Alba Amicorum – Art to Wear and Collect
Darshana Shilpi Rouget launched Alba Amicorum with a unique vision of bringing artistic minds together. Both the atelier in London and their engaging website offer a platform where artists, artisans, collectors and collaborators can meet and discover something new.
“I loved the collaborative process with other creative minds and I wanted to connect with artist friends around the world – and this laid the foundation for what has become Alba Amicorum,” says London-based artist Darshana Shilpi Rouget about her brand, founded in 2016. The name, Alba Amicorum, takes inspiration from the Renaissance and is the Latin word that translates as ‘friendship book.’ Long before Instagram or Pinterest, or even the scrapbooking craze of the 1980s, the aristocratic youth of the 16th century Renaissance, were creating books and journals to share amongst friends; This included autographs, notes and documenting their travels, experiences, and fancies of the time in various way. These albums are treasures and authentic reflections of the mood and styles of times.
This need to inspire, be inspired, remember and dream is what fuels the vision of Alba Amicorum. Surrounded by art from a young age, Darshana, a graphic designer, artist and collector, has travelled extensively and appreciates the importance being closely connected to creativity and art.
From their studio in London’s Belgravia neighbourhood, Alba Amicorum specialises in luxury wearable textiles. Their most recent collection, launched during London Craft Week in October 2021, was a unique collaboration with the Man Ray Trust, in which a series of limited-edition scarves were made based on paintings and photographic works by the legendary modernist artist, Man Ray, including one based on his famous Rayographs. Other artistic collaborations have included the American painter, Mary Jones, whose nature-inspired imagery features washy-abstract lines and forms, and Darshana’s own father, Babuji Shilpi, who was an interdisciplinary artist in Bombay. For Darshana, the scarf is the perfect medium, bringing the art off the wall and onto the body to be worn, moved around in and experienced. “The scarf is the canvas. It is a simple square – allowing creativity by the user… how it folds, how it drapes… It’s about exploring art in a different way. On an intimate personal level,” she says. This also extends to the photography of each collection, which embraces the mood and style of the artwork, often in video format as well, bringing in elements of contemporary dance and performance.
In addition to the line of wearable textiles, Alba Amicorum also sells limited edition photographs and art prints by contemporary artists. Visit the studio or website to learn more.