The collision of fashion and art is an inevitability, as the two not only revolve around the same creative sphere, but are also deeply rooted in self-expressionism. However, this trend is nothing new; the disciplines have been entangled in a rich, give-and-take relationship for centuries, stretching beyond boundaries and cultures to bring global influences to every wardrobe.
Although it is tempting to trace the bond between art and fashion back to Ancient Egypt, which history tells us is its roots, we need not go that far to discover how the two have vastly impacted the vision and evolution of creatives of the past and present. Therefore, let us take the time to explore how art and fashion have borrowed from parallel movements in the last century, and how they continue to influence one another to this day.
Prior to the second world war, Elsa Schiaparelli was one of the most prominent figures in fashion, possessing a whimsical nature and unstoppable imagination. Given her characteristics, it seemed only fitting that she partnered with Salvador Dali, the very inspiration behind many of her designs, to create the famous Lobster dress.
The ivory silk piece showcased a massive lobster, which was painted by Dali himself, and paid tribute to his 1934 painting, New York Dream-Man Finds Lobster in Place of Phone. However, their collaboration did not stop there. Taking inspiration from the fashion industry, Dali designed the Shoe Hat, which represented women’s high heel shoes. Once Schiaparelli executed the design, the hat was modeled by Dali’s own wife, Gala, in Schiaparelli’s Winter 1937-38 catalogue.
Just after World War II concluded, a new, vivid art form burst onto the scene, effectively disrupting the market for classical art while simultaneously celebrating otherwise ordinary items — namely, Campbell’s soup cans — and figureheads of popular culture.
Of course, this is referring to the great Andy Warhol, who challenged the very culture of fine art and unintentionally yet effectively usurped the fashion industry. Gone were the days of high fashion being considered stuffy, dull, and reserved solely for the elite. Instead, trendy designs were swiftly picked up by popular retailers, thus making punchy, vibrant pieces more accessible to the general public.
Warhol’s impact on the fashion industry has certainly not faded over the years, as designers like Gianni Versace and Christian Dior continued incorporating his prints into their garments through the 1990s. Even several years ago, Moschino designer Jeremy Scott paid homage to Pop Art by releasing a collection inspired by commercial titans like McDonald’s and Frito-Lay.
Alexander McQueen was renowned not only for his designs, but for his fierce passion for classical art as well. Throughout his career, McQueen incorporated unique installations, concepts, and even performance art into his runway shows, effectively displaying his appreciation for all things reminiscent of avant-garde styles.
Shortly after his passing, one of McQueen’s chief designers and now-creative director, Sarah Burton, paid tribute to her mentor by unveiling an intricately designed ballgown, which was adorned with lace appliques and inspired by the gowns featured in John Callcott Horsley’s oil painting, Critics on Costume, Fashions Change. The gown was named Dress of the Year in 2011, and Burton ultimately won the Designer of the Year at the 2011 British Fashion Awards.
Born in the United Kingdom and growing up in Nigeria, Chuks Collins has been intrigued by fashion since a very young age. He carried that passion with him throughout his life and ultimately launched his own clothing line in 2010. Chuks’ long-term mission is to empower others through his designs, all while letting his personal interests shine through each piece.
For instance, Chuks has drawn inspiration from a number of renowned art forms, such as classical paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance. Explicit examples can be found sprinkled throughout his previous Fall/Winter collection, as well as his Spring/Summer line.
Evidently, the connection between fashion and art runs deeper than some may realize, and their relationship will not be dissipating any time soon. After all, in today’s fast-paced digital world, it is imperative that brands achieve and maintain relevance. Therefore, more and more brands are gaining inspiration from and collaborating with other artists to keep their lines fresh, trendy, and at the forefront of the public’s mind.