Monday, September 7, 2009

F vs. A

What is meant by fashion versus art?
We normally understand “fashion” as a separate category from “art.” Fashion includes the clothes we wear while art is aesthetically appreciated and not to be touched. There are however many examples that challenge the categories. Socially constructed categories for "fashion" or "art" can be de-constructed to reveal shared aesthetic values and the limits of function and design.

Some of the creators who break through the constructed categories of fashion and art include Walter Van Beirendonck, Joseph Beuys, Bless, Guy Bourdin, Leigh Bowery, Jean Charles de Castlebajac, André Courrèges, Hussein Chalayan, Elmgreen & Dragset, Sylvie Fleury, John Galliano, Imitation of Christ, Inez & Vinoodh, Rei Kawakubo, Nick Knight, Karl Lagerfeld, Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen, Steven Meisel, Patrick Nagel, Helmut Newton, Miuccia Prada, Richard Prince, Gareth Pugh, Paco Rabanne, Elsa Schiaparelli, Hedi Slimane, Terry Richardson, Rodarte, Viktor & Rolf, Yves Saint Laurent, Cindy Sherman, Mario Sorrenti, Juergen Teller, Chris Von Wangenheim, Andy Warhol, Vivienne Westwood, among others.

Historic Collaborations
The collaboration of fashion and art was common to movements of the early 20th century such as the Bauhuas and Surrealism. Artist Meret Oppenheim experimented with fabrics and forms as did Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Schiaparelli also collaborated with Dali who made accessories and fabric design.

Meret Oppenheim, Turkey shoes, 1936, and Elsa Schiaparelli Monkey Hair Shoes, 1938

One of the most historic intersections of fashion and art is Andy Warhol. Warhol began as a fashion illustrator and remained connected to the fashion world. He also had a short lived show on closed circuit TV in New York in the early 1980’s called Fashion in which he invited people to stop by and chat and discuss what they were wearing.

Contemporary Corporate Collaborations
One of the major proponents of contemporary fashion and art collaborations is Louis Vuitton. In the 1980's the house started working with painters like César, Sol LeWitt and Olivier Debré. When Marc Jacobs joined in 1997, Vuitton worked in conjunction with Stephen Sprouse and Takashi Murakami. In 2005, Vanessa Beecroft created a live installation inside the Louis Vuitton flagship in Paris. Another important fashion commission is the LVMH support of Richard Prince. For Spring 2008, Prince's Nurse paintings were used as inspiration for a handbag series.

Vanessa Beecroft for Louis Vuitton, LV, 2005

LVMH recently produced a book Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion and Architecture, see an interview with the CEO about the book.
The CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault is well known for his support of the arts and was previous owner of the auction house Phillips de Pury and is planning a LVMH art museum for Paris. Francois Pinault CEO of PPR (Gucci group) owns part of Christies Auction house and a major collection, now a private museum in Italy, Palazzo Grassi.

The Chanel Mobile Art project was created by designer Karl Lagerfeld with the Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. It was called a contemporary art container and hosted projects by Daniel Buren, Lee Bul, Nobuyoshi Araki, Sophie Calle, Stephen Shore, Sylvie Fleury, Yoko Ono. The project travelled to Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, London, Paris and Moscow (2006-2008). It was a $10 million dollar investment and stopped touring in NY, due to the downturn of the economy and lack of general support of frivolous ventures.

“Today, everyone can say that something is for financial reasons when they want. For me, artistic reasons are more important. I always thought the building was a sculpture. I prefer it empty," Karl Lagerfeld.

Agnes b. is a more independent French fashion designer that actively supports the arts through a gallery space, Galerie du Jour. She also sponsors many young artists books and projects.

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