Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is the art world still in fashion?

"Is the art world still fashion?". Vanessa Friedman. Financial Times. 03.15.08.
excerpted text:

"Now, on the surface, this might not strike a layperson as strange. Aren't artists all about their art? And aren't fashion people supposed to look good? Well, yes, but when Ms Lambert started her list back in 1940 there had been a conscious decision to exclude fashion people due to the fact that they have a clear advantage over others thanks to their levels of access and experience. This is doubly true when it comes to models, who not only have access and experience but youth and the genetic lottery on their side, and whose professional success is predicated on their ability to wear anything and make it look fabulous. Yet suddenly an exception had been made, and the top three best-dressed women (Agyness Deyn, Kate Moss, and Natalia Vodianova) were - yes - models, and they squished those painters and photographers and performance artists right out of the picture.

Surprising, really, when you consider that, ever since the millennium, fashion has been enjoying a love affair with the art world not seen since Elsa Schiaparelli got up close and personal with the surrealists. At Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs has made a quasi-fetish out of collaborating with artists such as Takashi Murakami, Stephen Sprouse and Richard Prince; fashion brands vie to underwrite the big art parties of the year, such as the Serpentine's Summer gala; and artists such as Sam Taylor-Wood and Tracey Emin are routinely photographed in the latest Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney (who made Tatler's BDL), and Vivienne Westwood. Art events such as Frieze and the Venice Biennale have turned into the fifth stops on the annual ready-to-wear calendar and, this season, the romance has extended to the clothes, with Dolce & Gabbana offering floral hand-painted confections (pictured), ChloƩ splashing Rothko-like swathes of paint on to chiffon, and Prada going all art nouveau and swirly."

"As for the art world, forensic evidence indicates it is still in fashion. Dries van Noten showed a collection for next season replete with spin, splash, and pointillist prints, while a mere three days after the Paris shows drew to a close in London, Tod's sponsored the Whitechapel gallery's annual Art Plus Film fundraiser, complete with invitation by designer Henry Holland, customised Tod's D-Bag by artist Jim Lambie (who is represented by Sadie Coles, who is herself often in magazines such as Vogue and Tatler), and a much-publicised star appearance by ... Agyness Deyn. Who wore plaid, if anyone wants to know."

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