Finding the connection: art breathes life into fashion

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“Fashion is not simply a matter of clothes; fashion is in the air, borne upon the wind; one Inuits it; it is in the sky and on the macadam; it comes from ideas, manners, and events.” –Coco Chanel

While flipping through the pages of Harper’s Bazaar February issue I came across and article about up and coming designer Erdem Moraliogu. Moraliogu like many designers find their inspiration either through modern day artist or celebrated artist of the past like Monet with impressionism, Dali and Surrealism, or Picasso with cubism. Unfortunately some may not see the connection behind Avant Garde and Monet’s Music in the Tulleries Garden, which is fine but how can you love one and not admire the other?

Fashion is about the fusion of different worlds coming together to create something beautiful. My personal favorite designer Coco Chanel was inspired by the work of Pablo Picasso when she created her shapeless drop waist dresses with simple geometric shapes. Her dresses created back in the 1920’s during the Women’s Rights Movement symbolized the liberating of women from the corset and from the household. Moraliogu like Chanel created a collection based on the art exhibition entitled “Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes, 1909-1929”. Birthing a collection filled with whimsical florals and romantic lace that would make even Chanel herself stop and admire.

Art continues to move from the Gallery halls of museums to the runway. Last season Bloomingdales created a beautiful chiffon gown that literally looked like Monet’s Waterlillies series created in the final stages of his life. The Ikat and Safari inspired works that continually debut on the runway mirror images of early African art with vibrant colors and the fusion of our history. The Mondrian inspired line created in 1965 by Yves Saint Laurent literally fused the worlds of art and fashion together. He designed a group of wool jersey tunic dresses consisting of intersecting black lines and blocks of bold primary colors based on the abstract paintings. By choosing to use the Mondrian look Saint Laurent brought about a new elegance and sophistication to haute couture. He knew and understood that fashion was not based on basic principles but an entire complexity that is composed by the inspirations of previous artists in his works.

It is in the muse, it is the world around them that designers and artist find the beauty that becomes the source for their work. What I love about fashion and art is the freedom for individual expressionism. Creativity doesn’t limit one into a box or force them to conform to the ideas of others, it allows you to be yourself and bring to life a world only you understand. Fashion and art are indeed intertwined in many ways; it can be analyzed, interpreted, and reinterpreted to fit the modern day audience. Dior’s New Look, Chanel classic tweed suit, and Schiaparelli eccentric Surrealist looks continue to be worked and reworked in the collections of numerous designers. Dior’s New Look with his full skirts has been seen in the collection of Galliano and Marc Jacobs. Chanel’s classic tweed suit has been created, recreated by different designers and retailers from Barney’s to H&M. Finally Schiaparelli influence can be seen in the work of ever changing Betsey Johnson and other designers who choose to be whimsical and playful with their work. Even in today’s economic times fashion has still survived and blossomed. It gave rebirth to the Minimalism movement as seen last season which reflected our return to simplicity and the importance of craftsmanship. The future of art and fashion is a certain one for there will always be a need, an audience, a desire to know what is next…. and with bated breath I am waiting.




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