With the expanding digital exposure to all the wonderful photographs that have been made and are still being made these days through technology,
it is now easier to see that, starting with Sonia Delaunay,
there is a very strong connection between the couture world and the world of art.
Art and Fashion was the theme of an exhibition in Florence in 1996,
Curated by Germano Celant, that would go to New York City and be shown at Guggenheim SoHo. The book is now a collector’s item, and one I had lost…
to my great surprise and delight I received it for my birthday.
Art and Fashion is a passionate endless connection of mutual giving and taking.
Christian Lacroix’s homage to Schiaparelli was the most anticipated event at Couture. The entrance for the eighteen inspired outfits was a romantic beautiful forest of trees and an arch of flowers with birds singing on digital screens… a wonderful refined humor in the blending of nature and digital! And there were exquisite drawings by Lacroix, another link to Schiaparelli and her love for her favorites by Christian Berard.
In 1925, Sonia Delaunay presented her “Boutique Simultané” at the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs. Sonia Delaunay was making fashion history.
She opened a fashion studio and taught the Sorbonne a lesson about the influence of painting on fashion. Even as she considered her textiles as pure exercises in color, her work in applied arts making swimming suits, hats, and coats was truly art/couture. An exhibition two years ago in New York City at Cooper-Hewitt, “Color Moves The Art and Fashion of Sonia Delaunay” combined both color and shape.
I hope one day to see this Delaunay exhibition become
a permanent source of inspiration available to all young designers.
Involved with theatre, set design, costuming and his collaboration with Max Ernst for Diaghilev’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Spanish surrealist Joan Mirò crossed all borders. Here, a study for “Jeux d’enfants”, designed in 1932.
The all over spiral bands of jersey wool in primary colors
in Joan Miro’s costume for Les Ballets Russes seems
to be the inspiration for this Thierry Mugler leather Jacket of 1990.
Fashion always looks at art.
Here, a white felt robe with applique geometric shapes representing a deer,
the symbol of longevity in Chinese mythology.
Commissioned by Diaghilev for Les Ballets Russes “the Nightingale”,
Diaghilev engaged the avant-garde art scene of Paris in his productions –
a scandal at the time. Now the original is in Australia but through
digital I can explore this great collection at the National Gallery of Australia.
The Salles Matisse at Museum of Modern Art in Paris has these monumental figures of “The Unfinished Dance” and “The Dance of Paris” by Henri Matisse.
Painted in the ‘30’s, they will host the works of Azzedine Alaïa in September.
The curiosity of Paris is focused to see how these two masters will engage each other.
In 1996 at the Florence Biennale this dress of Azzedine Alaïa
was presented next to works of art by Julian Schnabel.
Alaïa’s drawings are rarely shown and this one
was created expressly for the exhibition,
from the book Art/Fashion by Germano Celant,
published by Skira- a collector’s book.
Schiaparelli was not the only designer working with artists. Following her inspiration,
in Milano Bruna Bini and Giuseppe Telese in March of 1961
presented a series of dresses made by artist Lucio Fontana.
Fontana made three, but also Enrico Baj, Lucio Del Pezzo
and Arnoldo Pomodoro did art/couture at this time.
Here, Lucio Fontana’s vertical cut dress and horizontal round cut dress
– both echoing his canvases. Later he would make dresses
for Mila Schön, famously photographed by Ugo Mulas.
Many of us recall the Viktor & Rolf shows at Couture years ago.
For their 20th Anniversary designing fashion, they presented
an installation with themselves as the central part of it.
The set was a Zen Japanese garden where Viktor and Rolf sat meditating,
setting the path for the twenty outfits worn by solemn models.
Pure black and pure shape – inviting meditation.
Photographs by Paolo Roversi, Patrick Demarchelier, Terry Richardson
and Willy Vanderperre interpreted Raf Simons couture collection for Dior.
It was a truly impressive backdrop, art with art, digital with couture.
The freedom seen here in the personal interpretations
of all of these artists in the photographs
and the clothes by Raf, each individually conceived, present couture
as it should be seen, one creation for one person.