Art uses fashion or is it that fashion uses art? What is it about these two that make people have heated discussions but also collaborate in such beautiful ways? They inspire each other and at the same time quarrel about what is more important or has a stronger impact on humanity.

Do you remember the Lobster Dress in 1937 (or did you hear about it, since it has been created some time ago), Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali’s art-fashion piece? What about Andy Warhol, the “ever-innovative master of multi-disciplinary art” or Daniel Buren x Louis Vuitton’s fashion show in 2013?

All these past successes show that there is a need to connect fashion with art. Customers seem to enjoy the results. Rather than shrinking, therefore, art-fashion collaborations are increasing in number.

This year many designers were inspired by art history or artists. Mary Katrantzou used hellenic motifs for her Spring collection, whereas Kenzo took inspiration from Antonio Lopez’s polaroids and sketches for his prints. There are many more examples that can be crawled through on Vogue.


A collaboration I witnessed took place on Halloween. Instead of the all-too-monotonous-scary-movie-costumes Albertina Museum decided to set up a “Raphael Reinterpreted” themed event. They teamed up with tobeamuse for a seldom seen collaboration: a fashion-art-presentation of muses, all re-envisioned based on Raphael’s artworks.

Visitors were also invited to dress up as reincarnated but modernised versions of Raphael’s characters. A runway was set up through Albertina’s state rooms. Seven stations were created where the models stopped, sat down, where framed – finally moving on to the next frame.

Lilya Corneli, the founder of tobeamuse, catapults muses painted by old masters into the current time. She gets inspired by real women/men and reinterprets master pieces from the past by recreating certain styles in a modern way.

Since I liked that concept a lot, I decided to interview Lilya Corneli, a woman with a strong vision. Read on to get to know the artist.


Corinna: I read that you studied international business and then worked for a bank. What gave you the final kick to stop being part of a big company and stir towards self-employment and finally, land at tobeamuse?

Lilya: The first step that brought me towards arts and photography was the move from Yerevan to Hamburg. My husband, son and I moved to a country I never visited before and I didn’t know its language. It was a very difficult time for me and I started to look for hobbies.

When I got my first digital camera back in 2001 as a gift from my husband I started to discover the world of photography. I became a member of several photo communities, where I used to show my first trials and suddenly I started to receive enquiries to buy or to exhibit my work. Tobeamuse is my recent project, it’s not even two years old, but before that I was already an artist with representatives in different galleries around the world and exhibitions.

C: When did your love towards art and fashion begin? Is there a special moment you recall? Was fashion there first or was it art?

L: My grandmother was a professional tailor and I used to live with her till I was 10 years old. I remember myself spending hours watching her constructing clothing and sewing and I tried to do the same for my dolls. So the love towards fashion was first and love for arts was some kind of the continuation of it. I wanted to paint or to photograph the clothing that inspired me.

C: Art and fashion are often seen as not compatible – what do you say to critics that imply your work being disrespectful towards the old masters?

L: Luckily my work was never criticised for being disrespectful towards the old masters. May be it’s because I never tried to copy the world famous art pieces, but to give my view of them. In tobeamuse project we play with time, we mix accessories, we create our own story.

C: If you could choose one person – dead or alive – whose Muse would you love to be?

L: Egon Schiele

C: Tobeamuse is a strongly female-focused project, what about those men out there?

L: That’s not true :)) We would really love to have male muses and we have had one. The thing is that men are not that much interested in being our muses. During these two years we have got only one request from a man.

C: What meaning does Halloween have to you?

L: To be honest it has no meaning for me 🙂 In my culture there is no day like Halloween and we never celebrated it. I started to learn more about this holiday when my children asked me for spooky costumes to go out with friends and gather sweets.

C: Tell us about the craziest outfit you ever wore to a Halloween party (or any other event)? Who did you dress up as?

L: I think the craziest was a costume of a dead mermaid. I had no time to think about a proper one, but wanted to make my kids happy and go out with them. So I wore a light blue gown, put a pale makeup and a crown. I have long hair so my look was almost complete. But how could everyone guess that I was a dead Mermaid? I took a small knife and stuck it in the folds of my dress on my chest, added a band of red fringes to make them look like blood and voila – I was ready.

