Fashion and Art….are they somehow related? Or “Fashion is an art within itself”. Well, this relationship between fashion and art is a kind of love-hate relationship, wherein these two concepts can never be separated and at the same time, it is difficult to collaborate both of them. Fashion is meant to be ephemeral and changes with time (Binlot, 2012). On the contrary, art is a creative which is timeless in nature. Despite these differences art and fashion, cross pollinate very often. Fashion is like an art which tells us a story a story about the people who use to wear them. Like the art of a particular era depicts the society, people and culture of that era. Similarly, a fashion of a particular period tells us a story about that particular era. The fashion designer is an artist who expresses his creativity through clothes like a painter transforms his thoughts on canvas.
The crossovers between art and fashion are visible into the collections of various fashion designers, who are inspired by artists. Few designers even believe that Fashion is necessarily an art concerned with decorating the human body. In the world of Ralph Lauren - “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.” Nowadays, the fashion and art worlds inspire each other and cross paths more often. Art has directly influenced some of the fashion designers like Elsa Schiaparelli. Elsa Schiaparelli was a prominent Italian fashion designer, who was famous for her innovative, playful, loud and vivid designs (Jechow, 2012). Her designs were heavily influenced by Surrealist artists Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau. Salvador Dali collaborated with Schiaparelli to create infamous dresses like tears dress, in which tears were in printed fabric (Vassar, 2012). Even the famous YSL (Yves Saint Laurent ), transformed the paintings of Piet Mondrian ( a Dutch painter) into dresses during 1960’s (Jechow, 2012). These abstract paintings of Mondrian inspired the modern designs during 1960’s. Such inspiration from art was also seen in Gianni Versace’s spring collection of 1991 (Vassar, 2012). This collection featured prints of art portraits of famous icons by American Artist Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol works were also known as pop art which constituted portraits of famous icons such as Marilyn Monroe , James Dean, Elvis Presley and others (Vassar, 2012). The influence of art is also visible in a recent collection of various designers such as Rachel Comey, Rodarte, Lisa Perry and so on. The list of designs inspired from artwork is endless.
The twentieth century brought art and fashion even more close to each other. Visual artists collaborated with designers to create original work of art such as textile patterns. These visual artists use clothes as a medium to express their emotions. Thus modern fashion is more of modern art reflecting the vision of the artists. The visual artist Sterling Ruby collaborated with designer Raf Simons to create paint splattered coats, rebellious prints on shirts and so on (Smith & Kubler, 2013). Another prominent visual artist Harif Guzman , who is known for his “Dark Ages” characters, have collaborated with multiple designers like Ralph Lauren , Del Toro and so. Rather Guzman even started his own range into street wear line. Fashion designers usually use the artwork in their design but still there are some artists which derive inputs from the fashion industry for their artwork. The Spanish artist, Ernesto Artillo uses images of runway models and high fashion as a basis of his artwork. His visual art blends fashion and art beautifully (Smith & Kubler, 2013). Visual art and fashion have been closely tied as if they are woven together.
The relationship between fashion and art have come together a long way. Fashion has even been showcased in art galleries and museums. Fashion and art share equal space in museums these days. Even in 1960’s the designer use to showcase their work in museums. The British designer Ossie Clark considered fashion as an art. His wedding dresses were part of exhibitions and museums even during those times. In recent times such a display of fashion at museum has gained popularity. Furthermore, these exhibitions and display at museums are highly popular and liked by the public. The “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011, was a great success and most attended event (Jechow, 2012). The Jean Paul Gautier’s display of designer dresses at Dallas Museum of Art was also liked by the people.
The relationship between fashion and art is complex and growing with the changing times. Though the utilitarian nature of clothes at times pulls fashion away from art but they are closely related to each other. This relationship is there from past many years and with the evolving technology, this relationship has become improved further. And with evolving art, the relationship would progress further.
Binlot, A. (2012). Is Fashion Art? Karl Lagerfeld Puts the Debate Back Into the Spotlight by Dismissing the Notion. [Online]. Blouinartinfo. Available at:
https://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/805583/is-fashion-art-karl-lagerfeld-puts-the-debate-back-into-the [Accessed : 21 August 2016]
Jechow, E. (2012). Is Fashion Art? [Online]. Muse Dialogue. Available at :
https://musedialogue.org/articles-by-genre/visual-arts/costume-design/is-fashion-art/ [Accessed : 21 August 2016]
Smith, O. and Kubler, A. (2013). Art Fashion in the 21st Century. New York : Thames & Hudson .
Vassar, E. (2012). 5 Famous Artists Who Influenced Fashion Designers. College Fashion. [Online].Available at:
https://www.collegefashion.net/news/5-famous-artists-who-influenced-fashion-designers/ [Accessed : 20 August 2016]
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