Fashion, Fakery and Surrealism: History’s most iconic crossovers

Within the history of art, fashion has always served as one of the main axes for artists looking to explore ideas and ways to communicate. But so too has art formed the backbone to most fashion designers' artistic driving force. Afterall, what is fashion if not wearable art?

Within the history of art, fashion has always served as one of the main axes for artists looking to explore ideas and ways to communicate. But so too has art formed the backbone to most fashion designers' artistic driving force. Afterall, what is fashion if not wearable art? Art and fashion have been intrinsically linked throughout history, but now more so than ever.


From Renaissance artists use of blue robes to adorn the Virgin Mary in biblical paintings to represent the people of Israel, or the divine or royal blue, to Elsa Schiaparelli’s use of surrealist imagery such as the lobster, a collaboration with the surrealism’s heavy weight, Salvador Dali, in her 1937 Lobster dress, great artists and designers have used fashion to communicate many different ideas.
Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by Piet Mondrian’s geometric Cubist primary coloured paintings, in his ‘Fall Mondrian Collection’ in 1965. The piece would break new ground for the future role of art in fashion.

But fashion and art share similar occupations with the surreal and darker minds of creativity, an example of this is when Alexander McQueen teamed up with Damien Hirst in 2013. Their work reflected a meeting of two of the darkest minds in contemporary design. Ethereal and haunting, McQueen takes inspiration from Hirst’s Entomology series. Butterflies, spiders and other insects crawl across McQueen’s collection of 30 chiffon scarves, forming geometric patterns across the fabric. This collaboration was celebrated equally across both the art and fashion world and was an unquestionably iconic meeting of minds.

Another example of an iconic collaboration was the Spring/Summer collection between Daniel Buren and Louis Vuitton in 2013. Not content with incorporating Buren’s check canvas designs into his clothes, Jacobs drafted the artist in to design the staging for his catwalk show. Buren had complete artistic freedom when designing his monolithic set,  complete with moving escalators of course, a breathtaking spectacle was installed in the central courtyard of the Louvre. Creating an unforgettable collaboration of art and fashion.

Today we see many artists inspired by fashion in all forms and those who cleverly combine the two worlds in their works...

SJ FUERST

Voted by GQ as one of the best artists working today, SJ Fuerst’s work often has a dark undercurrent, carefully and masterfully entwined with a cute, playful innocence and a formal, fashion seriousness. Harnessing the comic and light-hearted effect of mass produced objects and inflatables, and the chicness and elegance of fashion models, Fuerst paintings confront subjects such as consumerism, religion, sexism and iconography. Whether it’s Darth Maul in knee high black boots, a 4ft inflatable donut or life size PVC zebra, Fuerst’s paintings stop us in our tracks just long enough to ponder the underlying narrative, before the sheer joy of the objects bring us back to a happy place.

 

MISS ANIELA

Miss Aniela’s photographs are both real and imagined. Her work captures elaborate scenes that seem to blur the boundaries between fine art and fashion. There is a formal fashion sense to her staging, but look for more than a second and you are drawn into a world where everything needs to be questioned. Dreamy characters bask in opulent worlds from the sublime to the bizarre. Zoo animals peer from French chateaus, a yellow tulle dress explodes into the canaries of Jean Baptiste Greuze, and painted ships of an English stately home dance upon the waves of a model's cascading skirts.


IGNASI MONREAL

Ignasi Monreral is an illustrator, graphic artist and creative, whose work is both surreal and traditional simultaneously. With clients including Dior, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Gucci and Vogue, Monreal’s graphic illustrations for Hong Kong fashion house Joyce’s S/S 2013 campaign, consisted of highly coveted brands such as Giambattista Valli, Peter Pilotto, Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Mary Katrantzou and YSL. 

The Barcelona-born graphic artist’s designs were inspired by Spanish folklore and the Dior S/S 2013 campaign. The illustration showcases real models that were graphically rendered with the use of Photoshop technology. The images possess a greatly balanced mixture of anime-styled designs with surreal European artwork that’s a signature in Monreal's graphical renderings.

Monreal’s captivating graphically rendered pieces showcase the distinct skills of a talented artist. Monreal's work has been used to showcase the design works of Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace and Maison Martin Margiela to name a few.


Hancock Gallery is delighted to bring to you a collection of new and original oil paintings by SJ Fuerst. Visit the gallery to view the exhibition 'Not a life saving device' or explore the exhibition online here.