Since the creation of haute couture in the 19th century, art and fashion have been two fields that gravitate around each other, mixing aesthetics and passion. Fashion Designers recognize common inspirations and ideas in the works of artists from both worlds. There is also a shared pleasure for the representation of society. Fashion still sometimes has difficulties to be considered as an art. In order to go beyond preconceived ideas, designers have called upon artists. They intervene in the conception of unique pieces and thus mark the spirits.
“Fashion is not an art, but needs an artist to exist” – Yves Saint Laurent
This year, museums around Paris paid tribute to the famous Parisian fashion designer, Yves Saint
Laurent. The great lover of art has been in touch with artists since his early days. He was able to highlight his interest in this world by integrating the influence of these encounters in his creations. For his fall-winter 1965 collection, Yves Saint Laurent presented a series of dresses that paid tribute to various artists who inspired him during his career: Piet Mondrian, Matisse, Picasso and Andy Warhol.
On the occasion of a large-scale exhibition, across 6 Parisian museums, named “Yves Saint Laurent aux musées”, the designer’s iconic models and outfits are presented alongside some permanent art collections. These exhibitions aim to highlight the dialogue between the designer and artists. They support the idea that each collection represents the artistic link with each artist.
However, fashion can sometimes still feel far from being considered an art, despite the many links between designers and artists. The late Karl Lagerfeld believed that fashion and art are and will remain two worlds in their own right. Indeed, this is due to the fact that contemporary works have the ability to travel in time while fashion is continuously renewed to meet commercial needs.
A Viable Artistic Exchange
The feeling of rarity of a garment increases when it is associated with an artistic note and Elsa Schiaparelli understood this well. The famous Italian designer was friends with many artists such as Andy Warhol, Picasso, Man Ray or the famous surrealist Salvador Dali. During the 20th century, she designed many pieces revealing the incandescence of the fashion world through extraordinary creations.
Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli became a complementary duo in the world of fashion and art in the 1930s. Elsa contributed her skills as a stylist to Dali’s “Vêtements de Nuits et de Jour” (Night and Day Wear), while Dali participated in the development of the famous “Robe Homard” (Lobster Dress) and the unmistakable shoe hat. The creation of patterns by the artist adds a value of rarity to the creations of the young woman, allowing her to insert herself little by little in the world of art.
Art and fashion share the same values, presented in different artistic forms, thus intimately linking the fields. They are two means of expression that allow to accompany the change in our society, over the centuries.