"I always saw making sculptures as so unobtainable, like you need patrons. So when the idea of making a toy came up, it was like the only way I could see my work three-dimensionally. So instead of making this monumental 10-foot thing at the time, I made a thousand 8-inch things."
Having just acquired some new KAWS Companions, we couldn't help but revisit the world of Brian Donnelly. In our previous blog post 'Welcome to the house of Fun' we look inside American entertainer Steve Aoki’s art filled Las Vegas wonderland and answer the question of Who is KAWS? Today we're going to explore collaborations between KAWS and some huge names in the fashion industry.Dior x KAWS
The Companion toys are deemed affordable, space-friendly and a gateway into the art world. They're usually related to pop culture however Brian Donnelly took the toy to another level when working with Kim Jones. The Dior summer 2019 show saw an explosion of flora in the form of the Companion. Donnelly used 60 thousand peonies and roses pushed into foam, creating a monumental figure named the BFF (F.Y.I. this is not the only huge sculpture that Donnelly has created.). Dior and KAWS collaborated further, producing a capsule wardrobe that fused streetwear aesthetic with luxury silhouettes. It was a remarkable change for the fashion house and had real impact as Kim Jones' first show.
UT x KAWS
During the summer of 2019, Brian Donnelly was not only working with luxury designer Dior but also Tomoaki Nagao (aka Nigo), the creative director of Uniqlo's UT line and friend. KAWS and Uniqlo had previously collaborated, releasing T-shirts, sweatshirts and bags under the umbrella of 'streetwear'.
“I have done so many things on very limited levels, and it is nice to change for a moment and do something accessible everywhere. And I enjoy it when I trust somebody’s visions and motives.” - KAWS
Comme Des Garçons x KAWS
In 2021, Rei Kawakubo worked with Brian Donnelly in collaboration, bringing the Japanese fashion label Comme Des Garçons and KAWS back together. The clothing collection focused on shirts with a playful and colourful approach. Kawakubo and Donnelly went on to formulate a fragrance together, which would be a first for KAWS. The design of the bottle nods to the Companion and the scent itself is said to be a combination of optimistic and musky notes.
In 2021 we saw the three way sneaker collaboration between the Japanese luxury brand sacai, Nike and KAWS. Retailing upwards of £130, the Nike Blazer Lows reflected the three designers through incorporating their most recognisable design elements.
The North Face XX KAWS
Performance outerwear and KAWS? Delving back into their archives, The North Face selected some of their designs from 1996 and reworked them with Brian Donnelly. The iconic 'XX' of KAWS features heavily across the variety of garments, along with a display of vibrant colours and patterns. The exclusive collection was released early 2023.
We have truly only scratched the surface of the collaborations between KAWS and fashion designers. Throughout his career he has kept us on the edge of our seats and no doubt will continue to surprise us all with what comes next. Lets face it, we're all a little bit obsessed with KAWS.
Available for purchase: Blush Companions (mono & flayed) and Small Lie Companion (Set of 3) (Black/Grey/Brown) at Hancock Gallery. Available with Own Art, a 0% interest finance payment plan, repaying over 10 months. Contact us to discuss.
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