Fashion has always had a love affair with art. Amy Yasmine cracks down on the relationships, and how designers and artists are taking them to a whole new level.
Afew months ago in May, the world bore witness to fashion’s most glittering night— the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Gala in New York. Among the star-studded crowd was actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who made a surprising choice to arrive in an all-white Monse suit, inspired by the broadway production Hamilton. Shocks and gasps followed, as the actress known for her outlandish gowns opted for something a little more dressed down. Leave it to SJP to school us on the perfect amalgamation of old vs. new, and fashion vs. art. “Fernando [Garcia, of Monse] introduced us to these embellishment artists in Brooklyn called Le Studio Anthost, who took the idea of old-fashioned couture embroidery and, with technology, applied it to fabrications using paint,” says the actress. Unconventional? Perhaps. Ingenious? Most definitely. This certainly counts for a new rising sentiment—one that is constantly pushing the boundaries between art and fashion.
THE NEW LUXURY
Nothing quite surprises you when a USD150,000 bag is your everyday go-to accessory. Unless, it’s been turned into a masterpiece worthy of a museum. See: the new personalisation that has since kicked monogrammed initials out of the game. “In order to make luxurious accessories even more unique, buyers are elevating their precious pieces into unique works of art,” says Alisa Kovtunova, who transforms five-figure Hermès bags into wearable pieces through her New Yorkbased company, ArtBuro. “It gives the buyer an opportunity to express themselves a little bit more, and the piece itself becomes much more than just an expensive accessory,” Kovtunova enthuses. With luxury items becoming more accessible to the masses, it’s no wonder designers are shifting towards a more artisanal approach. Consider Dolce & Gabbana’s meticulously handpainted Sicilian Carretto sunglasses, or on a more contemporary (read: shocking) level, Gucci’s colourful graffiti collection for Autumn/Winter ’16, produced by artist GucciGhost, in lieu of the brand’s iconic logo.
Ever since Louis Vuitton played curator to its ‘Series 3’ exhibition tour in 2015, it’s been a continuous state of role reversal between designers and artists. Artists spurred creative visions in collaborative collections (see: Marc Quinn for Dior, and MCM x Tobias Rehberger) or designers served as curators— such is the case at Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Like an expanded universe of a maison, exhibitions have given visitors a sneak peek into the inner workings of a fashion label—a 360-degree experience, if you will. Inversely, artists have been clamouring to align themselves with likeminded design houses; further expanding their artistic repertoire and adding a touch of unconventionalism. As Alessandro Michele says, “Two things together are good. Diversity always produces something interesting.”
Customised GucciGhost jacket from Gucci Autumn/Winter ’16
Personalised hand-painted Hermès Birkin and Dior Lady Dior bag
A re-creation of Alessandro Michele’s favourite painting, featured at Gucci’s ‘No Longer/Not Yet’ in 2015
The Sex and the City actress at The Met Gala this year