Thayaht (Ernesto Michahelles)





Thayaht was the pseudonym of artist and designer Ernesto Michahelles best known for his revolutionary suit design and his involvement with the Italian Futurist movement. Of Anglo-Swiss origin, he has lived in Florence since childhood. In 1915, after a short stay in Paris, he exhibited a series of abstract drawings in Florence, coming into contact with the Florentine futurists. The creativity of Thayaht (a perfectly "double-faced" pseudonym, legible in the mirror as in life) is indeed emblematic of the eclectic spirit of Second Futurism: it ranges from painting to sculpture, from fashion to theater, from decorative arts to advertising graphics, from photography to interior design. In 1918 she returned to Paris where she enrolled at the Académie Ranson, attended avant-garde circles and started her career as a stylist in collaboration with Madaleine Vionnet, creating original models inspired by the "deco" style. The following year, having returned to Florence, he invents and spreads, with unexpected success, the "t" -shaped work "overalls", made of a single piece of fabric, created for the masses, but initially adopted by the Florentine snobbish circles. After a personal exhibition in Florence in 1920, he leaves for the United States, where he follows courses on scientific coloring and dynamic geometry at Harvard; in the same period he continues his collaboration with the Vionnet fashion house. Returning to Italy, during the 1920s, he continued his activity in the field of applied arts. Forerunner of Industrial Design, at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Monza in 1923 and 1927 he exhibited, in addition to sketches of fabrics and clothes, also furniture and furnishings of high quality, yet destined for widespread use. He also tries his hand in the field of goldsmithing, inventing "taiattite", an alloy of silver and aluminum with which he creates jewels with a primitive style and a still current taste. The distinctly synthetic and geometrical solutions of his painting and the dynamic imprint of the sculpture favored, in 1929, the meeting with Marinetti and participation in the "Thirty-three futurists" exhibition at the Pesaro Gallery in Milan. At the same time Thayaht, together with his friend Maraini, cultivated an interest in photography and collaborated with the Teatro dei Fidenti, in Florence, designing numerous sets. During the Thirties he participated in the First Roman Quadrennial (1931), organized the Futurist Exhibition of Painting, Sculpture, Aeropainting, Decorative Arts at the Florence Art Gallery, participated in the Venetian Biennials from 1932 to 1936 and in the Milan Triennials of 1933 and 1936. From the mid-thirties he retired to Marina di Pietrasanta, where he deepened his scientific and astronomical studies and, after the Second World War, he founded CIRNOS (independent center for the collection of space observations), with the aim of reporting and demonstrating the apparition of UFOs.