Fashion and art each require precision, imagination and an in-depth understanding of colour and shape. This is perhaps why the two crafts often collide in a professional sense. When fashion and art collaborations do occur, masterful products and designs will usually ensue. We shine a light on some of the best collaborations of the past few years and make our predictions for what projects we can expect to see in the future.
Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami
No list of fashion and art collaborations would be complete without Louis Vuitton. The luxury powerhouse’s emblem is recognisable—even to those who don’t necessarily follow fashion. While their core design has changed very little since their founding, the brand has collaborated with a number of cult artists—updating their products with a fun and current feel. One partnership that proved to be hugely successful was with Takashi Murakami, the Japanese contemporary artist. Featuring his iconic cherry blossom illustrations and new-age Manga characters and motifs, the bags of Louis Vuitton underwent a pop makeover. The designs were released in the early 2000s and the alliance continued for many years due to its unwavering success.
Dolce & Gabbana and Smeg
Narrative opportunities aren’t solely reserved for the runway; in fact, the rising interest in cooking has sparked designer brands to contribute to high quality kitchen equipment. As bizarre as it sounds, certain cooking gadgets are becoming somewhat of a fashion statement and collector’s item. A perfect example of this is the artistic collaboration between Dolce & Gabbana and Smeg. Together, they formulated a line of beautifully vibrant kitchen products—from juicers to coffee machines. All of the appliances are donned with Dolce & Gabbana’s south Italian-inspired prints, injecting them with an exotic touch.
Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama
The partnership between Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama spanned across the brand’s range of accessories from sunglasses and jewellery to beach towels. Kusama’s contemporary work is usually focused on installations and occasionally painting and performance pieces. She is best known for her repeated polka dot patterns, an element that was interweaved into the fashion brand’s chic aesthetic. A special Louis Vuitton bag was also released, sporting vivid black polka dots against a vibrant yellow background—not a design for the faint hearted. Kusama was also charged with designing a number of Louis Vuitton storefronts as part of the alliance between the two.
Calvin Klein and Andy Warhol Foundation
Calvin Klein—the luxury fashion brand largely known for their denims and underwear—recently formed a long-term partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation. As a result, some of Andy Warhol’s most revered prints and designs will be making their way onto the runway. The fashion and art collaboration allows for the designer to use works by Warhol that have never been seen by the public prior. One of the designs sees Calvin Klein’s classic cotton underwear adorned with stills from the artists’s film, Kiss (1963). Other runway items of brand’s have also been spattered with images and glimpses of Warhol—now we wait in anticipation to see what will come next.
Louis Vuitton and Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons—the American artist whose work incorporates objects from popular culture—is another of Louis Vuitton’s associates to imprint upon their brand. In a series called Masters, Koons embellished Louis Vuitton’s signature range with paintings from some of the world’s most famous Renaissance painters. Selected works by Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian and Jean-Honoré Fragonard display across the fashion collection with Koons’ initials replacing the usual monogram.
Alex Katz and H&M
In continuance with the high street retailer’s Fashion Loves Art collection, H&M launched a clothing and accessory line alongside the 89-year old artist, Alex Katz. The American artist’s style is characterised by its simplicity; her figurative portraits reveal flat surface and line work that feels almost abstract. These portraits have been transferred from the canvas onto a number of H&M’s garments and homeware pieces. Long, flowing dresses and cushions are each emblazoned with Katz’s bold prints and a splash of colour. This collaboration perfectly encapsulates the masterful way that fashion and art can so easily become intertwined.
Taking into consideration the long list of fashion and art collaborations, it can only be a matter of time before the two fields merge. We predict that artists themselves may move into the fashion sphere by creating their own lines or including new trends amongst their exhibitions.
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