Why is that when we think of art, we generally associate it with astonishing masterpieces with great detail and vivid emotion? When people spend millions of dollars on one work of art, it’s called collecting, but when people spend millions of dollars on clothes and other fashion accessories- it’s called wasting your money. I agree that art lives up to its classy, wowing effect, as I am personally an art lover. However, fashion, I would say, has a pretty negative reputation, or at least a very downplayed one- nothing like the plethora of art museums and art education we begin to receive at a young age. Yes, fashion may be a very subjective field, but personally, I believe fashion is something that is even harder to interpret than art. With that being said, art and fashion are two very correlated and intertwined subjects.
When fashion directors or designers create lines, direct shoots, or put together a runway show- they generally don’t focus all their time on the fashion aspect. The fashion silhouettes and designs are all fundamental to each piece and ultimately each collection, just like the technique in a painting- expect fashion is three-dimensional, but what really creates the feeling and interpretation are the other aspects that blend together and thus, lifelike and modern. There are many different styles of fashion, whether its grunge, bohemian, minimal, but with each style comes a different portrayal to the audience. Of course the styles are often self-explanatory, but that is still only adding to the overall “art”. Each composition of clothing pieces on a model’s body transforms her into a character that the designer seeks to paint. As they use that to build onto the background, it transforms the entire image or catwalk into a vivid story. For example, if a model were to be photographed wearing sweatpants and a tank top in a field of wildflowers- that would create an interesting contrast between what we perceive as beauty vs. what isn’t beauty to our eyes. With the same background of an endless field of wildflowers on a sunny day, while a gentle breeze subtly tickles the flowers, a model runs through the field, wearing a long, semi-sheer white dress that flows behind her. The latter would create a much more dreamy, inspirational feeling, in comparison to the first, which would make more of a statement to think about. Both of these examples just prove how fashion is more than just the luxuries of an ephemeral, shallow pleasure, and even beyond being the aesthetic of the brand- but rather, fashion is an everlasting, powerful movement that I call practical art.
In a more literal sense, art is seen all over fashion runways. Many designers are collaborating with artists for their collections, such as Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton, Rosson Crow and Zac Posen, Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton, Richard Prince and Louis Vuitton, and Cindy Sherman and Comme des Garçons. Whether the artists are putting their art on designs, creating architecture for runway shows, or designing photo shoots, each collaboration becomes so coveted and acclaimed. The success of these collaborations are very unsurprising, being that when a fashion legend comes together with one of the art world, what else can you expect but pure amazement. However, these collaborations seem to keep coming- obviously a good thing, but this goes to show how interlaced and reliant art and fashion are on one another. One of the collaborations that I am personally more familiar with is the iconic Piet Mondrian and Yves Saint Lauren collection. The dresses all are reflective of abstract art, with a structured, shift silhouette, bold grid lines and sold primary colors. This seemingly simple collection successfully uses the perfect textile and printed pattern, upholding the recognition of this series, and ultimately popularizing the A-line, shift dress.
Art greatly inspires fashion, as fashion transforms the brush strokes and color combinations into life, bringing the emotion and story into different silhouettes of fabrics. Instead of looking at live runway shows or flipping through magazines, I resort to art museums, where my creative mind can take off and truly become influenced at another level.