The worlds of art and fashion have always intersected. The most intricate couture pieces, painstakingly assembled, each detail carefully made by hand, are undeniably fine art. Think of Alexander McQueen’s feathers, roses, antlers, and most obviously, his SS99 show in which supermodel Shalom Harlow’s dress was spray painted. McQueen’s work was celebrated in 2015’s Savage Beauty, a huge retrospective of his designs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where in an exhibition context, they felt even more art-like.
Indeed, the V&A has hosted a number of fashion exhibitions in that space: in the same year, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, in 2014 we saw Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 and The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, while 2013 hosted Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s. This year, the couture dresses of royals past are on show at Chatsworth House, and we’re giddy with anticipation for Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, opening at the V&A in May. Fashion feels at home in art spaces, and is in turn inspired by art.
Mondrian’s colourful squares and graphic lines were influential in the 1960s (YSL even designed a knitted dress with his recognisable style), and in 2012 Louis Vuitton collaborated with Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama. Over the past few seasons there’s been a rise in painterly strokes, too – vivid landscapes and Jackson Pollock-style paint-splattered jackets were seen at Gucci AW16, while watercolours evocative of Monet were shown at Prada AW17.