Sunday, 2 June 2013

Art & Fashion: Pompous Magazine

Pompous magazine is written by Mariella Agapiou who also blogs over at Notes on Allure which you can link to here. I came across this article a few months ago, and again a couple of days ago and I was so struck by its sentiment that I couldn't resist sharing it. Mariella presents a compelling argument and compounds the true relationship between art and fashion- two of my greatest interests.

If you want to read the rest of the magazine it's hosted online and you can find it here


What makes their relationship so intimate?

Fashion and art have an incestuous relationship. They relate in terms of seasons and modes of language; techniques and styles come in and out of fashion in the art world just like they do with designers' collections, and these siblings juts can't help but get into bed together.

The relationship is cemented around inspiration. Elsa Schiaparelli and Yves Saint Laurent are just two designers from the 20th century that took art and transformed it into infamous designs. Returning the compliment Artform Magazine places an Issey Miyake dress on the cover in 1982. This mutual belief in the others greatness became stronger in the later part of the century. Fashion magazines became more artistic, and some such as Self Service and V Magazine even dedicate precious pages to art itself; the boundaries have been blurring ever since. Fashion has been said to be art's other, but is it an art form in its own right? Before answering that, it is important to understand what makes these two world collide, what makes their relationship so, intimate.

Aesthetics look to critically reflect on art and culture, to look for the beauty in things. Fashion and art set out to make those objects of beauty - they have that in common. But producing beauty isn't the main aim; the fashion industry is also a high-flying business. Creative designers are backed by business moguls who know how to sell and although art dealers do a similar job, art is usually made for arts sake. But one can argue that designers such as Karl Largefeld are not artists of their craft, even if he doesn't agree himself. The Chanel designer said recently 'if you call yourself an artist, then you are second-rate' but of course calling himself an artist would make him readily available for more comparisons within a wider industry. One of the latest trends in fashion is to exhibit. Already this year we have seen Louis Vuitton in Paris, Gucci in Florence and Prada vs. Schiaparelli in New York.  This Autumn you are able to see the famous costume designs from cinema, such as Holly Golighty's Little Black Dress by Givenchy at the V&A's latest exhibition, Hollywood Costume, You can visit the 

Fashion and Textile Museum to see the impact of music, art and personality on fashion of the times in their Pop! Design. Culture. Fashion show until the end of October. And that's just London. The Musee d'Orsay is offering Impressionism and Fashion - Portraits of Society from September 25 and the Design Museum Holon in Israel presents Yohji Yamamoto from July 4 to October 20. With this rise of fashion exhibitions it must evident fashion's growing status as an art form, or at least the people's view that it is one. Although these exhibitions gain a lot of press and attention, it seems odd that those in fashion want to spend time and money on a show where the target audience, those interested in fashion, have most likely already seen the cloths being put on display. However, it is also likely that these shows are designed for those not in the fashion indistry, but those that still enjoy the craftsmanship that goes into a beautifully designed gown

The difference between art shows and fashion exhibitions is grandeur

The difference between art shows and fashion exhibitions is grandeur. When one walks into an art allergy we see blank walls and either paintings displayed or a sculpture in the middle, but fashion has to create a dramatic entrance. The House of Viktor and Rolf at the Barbican Art Gallery in 2008, is just one example. Designed by the architect, art historian and curator Siebe Tettera they produced a dramatic installation that took over the entire museum. Alexander 
McQueen's Spring/Summer catwalk show was as theatrical as they come. Journalists were made to sit and look at themselves in a mirror for two hours before the presentation itself even began. It is these nuances that makes the world of fashion stand out from the rest.

