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Analysis out of the box

Art and Fashion: a game of paradoxes (first part)

Analysis out of the boxArt & Business | In recent years the relationship between art and fashion has become clear. It is always evolving, creating debate, and gives birth to the Arty trend. This complex multi-modal relationship, whose main objective is creativity, conflicts with the reality of the high street and its paucity of invention. This contradiction needs to be examined.

 © Hussein Chalayan

Relationship topography

The Art/Fashion game takes place on the fields of strategy and creativity and relies on numerous methods of mutual collaboration : Artists creating fashion items, catwalk shows resembling performances (Dior and Galliano), exhibitions in large department stores (Bon Marche, Galeries Lafayette), the combination of architectural power and luxury (Franck Gherry, Tadao Ando) and the creation of Arts foundations by big companies (LVMH, Hermes, Chanel).

The Paradox

While the big players can fall back on the values of « artistic creativity » and claim to be custodians of the path between reality and fantasy, an item of clothing worn on the street is a symbol of codification, formality and convention. This contradiction is one of the driving factors behind the increase in collaborations between the worlds of art and fashion. Artistic references create an aura, a connection to the stuff of dreams. Linked to indulgence, it also subtly expresses a sense of permanence amidst the hurly burly of the modern world.

From the point of view of pure creativity and the history of modern fashion teeming with rich collaborations between designers and artists, art and fashion meet in the realm of experimentation (Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan, Issey Miyake, Victor and Rolf.) The production of limited editions or even one off creations attracts the attention of a well heeled clientele which is strongly represented in a niche market.

The relationship between art and fashion is necessary but also ambiguous. Necessary because it feeds the mystique and the aura of the big fashion houses. Ambiguous because this is notable by its absence on the high street, and therefore in the vast commercial playing field that is high street fashion.
The situation is turned upside down, a dues ex machine, by artists taking ownership of fashion and design. The loop closes on the « fashion system ».

Manuel Fialho / Nina Rodrigues-Ely
Publié le 16/10/2009
Copyright © Observatoire de l'art contemporain - Tous droits réservés
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Sans titre © Hussein Chalayan


© Hussein Chalayan

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