Sunday, 26 July 2015

Can fashion be art?

 Varying slightly from my outfit-oriented posts, I wanted to share some photos from my excursion to the Tate Modern with the CNC crowd - we went on Thursday, specifically to see the Sonia Delauney exhibition but of course we explored the main gallery spaces too. I have to admit that a lot of modern art goes over my head, that I don't completely understand it, but above are some of my favourite pieces (and a totally unposed shot of me in contemplation..). My absolute favourite was the Warhol 'Marilyn' piece - two of my favourite cultural icons combined! Unfortunately we weren't allowed to photograph the Delauney exhibition, but it has got me thinking... Can fashion be art?

Specifically this week we have spent time on the influence art has on fashion, and that has led me to the definitive belief that fashion cannot be understood without art. I won't go into any detail since I am currently working on the effect of art on fashion as part of the course, but we debated whether fashion could be art and it really has me divided. Having seen the Savage Beauty exhibition there can be no doubt that some designers are artists working with clothes as their medium, but I don't think it follows that all fashion is art - nobody could argue that a Ralph Lauren polo shirt is art. Many designers, such as Lagerfeld, will say that they merely make clothes and draw reference from art but do not create art. Personally I do not agree. A great designer's clothing and collection is his masterpiece, and his catwalk show his gallery. I even believe that the streets can be galleries, with street style increasingly important.

This leads me to think that art may be found in different aspects of fashion. In the more basic, wearable clothes that in themselves do not make a statement, often it is the craftsmanship and construction; sometimes the runway shows become almost an art installation (as many of McQueen's were); sometimes it is the consumer who may hang a piece on the wall as art, or put outfits together with such creative flair that it moves beyond merely dressing; sometimes the clothing is simply art. I don't see how anyone could look at some of the couture collections and deny fashion as an art form - it is creative, thought provoking, innovative, and often shapes other areas of design and creation.

Tara India xo

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