Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fashion and Art

The debate between Art and Fashion is not a new one. Many designers begin their career as artists and the line between what constitutes “art “ and what constitutes “fashion” is becoming increasingly ambiguous. One prominent public example of this is the “fashion” choices of Lady GaGa. One could argue that she is a walking piece of art and that here we see a harmonious marriage of the two disciplines. However, what do young, emerging Sydney artists and designers think of the increasingly blurred definition?
Exploring this gap between art and fashion further, King explains that art, by its very nature, is reflective, where fashion has the intention and ability to push society forward towards exploring new ideas and movements. However, one could argue that art also serves this purpose and site examples of some of the most influential and imperative movements in art history such as Pop Art, Dada, Impressionism, Futurism- just to name a few. These movements, and those that pioneered them, effectively altered the way in which society at the time viewed art.King references David Bohm when he comments that ‘As designers we “need to create something new that is whole and total, harmonious and beautiful.”’[iv] It is here that we can detect the difference between art and fashion. While fashion is assumed, as Bohm states, to be whole and beautiful, art often finds its beauty in being incomplete and it is not always aesthetically pleasing. So perhaps the difference lies in people’s expectations of art and fashion rather than the thing itself.In contrast to King’s opinion, designers Sanoii + Six question if there is even an argument here and believe that ‘Fashion is a form of art.’[v] The duo highlight that there is always the exception of Haute Couture which, while exceptionally designed, painstakingly created and effortlessly stunning ‘are completely non-functional.’ Defining art as a means of self expression and a process through which one attempts to gain a reaction or emotion, Sanoii + Six beg the question- ‘Isn’t that what fashion is?’ They answer their own enquiry with the response that ‘fashion is expression.’
Fashion and art always are in close relationship, and contemporary art is not an exception. What is more, with the popularization of contemporary art, the world of fashion became an art too. Luis Casablanca Migueles, a lecturer from the department of Drawing at the University of Granada in Spain, a country which is one of the fashion capitals of the world, has carried out a research project that analyses fashion as an artistic discipline; he considers fashion as “a plural phenomenon, one of the most important contemporary artistic disciplines.”
Now almost all popular and even famous luxury fashion brands collaborate with painters, illustrators, photographers and other artists from any movement in order to create new collections, make staggering and catchy adverts, update their catwalks or develop the concept of a fashion show to make it all unforgettable.
Fashion has always been influenced by art. Thus French fashion designer, Paul Poiret, who was the Picasso of the twentieth-century`s fashion world, employed artists and purchased their works, which was reflected in his models. Under the impact of art Lucien Vogel, the publisher of Jardin des Modes and La Gazette du Bon Ton, hired photographer Edward Steichen in 1911, in order to promote fashion as a fine art. And aren`t tubular dresses with square low necks and rounded cloche hats an echo of Cubism? In 1930, the late-futurist painter Lucio Venna drafted sketches for the advertisement of Ferragamo’ shoes. Gianni Versace used the works of Alighiero Boetti and Roy Liechtenstein in launching his collections.
These cases are by no means isolated examples. If anything the connection has only grown with the years. The Prada Foundation is going to build a 17,000 square meter museum in Milan, to exhibit artworks related to the existing Prada collection, cinema, design and architecture. The Trussardi Foundation set up a temporary exhibition at the Piazza del Duomo, in Milan, where there were shown videos and films of the most up-and-coming artists all over the world. Louis Vuitton launched a collection of bags together with the famous Takashi Murakami, in which the blush colors of Murakami’s bright and crazy characters brought new life to the classic design. There are further examples, too numerous to mention, that illustrate the tight-knit connection between the art and fashion worlds
Clothes are an important factor of human life, like an extra, changing skin that we wear at all times. Because of this, it is natural that we would want our appearance to show our individuality, and it is because of this that art goes to the assistance of fashion. Even if you’re not looking at the top luxury fashion brands, art will still influence your choices, from Burton snowboard designs to Jeremy Scott Adidas Originals.

The Art of Fashion with Drew Barrymore for Neiman Marcus

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