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Fashion as art: where do designers get their inspiration from?

What areas of art have the greatest impact on fashion?

For a very long time, the question of whether fashion belongs to the field of art remains open. Most people tend to think of fashion as an industry rather than a part of art. Fashion is associated with something changeable and superficial, while art in the general sense of the word is eternal.

In fact, it is hard to find a dress that would be looked at a hundred years later as enthusiastically as at Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”, but fashion and art always follow side by side.

What is their unity? We found a very interesting topic on MutualArt and decided to take a closer look at this issue and find out how mainstream art influences fashion.

Designer or artist

“Fashion is the beloved child of capitalism, built on the greed and desire of each person to look better than others. Therefore, a priori, it cannot be in connection with art, which does not have its main goal of obtaining benefits, “- say cultural experts.

The same point of view was shared by Coco Chanel, who, in response to a comparison of her clothes with a conveyor belt at an automobile factory, said: “This is not a painting or an immortal work of art.”

Her main opponent is the famous fashion designer of that time, Paul Poiret, who declared in the 1920s: “I am not a tailor, I am an artist!” Poiret’s outfits were famous for their catchiness and abundance of textures and were also created in a single copy, which really made it possible for Monsieur Poiret to identify himself as an artist – like a sculptor creating a statue in a single copy, Paul Poiret cut out his dresses. However, he did not neglect the collaboration with the mass markets of the time.

By the 1950s, most fashion designers sided with Poiret, recognizing themselves as artists. In the 1980s, exhibitions devoted to different styles of clothing began to appear one after another. This is another reason to classify fashion as an art.

But the traced trend of democratization of haute couture garments and their release into mass production can be interpreted in two completely opposite ways.

  • The first is “art for the masses”, whose supporters see in the democratization of “couture” equal access to it for many strata of the population, therefore, the accessibility to be fashionable for everyone who considers it a priority for themselves. This can be compared to art exhibitions, where connoisseurs can contemplate the work of artists that were previously concentrated in the hands of collectors.
  • The second vision is that art is always available only to connoisseurs. You can buy a painting, but you cannot buy an understanding of its meaning. Affordability lowers wardrobe items a few steps below works of art, so they are not art a priori.

Fashion and painting

One of the key sources of inspiration for designers is painting, graphics and contemporary art – abstraction and graffiti. Complex geometry and pure colors, op art and contrasts, graphic lines and abstract designs – designers use the most unusual elements and sources of inspiration as prints.

Miuccia Prada, while working on Prada collections, turned to contemporary art and street art, oriental motives and the art of origami.
The design duo Dolce & Gabbana glorified the love of luxurious golden mosaics from the Monreale Cathedral in Sicilia.
And the fashion house Louis Vuitton over the years drew inspiration from the works of artist Yayoi Kusama, pop artist Takashi Murakami and graffiti artist Stephen Sprouse.

Recently, young designers are increasingly drawing inspiration from the work of avant-garde artists. The works of Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, as well as students of the Bauhaus art school are increasingly being interpreted in a new way in the fashionable prints of designers.

Today, fashion and art simply cannot exist without each other. Designers are inspired by both Renaissance masters and contemporary provocative works by Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. Young artists are increasingly taking part in collaborations with both well-known and emerging brands. They understand that collections inspired by their creativity can be amazing and give a new impetus to their careers.

Fashion and ballet

Ballet and fashion have always been closely related. Many leading artists of the twentieth century, among whom were Pablo Picasso and Leon Bakst, developed costumes for the ballet dancers of the Russian “Diaghilev Seasons”.

Several decades later, leading costume designers – Pierre Cardin, Christian Lacroix and Karl Lagerfeld – began to work on the costumes of ballet dancers. Ballet is now and then cited as the main source of inspiration for leading designers.

Fashion and architecture

The relationship between fashion and architecture began with an unusual choice of display locations. Designers began to pay maximum attention to the spaces in which they held the show, creating special decorations. Soon this idea found a new embodiment. Clear architectural lines have increasingly come to be seen in designer interviews as the main sources of inspiration.

Architectural solutions are also found in fashionable sunglasses and their frames. The key trend is pointed metal structures, mirrored lenses, unusual colors. This is most vividly presented in the collections of Mykita, PQ Eyewear, Dior and many other brands.

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