When Fashion Met ART

 

Written by Casey Milano

 

We’ve seen how worldwide news and issues can affect fashion, how what’s going on in the world impacts how designers create their collections. But one of the longest relationships fashion has held is with art, a true love affair where fashion meets imagination. After all what is fashion but wearable pieces of art?

Much like the artist consumed with the curves of the sculptures and colour of the flesh, fashion designers are if anything curious about shape and how the human form influences every aspect of the designing, from the initial idea to the fabric cutting and colour palette. And with creativity connecting both fashion and art what great collaboration could there be? As we use our clothes for self-expression the artist uses a paintbrush and a blank page much the same.

Still the question can fashion be considered art has caused many a debate, some think fashion is pure vanity aimed at making money while others believe the function of fashion goes much deeper than just looking good. Art may not capture everyone’s admiration but combine it with fashion and we an all appreciate the second glance.

To me, fashion connect people far beyond the basics of admiring the same outfit (I know - tell that to your friend who turned up at the party in the same skirt!) its impossible to suggest designers find their inspirations simply from where they love for example. They search beyond the boundaries of geography, class and celebrity and bring global trends and influences on our very doorsteps, therefore its no surprise translations of art from around the world make their way into our wardrobes through designer’s inspiration from the world of art.  

Though we can’t pinpoint where this love affair started one of the most famous ones begun with a lobster (bear with me). When Elsa Schiaparelli took inspiration from Salvador Dali history was made when from this collaboration the famous lobster dress was created. The infamous lobster dress was a design collaboration with Salvador Dalí that grew out of the lobsters that started appearing in the artist’s work in 1934, including New York Dream-Man Finds Lobster in Place of Phone, which appeared in the magazine American Weekly in 1935, and the mixed-media Lobster Telephone created in 1936. Dalí placed the lobster amid parsley sprigs on the front of the skirt (and apparently was disappointed when cwould not allow him to spread real mayonnaise on the finished gown)

Now held in Philadelphia museum of Art the dress attracts visitors to this day.

Now held in Philadelphia museum of Art the dress attracts visitors to this day.

 In 1965 Yves Saint Laurent released a collection of dresses that was inspired by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, designers had previously experimented with a similar design, but it was Saint Laurent’s Aline dresses that captured the industries attention and inspired a generation of women. 

Knowing the flat planes of the 1960s canvases achieved by contemporary artists in the lineage of Mondrian, Saint Laurent made the historical case for the artistic sensibility of his time.     

Knowing the flat planes of the 1960s canvases achieved by contemporary artists in the lineage of Mondrian, Saint Laurent made the historical case for the artistic sensibility of his time.

 

Another famous collection that is that more for the brave Hollywood obsessed fashionista is one that is surprisingly not so long ago. In spring 1991 Gianni Versace released his collection that was different to any other, dresses with Andy Warhol’s brightly coloured, silk screened portraits of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and other famous icons. (If only he had designed one with Steve c I’d be wearing it every day!)

Now held at the Metropolitan museum US. Versace, the great observer and trawler after cultural details, saw Warhol as a soul mate.

Now held at the Metropolitan museum US. Versace, the great observer and trawler after cultural details, saw Warhol as a soul mate.

And its not just painters that have inspired designers throughout the years, one of the most memorable architecturally inspired collections must be Paco Rabanne’s 1966 12 unwearable dresses in contemporary materials. Though unconventional (especially at the time) Rabanne structured to the famous dresses in his model’s exact proportions.

Coco Channel summed up the importance of this love affair perfectly when said, “fashion is architecture, it is a matter of proportion”.

One of the ‘unwearable’ wearable cocktail dresses.

One of the ‘unwearable’ wearable cocktail dresses.

esigners today still take inspiration from the art world, Marc Jacobs 2013 collaboration between Daniel Buran and Louis Vuitton. Buran himself called the collaboration a “totally crazy experience”. Not content with taking inspirations from Buran to just his clothes, Marc asked the artist to design the staging for his catwalk show.

Jacobs iconic collection wows onlookers with his stunning show and working escalators!

Jacobs iconic collection wows onlookers with his stunning show and working escalators!