Smoky eyes, black coffee, feet-crushing shoes and the odd celebritywho is dressed like a Victorian child; yep, fashion week has hit Milan.
Like artists, fashion designers are fascinated by line, colour and form; utilising cultural and historical references to create haute-couture masterpieces that reflect their unique creative vision. Fashion has a considerable influence in our lives, and its ability to take over major cities like London, Paris, Milan and New York for weeks at a time is a testament to its precedence. Art and fashion are, however, a lot more closely linked than initially realised, since both seek to be one thing: timeless.
Here are three insights into the profundity of this creative relationship.
1. Fashion’s Better Half: The Artist
Mondrian’s primary-colour grids were famously immortalized in Yves Saint Laurent’s dresses in 1965, an albeit slightly ironic twist given Mondrian’s focus on the conceivability of the soul and rejection of the material in his works. Meanwhile, Damien Hirst’s affinity for morbid imagery was etched onto the voluptuous gowns of the late Alexander Mcqueen in 2013, reminding us of the fragility of life. Fashion continually looks to art for its durability as it falls increasingly under scrutiny for its hefty carbon footprint. There is an increasingly desperate scramble for meaning in an industry where culture has become perishable due to the infinite turnover of fashion merchandise. Fashion week presents the rare change where clothes are exhibited like original artworks, treated with the utmost respect that is absent in fast fashion. Resources, time, effort, dexterity and artistry are accounted for, and designers are acknowledged for the artists they are.
They say opposites attract and are what make a couple so strong. This can be said for art and fashion, because despite the six-inch heels or six-foot trains, clothes are fundamentally practical items designed to protect our bodies from the elements. Art’s purpose has always held a more intellectual purpose, created tochallenge social norms. When these forces collide a truly powerful art form is created, birthing not only a deeply meaningful product, but one that also looks incredibly chic.
These two were truly meant-to-be, Pop art’s embracing of mass culture and consumerism hoped to challenge fine art traditions. Even seventy years after its beginning, Pop art continues to inspire designers across the globe. Some seek to convey the vibrant monochromatic palette the movement became known for, whilst others aspire to convey Pop art’s deeper message through Warhol-inspired dresses and shoes.