can fashion be considered Art?

April 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

Is a designer an artist, or just a mere seamstress? Pierre Berge questioned the same topic in a little coffee table book that I own about Yves Saint Laurent. Pierre said,

“Is fashion an Art? The question has often been asked over the last few years, and not about fashion alone. Like cinema, painting, music, literature, and poetry, fashion is an art when practiced by an artist. In the same way that there are “Sunday Painters”, there are “Sunday Couturiers”, and we should not be surprised that there are so many of them. In a century that has seen the advent of so many different forms of expression, we can surely refer to fashion as Art.” (Pierre Berge, Assouline)

My feeling about art is that art is an ever changing world with many different avenues of expression, and one of these avenues is fashion. I believe that like how some people collect cars or pieces of work by Picasso or Monet because they respect the fine craftsmanship of that artists work, some people collect pieces of work by Chanel or John Galliano or any other designer because they respect the craftsmanship of that artists work. Fashion is the same as any other Art.

I am personally a collector of fashion, mostly Christian Louboutin shoes, and although I am an amateur in this field of collecting, I do it because I truly respect, and in some ways worship, the work that these artisans have created. For me, walking into Barneys New York is like walking into the Louvre museum for the first time. I have been to the Louvre and while I find it amazing and breath taking, I get that same reaction every time I visit Barneys or any other store I respect. Stores are the same as museums in a lot of ways. They both display works of art by different artists and they are both always changing what is on display, only at stores you can buy the real works of art where at a museum you are stuck with the badly printed replica.

So if a vintage car or some sculpture of a empty box that is supposed to represent how messed up society is can be considered works of art, then I see no reason why a beautiful, elegant pair of shoes by Christian Louboutin or a sleek and sexy Balenciaga bag or anything else in fashion couldn’t be considered art as well.

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§ 2 Responses to can fashion be considered Art?

  • Aaron says:

    Regardless of graduating with a degree from UCLA Design, here are my two cents:

    Art is personalization over craftsmanship. Art is form usurping function. Art is hand-crafted over factory line. Art is opinion over objectification. Art is not necessarily designed.

    Design, where fashion is more commonly considered in one of its many facets, is the inverse. Design is, only in part, art.

    I think some fashion designers think of themselves as artists, employing techniques such as shoes made from canvas bags. They’re often hiring artists to make one-of-a-kind window displays, such as a woman painting outside CHANEL in New York a few years ago. They’re putting their work in frames and shelves like you would see in a museum, but unlike a painting, they’re sold en masse / limited quantities and sizes.

    That said, I’m a fan of couture design and design companies with artistic edge. Take Freitag for example. They made a line of bags where the canvas was literally from cargo trucks. Each bag is original. The cost of manufacturing one-offs is higher, but that’s how the company wants to roll. I dig it.

    I’ll leave this with one thought: it’s nice that quality fashion employs artistic qualities and smart designers to craft visual and functional experiences that look, on the shelf or on the self, like art. When it’s all together, be it the shoes in their box or the shoes in the ensemble, it’s then up to our tastes to decide whether or not that was artsy or fartsy. ;-)

    • simplykate14 says:

      right…..thats pretty much what I am saying but in less words. When I say “fashion” I mean more “haute couture” which is more about the design rather the actual typical purpose of clothing. Its to wow people and more for shock factor. If you see the designs I have posted you can see that they are not regular dresses or more ready to wear clothing. While the term “fashion” is typically a umbrella to all forms of clothing design, not just couture and not just ready to wear clothing, I tend to focus a little more on the designers who, like Pierre said, are artists and thus create more art than just clothing.

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