Art and fashion collaborations have moved beyond the novelty phase
Luxury and high street brands, shoe designers, bag designers—you name it, they’re collaborating. There was Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami for Louis Vuitton; Rob Pruitt and Jimmy Choo; Cerith Wyn Evans and British milliner Stephen Jones; and Damien Hirst with just about everybody. The latest is Sterling Ruby’s autumn/ winter 2014 menswear collaboration with Christian Dior creative director Raf Simons. The collection fuses Ruby’s punk rock aesthetic with the designer’s structured minimalism. The result is a capsule collection that’s anything but minimal; its patchwork coats and jumpers, paintand bleach-splattered suits, and acid-neon denim have a DIY feel reminiscent of the grungy ’90s.
“Collaboration is so hard among creatives; it often ends in disaster,” says Ruby, a long-time friend of Simons, who has collected the artist’s work since his early years. “I think we both know each other well enough to have made it work.” He dismisses criticism that crossing into fashion makes him a sell-out. “It is hypocritical to say art is a less commercial domain than fashion. I enjoy the fact that a huge portion of people who cannot have an artwork due to cost or space can have a garment. I also like that this is more akin to how I first understood visual culture. I wore what I did and still do because it has an aesthetic that expressed an attitude.”