Friday, 30 August 2013


Many argue that art and fashion act in synchronicity with each other, whereas others reason that the two industries should exist in their own separate spheres and never intertwine. Recently, however, the influence of fine art in the world of fashion is becoming more and more ubiquitous - take Lady Gaga, for example, whose new album 'ARTPOP' features collaborations with artists such as Jeff Koons and Marina Abramovic alongside collaborations with fashion photographers Inez & Vinoodh. In addition, designers are increasingly beginning to cite artists as sources of inspiration for their work, none more so than Raf Simons who literally delved into the archives of Andy Warhol in order to create his latest collection for Christian Dior. 
Detailed shot of the Warhol-inspired collection

One important element of Simons' decision to use Dior is that it wasn't driven by Warhol's commercial success - as opposed to using his better-known Pop Art works, he chose to use a series of hand-drawn illustrations that came at the beginning of Warhol's career. These illustrations were then taken and screened onto silk, chiffon and detailed with lashings of tiny sequins and elaborate embroidery. Amongst the illustrations were tiny birds, multicoloured feathers, butterflies and even high-heeled shoes - shoes which were printed onto handbags as an ironic statement on the traditional "lady"'s obsession with accessories. 
Stiletto illustration, embroidered onto a silk gown
In general, the collection was a lot more feminine than many of the other collections - whereas other designers focused more on androgyny than just femininity, Simons stayed true to the house codes of Christian Dior, to the extent that he referenced the iconic 'New Look' silhouette of the 1950s. In general, the garments were a nod towards old-school glamour - the colour palette was predominantly monochrome, the main materials used were mink, silk and chiffon and there was even a series of looks which took florals and married them with art deco. What is so refreshing about this collection is that it feels researched and intelligent - the resulting aesthetic is comprised of years of art and fashion history, both of Christian Dior and of Andy Warhol. Simons also managed to reference the lesser-known work of Warhol - both an intelligent way of introducing art into his work but also raising awareness of the designer's illustrative work in general. When it comes to intelligent fashion, few can execute it quite as well as Simons. 
Nicole Pollard for Dior A/W 2013
The 'Stiletto' handbag

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