Year after year, collection after collection, fashion broadens its horizon by always seeking and finding new possibilities for dialogue with new technologies, design and the visual arts. In this constant search, the role of art remains central. This is demonstrated by the constant incursions, collaborations, influences and frequent exchanges between the two fields. The boundary between fashion and art has been forced and crossed many times in the past and in more recent times as on the catwalks of the latest fashion weeks. A fruitful exchange that relentlessly involves both modern and contemporary art.
Artemisia Gentileschi, a 17th century painter and the first woman to succeed in a field dominated, until then, exclusively by men, is the muse of the Autumn/Winter 2023-24 collection presented by Chloé during Paris Fashion Week. The entire collection revolves around female emancipation and the ability of women to impose their own vision. The fashion show, which not by chance takes place inside the Centre Pompidou, ideally becomes a personified transposition of the works of Gentileschi, who adored clothes and used to represent fabrics and jewellery in her paintings with meticulous detail. Green light, therefore, to pearls, capes, dresses with Bishop sleeves, petticoats or silk courtesan ribbons.
Another fashion show, another inspiration. It is a tribute to the history of the maison and the experimental nature of its founder, the collection that Maximilian Davis proposes for Salvatore Ferragamo‘s Fall/Winter 2023-24 collection. No frills or excessive embellishments. Everything is played on the elegance and preciousness of the materials: nappa leather, glossy brushed leather, patent leather, vinyl, suede, but also plastic that is ennobled and used for designer jewellery or to make the handles of the new bags. A super graphic collection, characterised by basic and pure colours: black, white, blue and red. Every superfluous element is banished as, for example, in the suits in which every form of decoration is eliminated, even buttons in some, to avoid the risk of them becoming a distracting element. The only quirk is represented by a series of cuts that rip through the fabric of the suit to reveal its essence. The reference to the work of Lucio Fontana, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, is immediate. Just as Fontana wanted to go beyond the surface of the canvas to reveal to the world what lay beyond, in the same way, the cuts that Davis makes on total black dresses reveal flashes of bright red.
From the day she became Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri has never hidden her predilection for contemporary art and her desire to support female artists from all latitudes. There is no collection or fashion show that does not include the participation of an artist or a feminist homage to the art of the past. This was also the case during the last Paris fashion week which saw the involvement of Portuguese-born artist Joana Vasconcelos who created a monumental and colourful work for the fashion show set design in honour of Catherine Dior, younger sister of the founder of the fashion house and a great student of plants and flowers. The space was invaded by a proliferation of organic shapes, inspired by nature and made with fabrics from the maison’s archives. Compositions of fabrics, lace, embroidery and crochet, including “islands” on which the public is invited to sit, interact with the architecture. A tribute to the origins of the fashion house and the strength of craftsmanship.
Artists are not only a source of inspiration, but sometimes they also collaborate on clothing. This is the case of artist Paola Pivi, who has created a limited edition capsule collection for next Spring/Summer for the Canada Goove brand. A colourful collection inspired by the Italian artist’s iconic bear-shaped sculptures. The project had a charitable purpose: to support the non-profit organisation Polar Bears International for the protection of polar bears and their natural habitat.