For some time, the marriage between fashion and art accentuates the infatuation. The successful Marukami anagrams for Louis Vuitton, and the great collections of the world’s most powerful in fashion: Pinault, Prada and Hinault have positioned advertising and sales in unimaginable places.
It is always discussed if fashion is art or not. I think it’s an art form which we can call decorative arts as opposed to fine arts, but what is the difference? Fashion can express what people wore in a given period, as well as ceramics can point out what people liked at their parties or daily lives.
Some designers are directly influenced by art and there are a lot of artistic references that have influenced their creations: from Flemish painting to Cubism, Surrealism and Suprematism.
For some years now, clothes are included in exhibitions in museums. Yves Saint Laurent had a passion for art and his collections are some of the world’s most extraordinary ones. “I was inspired by a great number of painters in my designs because I believe that art is not only part of culture, but of life and you have to show it to everyone”.
The inspiration or influence of the great artists has always been present in great fashion. From Dali’s surrealism in the Schiaparelli lobster to the gauzy Wateau silk that inspires Viviene Westwood with her catwalks in honour of the courtesans and the Marquis de Sade that shocks the order through a continuous, healthy call for disorder.
Talking about whether fashion is art is absurd. Of course it is not: It is fashion. The fashion artists are a recurring theme for museums because they share some of the attributes of art. In the early 1950s at the time of his peak, the exquisite man of haute couture Cristobal Balenciaga, was as close to perfection as a beautiful painting or sculpture.
However, only an old aesthete would say the role of the artist is to create beauty. Sometimes artists do, but for most contemporary artists beauty tends to be a by-product in their quest to explore the complex ambiguities of life. Artists like Wolfgang Tillmans with photographs of the remains of his breakfast in dirty frames have been in all the great museums of the world. These images are not beautiful, but refer to a sad beauty, too subtle to be replicated in fashion. Because beauty is only the beginning of the horrible according to André Breton.
But fashion has another traditional role; to reflect the changes in contemporary culture. Unlike art, fashion is not an editorial about the times, but it is still one of the headlines of history.
And if fashion has a practical purpose, art has no purpose, it goes beyond everything. A beautiful dress can be as beautiful or even more than an “arte póvera” installation but art is undoubtedly an eloquent and political metaphor of its time.
For now, art helps fashion to get publicity. Culture is always a “must”. Our time is a time of art, fashion and cuisine. Three cornerstones in the history of man: Food, clothing and to go beyond.