (Paris). He was co-founder of the project EndCommercial® / Reading the City, a visual record of modern urban life. Böhm’s recent publications as editor or author include KGID Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (Phaidon Press 2005) and Wait for Walk (Hatje Cantz 2007).

The Assistant Editor

Annahita Kamali, born in 1984, is a fashion designer and art director who lives and works in Munich. She designs and publishes clothing, accessories and books at periodical intervalls.


Editor: Florian Böhm (mail@florianboehm.com)

Assistant Editor: Annahita Kamali (mail@annahitakamali.com)

Texts: H.R.H. Duke Franz of Bavaria, Thomas Bärnthaler,
Patrizia Dander, Georg Diez, Rolf Hughes,Ronald Jones, Tan Lin,
Eckhart Nickel, Jörg Richtsfeld, Alfred Ziffer

Art direction and design: Florian Böhm, Annahita Kamali

General copy-editing: Christopher John Murray

Translations: Paul Aston

German copy-editing: Patrizia Dander

Archive and picture research: Annahita Kamali

Prepress reproduction: Florian Böhm Office, Munich/New York

Production: Florian Böhm Office, Munich/New York, KRAM/WEISSHAAR, Munich/Stockholm

Printing and binding, book: Kösel GmbH & Co. KG, Altusried-Krugzell

© 2009 Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg

© 2009 The publisher, the editors, the authors, the translator,
the photographers

© 2008 for the reproduced works by Florian Böhm by the artist

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrievals system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

In reproducing the images contained in this publication, the publisher obtained the permission of the rights holders whenever possible. In those instances where the publisher could not locate the rights holders, notwithstanding good-faith efforts, the publisher requests that any contact information concerning such rights holders be forwarded, so that they may be contacted for future editions.

First published in Germany in 2009 by:

Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg
Nördliches Schlossrondell 8, 80638 Munich, Germany
Tel +49 (0) 89 179 197 0, Fax +49 (0) 89 179 197 50


Distribution Partner:

2009 Birkhäuser GmbH
P.O. Box 133, CH-4010 Basel, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (0) 61 205 0707, Fax.: +41 (0) 61 205 0792
e-mail: sales@birkhäuser.ch, www.birkhäuser.ch

ISBN: 978-3-0346-0544-1

Collector’s editions:

Collector’s edition, consisting of the book and a
signed fine art print by Florian Böhm in a cloth-bound
box in a limited edition of four hundred.

ISBN 978-3-0346-0551-9 (Birkhäuser)
ISBN 978-3-9812205-3-7 (Nymphenburg)

Exclusive collector’s edition, consisting of the book and sixteen fine art prints of the Commedia dell’Arte – Couture Edition figures signed individually by the designers in a cloth-bound box in a limited edition of twenty-five.

ISBN 978-3-0346-0550-2 (Birkhäuser)
ISBN 978-3-9812205-4-4 (Nymphenburg)

Printed and bound in Germany

The editors would like to express their gratitude to all the designers and their teams: Adeline André SA: Adeline André; Carven: Pascal Millet, Patrick Ney; Chapurin: Igor Chapurin, Oleg Khatsarevich, Anton Kopylov; Escada AG: Damiano Biella, Anna Ossenbach, Sabine Eisenreich, Christina Pollack; Interware: Maurizio Galante, Tal Lancman, Odile Aubert; Christian Lacroix S.A.: Christian Lacroix, Nicolas Topiol, Leyla Mattison, Bérangère Broman, Elisabeth Bonnel; Atelier Gustavo Lins: Gustavo Lins; Naoki Takizawa Design Inc: Naoki Takizawa, Shingo Takayanagi; Gareth Pugh: Gareth Pugh, Mandi Lennard, Abby Bennet; Chado Ralph Rucci: Ralph Rucci, Rosina Rucci; Elie Saab Liban SAL: Elie Saab, Zena Chedid; Dominique Sirop: Dominique Sirop, Laura Medas; Société Love-Birds: Franck Sorbier, Isabelle Tartière; Emanuel Ungaro SAS: Esteban Cortazar, Mounir Moufarrige, Marie Fournier, Isabelle Konikoff; Viktor & Rolf: Viktor Horsting, Rolf Snoeren, Bram Claassen, Jessica Voorwinde; Vivienne Westwood Ltd.: Vivienne Westwood, Alex Krenn.

Also thanks to all of those whose involvement was essential in the making of this book. In particular: Dana Andrew (V&A Museum), Dennis Bangert, Giorgio Blasi, Anna Blum, Johannes Fricke-Waldthausen, Sam Green, Karin Koschkar, Kumi (David Lachapelle), Sara Meyer, Luca Pizzaroni, Saskia Steinmann, Frank Stolle, Alfred Wiedemann, Dennis Zyche.

Last but not least special thanks are due to the entire team at the Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg. Especially: Evelin Arneth, Anna Blum, Elke Doppelbauer, Peter Ebentheuer, Andreas Ehrlich, Eveline Ehrlich, Ingrid Harding, Anton Hörl, Günter Löscher, Antonia Schilling, Helmut Schnitzler, Roswitha Scholz, Alexander Schreiner, Viviane Schweighofer, Sigrid Seelig, Monika Vogt, Olaf Zeddies.

This collector’s edition book was produced by Florian Böhm, in association with Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram, to commemorate the reissuing of Franz Anton Bustelli’s Commedia dell’Arte figurines of 1759/60 by the Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg in 2008, a project initiated and directed by Jörg Richtsfeld. Original concept by Florian Böhm, Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram.



Florian Böhm Office
Lindwurmstr. 71
D - 80337 Munich

Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg
Nördliches Schlossrondell 8
D - 80638 Munich

Birkhäuser GmbH
Viaduktstrasse 42
CH - 4051 Basel



© 2010, Florian Böhm, Annahita Kamali

Commedia dell'Arte – Couture Edition

The Book





The Project

The Designer