One can play the commercial card, and discuss the high street and mass production. Fashion has a way of being accessible to the masses, but with art it's slightly different. The art market is small and the deals are done in big sums, so those waiting a way in, have to have the funds to do so. This is one way in which the two industries lean on each other. The players in the art world not only buy art, but they buy high fashion, and vice-versa. You won't see many art deals being processed by someone wearing H&M. Although the high street is technically part of the fashion industry, they are not mass-produced pieces of art, but copy-cat products of the art that came before them. Walking into Topshop and seeing their latest offerings it's clear to see designer influences (albeit too close for comfort). When we say fashion, we mean the intricate designs of an artist, who sketched his way to the catwalk. We are talking about the drama, the beauty and the unique materials that go into one garment. Which is why the connection between haute couture and art is more intimate than fashion as a whole. Haute couture is where if all began, it wasn't until the 60s that ready-to-wear became something to be proud of. These two industries have more in common than just price points, but they each have a connection with time. Art buyers look for investments, and so do buyers of haute couture. Couture has a way of being topical with collections for each season, but it is going to be glamorous forever. This is the main different 

between high fashion, mass market fashion and art. Trend-led garments are not investment pieces, some cannot even be worn three months after purchase-they could but then you wouldn't be in fashion. Being in fashion is a way of connecting people together, making people feel they are part of something, even if it is as trivial as the autumn/winter 2012 gothic trend, whereas in art, it is more about being disconnected from others, pushing out everyone until a small elite group of individuals is left. But every now and then, art decides it needs more compliments and praise, which is when the call on the fashion industry for help.

Making art available for the masses is something the fashion world is famous for. Collaboration between high-end brands and high-street chains are a typical commodity nowadays. Louise Gray for Topshop and Maison Martin Margiela for H&M were two examples just last season, selling out like their predecessors. Fashion learnt long ago the importance of cult-status and that when it comes down to it, it's all just a numbers game. Art has always been as elitist, but learning from its fashionable sister, it takes on many forms. When artists collaborate with designers the results a always desirable, even if the final product isn't that spectacular. Tracey Emin designed a range of bags for Longchamp that were on many women's wish lists. The final products were not in dibble pieces of design, impeccable and beautiful like other creations from handbag brands, but they did open up doors to a bigger market for both parties. It is the process of collaboration that makes sense for everyone involved. An example of this from the art side of the equation is Marc Quinn's 2006 sculpture Sphinx, which depicted Kate Moss in a yoga position, "The two sculptures ar really about the same thing: why we do, or do not, find a person beautiful" said the artist when it was released. Trying to find beauty, express it in new ways and their methods of practising this notion, is the key theme that joins these two industries together. 

The creative process of a designer and an artist are not too far removed also. It starts with an idea, research, practise, more research, and then ideas and forms start to take shape and a piece of art informed, whether it's a painting or a dress. The conceptual progression is the same, but it is the pace that defines them. We all know that fashion is a fast paced industry, seasonal in its fundamental values, whereas an artist can take as much time as they like to produce a collection, or just one piece. In the way that an artist will make art to try and entice us, conjure emotions, a designer does the same. Fashion is not as superficial as it once was. Once only for the upper classes this industry has matured into a machine, set out to comment in today's society and is much more accessible, which is why to be a fashion designer today means so much more than to make pretty dresses. You need to have a voice, a design vocabulary and most importantly, something to say. It was in the 1960s that catwalk shows and designers collections really became a personal form of expression, and this is the crucial value of being an artist, hence fashion can be labelled art. The confusion lies with the word craft. Some people like to confuse craft with art, some see them as the same thing. These couture designers have outstanding talent, and produce amazing works of craft. And if craft is wearable as art, isn't it all just art in the end?

Fashion is art. There, we said it. There are many quotes, explanations and theories, but the answer is a simple one. Being that we live in a democracy and also because we love to argue, we searched the industry to produce our first ever POMPOUS: Debate and bring you the opinions of those closely connected to fashion and its art status. 

Charlie May, Designer and Blogger at Girl a la Mode
To me fashion is an art for, because when I design and create a garment, I put emotion into a piece. You are creating something powerful, that moves people and makes them think about the world.

Mary Haong, Shop Curator at Not Just a Label
Yes and no. Certainly fashion can be considered to be an art form of art but it is not always so. I believe that subjectivity of what is considered to be fashion complicates the debate to an extent which renders it futile.

