Text by – ANGELICA CARBONE
Translation by – NICOLE BOURIS
Who ever said that faulty or, even worse, expired condoms are useless and destined to the trashcan, has clearly never met Adriana Bertini.
The Brazilian designer, who has reinvented the use of latex in fashion, has taken the world by surprise by creating clothing as well as accessories with a unique, unusual, and surprising material: condoms.
Well, we’re still talking about latex… but not in its original shape, like everyone would expect.
We wouldn’t be talking about Art, with a capital A, if Adriana’s creations were similar to the usual 80’s latex model and connectable to that dark and punk fashion era.
Here you will be able to find actual “sculptures” and dresses entirely made-up of recycled condoms, which are then sold in auctions to finance social utility projects.
Surprisingly, condoms have proved themselves a flexible and pleasant material for both touch and sight.
Colored condoms are what make these sculptures so special, especially when enhanced by rhinestones, feathers, and lacework; and not to mention the incredible resemblance between opened condoms and the folds of a delicate organic fabric.
Although the initial aim wasn’t that of actually sponsoring a campaign for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, the numerous expositions dedicated to Adriana Bertini, for instance the last at the Museum of World Culture, eventually determined the move in this particular direction.
Her colored, vivid, elegant, and at times even sensual dresses have become a mean of communication for a conscious use of condoms so as to prevent AIDS transmission.
The project “Dress up against AIDS: condom couture by Adriana Bertini” was born and up to this day is gaining exposure, becoming an international and itinerant show disseminating the social message.
“I want my art to be visible everywhere, reminding of the necessity of HIV prevention” A. Bertini.
The designer created her first condom dress in 1997. This marked the beginning of her career that since then has only gone forward. Adriana Bertini even created a wedding dress using 80 thousand condoms, more condoms than a person could even imagine using in their entire life.
The artist became particularly involved in the HIV prevention cause when she volunteered for the GAPA, after spending some time with a little boy who had the illness.
“I made friends who were HIV positive and this stimulated me even more to promote prevention. Today, I have already lost some dear people to AIDS. I think this is the minimum I can do, being a conscientious person faced with a problem of this magnitude. If you have conscience, act.”
Even though she received a lot of controversial feedback from the public, divided between those who agree and those who believe her way of spreading the message is inappropriate, her collections have been shown at important international conferences hosted for the spreading of social information, among which the Bangkok, the Barcelona and the Toronto one.
“You understand, condoms must become as basic as a pair of jeans and as necessary as a great love.” A. Bertini.