For the past week models, designers, bloggers and journalists from across the globe have descended on the capital for London Fashion Week 2013. As the pop–up shops pack down, front row A–listers slink away and after parties end, this is a timely moment to consider the closely–aligned relationship between art and fashion.

Daria Martin, 'Birds' 2001
Daria Martin
Birds 2001
Single screen projection, 16mm colour film, audio track
7min, 30sec
Purchased 2007© Daria Martin

At once both commercial industries and disciplines, throughout history they have informed each other and continue to cross–over, overlap and intermingle today. Examples range from the Piet Mondrian paintings that inspired Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian Collection of now iconic cocktail dresses in 1965, to the admiration of Jackson Pollock, British art and watercolour which have marked British–Canadian fashion designer Erdem’s rise to fashion fame.

This London Fashion Week the Pop Art of Roy Lichtenstein has too been immortalised in cloth and nodded to in make–up coinciding with this week’s opening of Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at Tate Modern. One designer said of his collection: ‘they’re like Pop Art, it’s a very American influence, they’re a bit comic book too’, and the show was described by critic Cathy Horyn as ‘a kapow to minimalists’.

Another designer did away with models completely and brought together thousands of dominoes and moving platforms to present their collection in what Lynn Yaeger of Vogue magazine called ‘fashion presentation as kinetic art’. In October 2012 actress Tilda Swinton cut across the worlds of art and fashion in an alternative presentation of fashion and costume history in The Impossible Wardobe. A catwalk performance devised by fashion curator Olivier Saillard at the Palais de Tokyo, Salliard remarked ‘we decided to captivate their [the clothes’s] story through emotions - and Tilda was simply perfect.’

Can we then ask, how have art and artistic practises influenced the way fashion is presented and what will happen in the future? Has art inspired a focus on emotion in the presentation of fashion? Does art have an influence on what appears to be the performativity of fashion? Let us know what you think.


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Too right I despise such an assault on language and thought and reality. This kind of inability to think and speak in concrete visual terms undermines any pretence by who use it to 'artistic' status of any kind, let alone a place among the High Priesthood. As for whether art can be used to tart up fashion, and see it through another season of corpse-parades, I don't care. It doesn't matter to art. Fashion can look to its devotees and consumerism for its support. Naturally it will leech off genuine creativity, but there is no need to keep it as a pet.

" Does art have an influence on what appears to be the performativity of fashion?" This is exactly the question I asked for my dissertation degree earning me a 1st at Central St Martins. Shame the above comment has such contempt for a very real and to me, visceral link between two artistic disciplines. The parallel is is an important reflection of the cultural Zeitgeist and thus should be recognised. Is the fashion show an an interactive art piece? Hussein Chalayan, Viktor & Rolf & Alexander McQueen may have proved the answer to be 'yes'. Great and worthy debate!

" Does art have an influence on what appears to be the performativity of fashion?" I don't have the faintest idea. And neither does anyone else. Who concocts this appalling, elitist patois?