Jacana Jatyri, founder of fashion forecasting agency
Yes, for me it is a wearable form of art. But unlike art, which can be perceived as elitist, fashion is accessible to everyone. 

Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones, Designers of Teatum Jones
Maybe our approach to design could be described as as artistic or as an art form. For us, I think we can only work and be inspired by what inspires us, what gets us going, and we're lucky as a partnership it's the same things. We work that way, but we understand that this is a business. We believe that the two can work in tandem with each other. 

Stacey Jane Archer, Correspondant at the BITE Magazine
I think fashion is a form of art open to interpretation. It can be a for of expressionism and just because someone does not necessairly paint or draw as the finished product, we cannot deny that the original idea has come from a conceptual idea that has been sketched, played around with and then changed, the only difference is that we end up wearing this. I believe that it's open to interpretation and some collections show the mood of the designer, whether they are in a light or dark place, very much similar to that of an artist.

Lottie Langford, Senior Account Executive at Katch PR
Yes- fashion can conceal, highlight, glamourise and memorise, just as a traditional artist may use a brush.

Jody Shafton, Knitwear Design Assistant at The Tango Group
In recent years I feel that the benchmark for creativity has risen and designers such as McQueen and Mary Katrantzou have highly influenced and inspired a new generation of design, introducing the era of wearable art.

Shini Park, Blogger at Park and Cube
It's near impossible to define art but if expression of emotion, storytelling or even making a social commentary is what makes art, then Fshion too is most definitely an art-form. Past the functionality element, fashion explores the body, the motion, the emotion, and even perhaps a story for the wearer. Inspiration for design can be taken from nature, architecture, history, religion and science which transform and develop on a canvas of 'body' using the methods in patterns, textures, cutting - which can be compared to a painters methods when producing painting on blank canvas. Even in a functional manner, fashion can be considered an art-form- just as architecture may be consider art, while being functional, in essence - in definition of 'decorating' the body to communicate a social class, or the occupation of the wearer.

Grace Stang, Assistand Buyer at Asos Petite
I think high fashion is a form of art, not necessairly high steer fashion. The big influential design houses convey a Zeitgeist with their lines; the same way artists do with their work. They are exploring ideas and themes within their designs and its all subjective to the person looking at it. High street fashion is very commercialised, it's like capitalist fashion, they just want to make a quick buck. But coutu fashion is definitely an art form.

Daniel James, Creative Director at F. Tape
I do not believe Fashion is Art.
Art is liberated.
Fashion is liberating.
Art makes itself.
Fashion has to be forced into existence every 6 months.

Lizzie Burns, Jewellery Designer at E.A. Burns
No, I think if you believe that then you're going to have a very difficult time in fashion. I have worked for people who do, and at first it's exciting working in such a free and creative way but when you get older, and you still can't pay your bills, you have to question it. Dresses, jewellery etc. are to be worn- they are products of our social and political ideals but they are not art.its really important to be creative in fashion, but art and fashion and different beings and really a lot of designers would be better off making sculptures and paintings- they'd get much more satisfaction and probably more money too. I know that's a harsh way of looking at things but I thnk it's the truth we need to here.

Eva Wilkos, Freelance Fashion Journalist
I think fashion is superior to other forms of art right now sinceit translates  directly into selling dreams and creating desire, ina. Way that Tracey Emin's Bed would never be able to. It's accessible to large numbers of people around the world and capable of holding sway over their imagination. Yes, it's commercial, but so are other contemporary artists and musicians who earned a fortune selling their art. Fashion has the power to promote other artists, no matter if its Flonce Welch or Francessca Vezzoli, who nowadays jostle to team up with fashion designers. At the end of the day, who would have ever heard of Czech Cubism if Karl hadn't used it as inspiration for his Chanel AW2012 show?

Jenny Postle, designer at Leutton Postle
It's wearable Rt, yes, it's been created by a person, but it is also functional, no matter how elaborate, detailed or artisian it is. 

No comments:

Post a Comment