3 visionary collaborations between art and fashion icons
Blurred lines : when art and fashion collide
Words— Mylène Genty
When talking about fashion and art, one thing often emerges: the time when two disciplines meet. Collaborations are multiple: designers often get inspired by works of architecture, sculpture, music and even literature. Most frequent and explicit though, are the collaborations between painters and creators.
Such partnerships are interesting in that they use clothing as a canvas. Not only does it serves a function to the painter; it also heightens the artistic value of the clothing itself. Despite the similarities between plastic arts and fashion—both of them have an aesthetic purpose—they diverge on several points: the very nature of fashion lies in its ephemerality, whereas art is considered as permanent. Even though contemporary art continuously challenges that notion of permanence, visual arts have historically been embedded in the fabric of culture whereas the system of fashion was a witness of the times.
It’s those similarities and divergences that allow for meaningful collaborations to take place. Sometimes, these collaborations seem organic, like Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali. The "Organza Dinner Dress with Painted Lobster", one of the earliest collaborations between a fashion designer and an artist, embodies the fearless creative spirit of these two geniuses, by playing with surrealist iconography on a traditional dress.
In often cases, the merging of art and fashion creates iconic moments in culture—we come to think of the "Mondrian Collection", launched in 1965. Not only did it featured pieces inspired by The Stijl movement and the late Piet Mondrian, but the collection also toyed with the work of French modernist painter Serge Poliakoff and Russian Formalist Kazimir Malevich. Fast forward to today and collaborations have become an integral part of fashion and its well-oiled marketing machine. The Jeff Koons and Louis Vuitton collab epitomizes what some collabs seem to be about: a maximum visual impact and a lot of noise.
Most partnerships though seem to have a genuine sense of artistry, wanting to push the limits of their crafts a little further. Here are some of the best artist and designer collaborations of the past years.
Chloé Wise x Études Studio
Using contemporary art is part of the essence of Études, a french brand with a strong streetwear appeal. For FW19 season they did it with two colourful group portrait paintings by the New York-based Canadian artist Chloé Wise entitled "Tormentedly Untainted, 2019" and "You Definitely Lied to the Right Person, 2019." Appearing on silk shirting, a peignoir and a shirt, it gave the impression of wearing an actual painting.
Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby
Raf Simons is no stranger to the art world: he has collaborated with Sterling Ruby on numerous occasions, and the pair have talked about how they’ve gone beyond the typical artist/designer relationship, moving from friendship and admiration to a true fusion of their work. The best example of this work is in 2012, when he turned Sterling Ruby‘s canvases into haute couture, as exemplified in the documentary ‘Dior and I’.
Alexander McQueen x Damien Hirst
The collaboration between these two creative masterminds took place in 2013, as a 10-year celebration of the brand. Taking on the motif of the skull was both a clever and sensible choice as this image is key in Hirst iconography and an emblem for Alexander McQueen. By joining their perspectives on a common theme, the collaboration successfully shared a common aesthetic vision.
Need help finding your style without all the shopping? Try Style Plan, our new clothing subscription box. Answer a few simple questions and we'll send you what you exactly what you're looking for.