Art and Fashion; Peas and Carrots
Spring 2012 brought us several collections inspired by fine art: There was Van Gogh at Rodarte and Picasso at Jil Sander. But this is hardly a new trend. The marriage between art and fashion has existed for decades. And although one could argue it goes further back, even to ancient times, the more literal examples began in 20th century Paris with the surrealists and the designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
Schiapiarelli was one of the first in the modern era to fuse fashion and art, beginning with surrealist master Salvador Dalí. Although she worked with other artists during her career, their pairing was the most significant. Together they created four iconic pieces: The Lobster Dress, The Tears Dress, The Skeleton Dress and The Shoe Hat.
This may be the most identifiable example of art meeting fashion. Yves Saint Laurent drew inspiration from Mondrian to create the print for this dress. I once saw a Mondrian with my father and said, "I don't get what the big deal is, they're squares." This happened when I was a child and even though I've studied art for years, parts of me still think the same thing. Anyway....
Anyone familiar with the work of Richard Prince could spot this inspiration a mile away. Marc Jacobs' Spring/Summer 2008 Louis Vuitton show began with real life versions of Prince's famous nurse paintings, each wearing a cap that spelled out "Louis Vuitton." Clever, Mr. Jacobs, very clever.
Christian Dior's Spring 2007 couture show was heavily influenced by the Far East. Many pieces from the collection had an origami-like structure, but this one drew directly from Japanese printmaker, Hokusai's most famous work, "The Great Wave."
The print on this gown from Oscar de la Renta's Resort 2011 collection is actually inspired by a drawing his grandson did. Will the boy follow in the family footsteps? I don't know, I'm not a wizard, I can't tell you the future. But the kid shows promise.
Mary Katrantzou, who's already on her way to the very top, is crazy about prints. And although her prints from Spring 2011 may not be from a Renaissance master or Dadaist genius, they come from old interior design photographs for a singular take on art and fashion.
Impressionism is known for looking one way from a distance and entirely different up close, but you knew that because you watched Clueless at some point in your life. Erdem's Monet-heavy collection from Fall 2011 was beautiful no matter the vantage point.
For Spring 2012, Prabal Gurung sent out a bevy of models in electric violet prints. From afar, they look like spilled watercolors (in a good way). They were created from Nobuyoshi Araki's series of floral photographs.
Vincent van Gogh has inspired many. And although the hearing-impaired artist has infiltrated the minds of creators for years, Rodarte's painterly collection piqued my interest. The Mulleavy sisters presented us with pieces so beautiful they deserved to be framed, wired with a security system and chosen as the focus of a sequel to The Thomas Crowne Affair.
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