C: How is it to live in Vienna – what was the easiest to adapt to and what was/is the greatest challenge?

L: Vienna is my love from the first sight. My family and I moved to Vienna two years ago and it was a blessing. I have never felt so inspired like here. In these two years I found more friends and creative soul mates than in 16 years living in Hamburg.

C: What is your favourite place in the city to get your ideas moving?

L: My absolute place of power is Albertina Museum. Before I started my tobeamuse project I used to spend almost every day there.

C: And finally, the best vintage shopping in Vienna?

L: For me it’s the Vintage and Rosenroth vintage shop.

To get to know tobeamuse even better, don’t miss two other articles. One was published by Fridays at the museum and provides you with a more hands on approach. The other was written by Judith Bradlwarter and focuses on tobeamuses’s role in the fashion-art-circle. 


photography: Corinna Stabrawa
concept: Lilya Corneli
styling: Olga Schloemer
make up & hair: Ekaterina Bobrov
models: Stella Models
location: Albertina Museum Vienna

Raphael exhibition ends: 07.JAN.18

big thank you goes to Ivana for this great opportunity
and her unwavering trust in my abilities.

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  • Reply
    #instaartlove: tobeamuse – Fridays at the museum
    November 4, 2017 at 10:21 PM

    […] sich für noch mehr Insights zum Projekt und Lilya interessiert, kann bei Wings are golden mehr lesen und tolle Fotos vom Albertina-Halloween-Projekt […]

  • Reply
    Jasmin N
    November 4, 2017 at 10:25 PM

    Oh wow! What an amazing interview 🙂 haven’t heard of her before 🙂

  • Reply
    Dani, Fridays at the museum
    November 4, 2017 at 11:44 PM

    Danke für’s Verlinken ! 🙂

    • Reply
      November 5, 2017 at 12:52 PM

      seh gerne! 🙂

  • Reply
    Justine Spencer
    November 5, 2017 at 12:19 AM

    Amazing photos! It’s interesting how so many of the arts can intertwine with one another, and the beautiful products they produce.

    • Reply
      November 5, 2017 at 12:54 PM

      I agree, Justine. The collaborations that emerge out of these two worlds are amazing! & thank you :).

  • Reply
    November 5, 2017 at 10:45 PM

    So many beautiful photos! I liked this project and the interview, Lilya is so interesting person!

    • Reply
      November 6, 2017 at 3:05 PM

      Dear Helene, thanks so much! 🙂 She is, right? And her ideas are so special and new!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2017 at 1:18 PM

    I love reading through interviews, reading the questions asked & learning the response. You only ever really get a glimpse of someones character & personality through their own words & thoughts! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

    • Reply
      November 6, 2017 at 3:04 PM

      Thank you! 🙂 Happy you like it! I totally agree, everyones story is different and it’s even more personal in their own words!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    Echt coole Fotos und ein schöner klassischer Blog. Das Interview finde ich auch sehr gelungen und gut geführt und das kommt aus dem Munde eines Menschen der nicht soviel auf Mode schaut.

    • Reply
      November 12, 2017 at 7:27 PM

      Danke Martin! 🙂

  • Reply
    ANDROGYNY AND A FASHION ZONE - wingsaregolden
    November 17, 2017 at 1:39 PM

    […] forward to the third installment on my blog). Modezone isn’t quite as intertwined with art as #tobeamuse’s project. LENTOS, the art museum in Linz, mostly acts as a location. But you can also discover an exhibition […]

  • Reply
    November 19, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    Sehr spannende Einblicke, super Interview und tolle Fotos!

    • Reply
      November 20, 2017 at 4:06 PM

      Danke Dir Jürgen! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 20, 2017 at 9:37 AM

    toller Artikel

    • Reply
      November 20, 2017 at 4:01 PM

      vielen Dank, liebe Dagmar!

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