The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection
Last one hundred years have produced many prominent designers. Without their marks on the fashion world, collections would have been undoubtedly duller. I went to see the show and was devastated, feeling that no matter what I design or how I stylish myself and others, I would just be following gingerly their steps.
Seeking the same altered sense of consciousness, please visit:
100 34th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94121
Rosekrans Court, Special Exhibition Galleries 20B-F
In the previous two posts I note artists who drew inspiration from historical fashions and who were galvanized by traditional clothing from world cultures. In the last of the serious, I am going to show you some most wonderful examples of artists taking nourishment from other artists and art movements.
-Elsa Schiaparelli made dresses as surreal as dresses can be. Her iconic necklace is wonderfully surrealist and aesthetically powerful. This unreal idea of insects crawling on your skin is as breathtaking as two Frida’s sitting ominously next to each other. Like other surrealist works, the dress is illogical, unnerving (to some), strange, and dreamy and fascinating.
Also in her butterfly dress and parasol, she refused to use pastel, romanticized butterflies. Instead, the butterflies on the dress look like real insects. You hold romantic ideas to the dress, but upon closer observation, the dress reveals to be darker than that. The link between the dress and Man Ray’s butterfly photo doesn’t seem deniable. Both are real to the extent of seeming unlikelihood.
-It may also be no mere accident that Charles James’ most known dress is in the shape of a clover. Somehow he managed to translate the quite, inconspicuous motif into something very womanly, very lively and very grand.
- And Sally Victor’s leaf motif reminds a viewer keenly of Henry Matisse’s leaf cutouts.
To see artists learning from others and build themselves upon each other really boosts me as a fashion stylist. Says who that artists are arrogant, pathetic beings who confine themselves in the studio and think they are reinventing the world. These great designers from the late 19th and early 20th century, by carrying on the tradition of the past and adding new elements and thoughts into it, have successfully perpetuate the styles before them and set an almost insurmountable task for us arriving into this world after them.