Who would win in a fight between art and fashion? Could fashion’s populist power knock out art? Or could art deliver a highbrow blow?
At this time of year you may well be forgiven for thinking the former. It is, after all, award and fashion week season. And whilst our vanity may protest otherwise, Fashion is clearly king of these rings.
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As a pacifist, I’m pleased to say that, despite some pretty persistent snobbery toward fashion, the reality is that that they have always had a symbiotic existence, with fashion often giving buck to art’s bang.
It’s a relationship that has endured much longer than your classic Hollywood liaison. As far back as the 18th century, artists were routinely creating textiles for the aristocracy, whilst a portrait of the infamous French Queen Marie Antoinette, which debuted a new, more simple style of dress, totally changed the prevailing fashion of the time.
Elsa Schiaparelli is traditionally seen as the perfect first born in fashion’s modern marriage with art. When Wallis Simpson appeared in Vogue wearing a lobster dress collaboratively created by Salvador Dali and Schiaparelli it opened up an entirely new conversation about how art and fashion could work together.
Having escaped a rumored smearing with mayonnaise, the dress now stands in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s permanent collection. A fitting final location for the first fashion/art mash-up. Whilst Schiaparelli was the first in the 20th century’s love affair with art-fashion hook-ups it was by no means the last.
Throughout the century artist/designer collaborations only increased: from Yves San Laurent’s iconic Mondrian inspired shifts of the 1960s to Damian Hirst’s 2003 and 2013 creations with Alexander McQueen’s team; and finally to 2019 when the art-fashion love-in seemed to reach orgiastic proportions: Blahniks amongst the Rembrandts at the Wallace Collection; Frank Gehry and Zara Hadid at Louis Vuitton’s newly-launched, collaborative exhibition space, or their Jeff Koons bag collection…
And what about 2020? By now I think its fair to say that fashion has become as much a part of the cultural conversation as any keynote exhibition. Many of the SS2020 collections featured artistic collaborations in various forms; there were runway installations aplenty, such as the British Fashion Council’s creative installations with emerging artist Alexander James; or artist Sterling Ruby setting up his own fashion brand S.R. Studio. LA. CA and in the process coming up with one of the standout collections of the season; or what about Reebok’s work with art influencer Kimberly Drew..?
So, what’s the moral of the story here? Should we be shopping for art like we do our fashion? We certainly think you should. And to get you started, here are some of our favourite when art meets fashion creations.
- A silkscreen print of Gavin Dobson's intriguing The Girl with the Checked Dress costs less, than, well, a dress.
- Claire Griffiths's punchy pastel (main image), Esplanade captures the swagger of finding the perfect dress and stepping in out in style.
- If you saw the Wallace Collection exhibition, what better way of recreating it than by hanging any one of Steve Miller's series of studies on Roger Vivier next to your own Rembrandt’s. We like the blue.
- When Karl Largerfeld died from cancer in February last year, social media testified to his generosity and wit, so it seems apt to include Astrid Stofhas's twinkly-eyed portrait Karl Otto here. She is an artist who likes to explore fashion personalities to expose the personality behind the familiar façade. Fitting for a man who was probably not who you expected him to be.
- Emma Levine spent 4 years designing textiles for a Paris Fashion house before she became a full time artist. Felt Hawthorn is a fabric sculpture; a quiet play on colour, texture and light.
- If Emma Cowlam's work looks familiar, it’s because her illustrations have featured in the likes of Elle, Glamour and Living Etc. With a textile design background, her works are hand stitched in thread. Fashion Blogger is a perfect meeting of fashion, social media and art
- Marc Quinn was one of the most famous of the new band of up and coming artists in the 1990s dubbed the Young British Artists iconically casting a sculpture of his head using 10 pints of his own blood. But it was when he sculpted Kate Moss, one of the most famous fashion models of all time, in a yoga pose in 2006 for Sphinx that he created the most epic example of fashion meeting art. This 2017 limited edition silkscreen silver print of the sculpture is a bonifide coming together of the two disciplines. You can’t get better than that.
Browse 1000s of artworks on our online marketplace, many perfect to fill you walls with pieces to satisfy your fashion-meets-art fix.
Claire Griffiths, Esplanade, 2018, £395, pastel, original, GreenStage Gallery
Featured art from first to last:
Gavin Dobson, The Girl with the Checked Dress, 2019, £100, silkscreen print, limited edition of 50, Wychwood Art
Steve Miller, Rober Vivier Blue, 2011, £950, archival print artists proof, limited edition of 3, Lafontaine Contemporary Artt
Astrid Stofhas, Karl Otto, 2019, £3,400, oil, original, ALL YOU CAN ART
Emma Levine, Felt Hawthorn, 2017, £2,100, fabric, original, London Contemporary Art
Emma Cowlam, Fashion Blogger 2016, 2019, £395, black thread on paper, original, Modern ArtBuyer
Marc Quinn, Sphinx (gold leaf), 2017, £1,200, silkscreen print, limited edition of 150, Manifold Editions