17 October 2005

Fashion and art

Is fashion art?

Ok, that is a much bigger question than I deal with in these tiny snippets I publish each day. It demands a clear idea of what art is, a clear idea of what fashion is, and a very clearly delineated comparison of the two. Fashion and art have been compared endlessly in recent decades, and it is not as if the two have nothing in common. But I'm not here to write about what makes them the same. That's only too obvious as evidenced by all the people out there saying how fabulously interconnected they are.

Although there are many differences between fashion and art (and differences too between how the two fields function and evolve), I'll only mention one difference here. Interestingly, this difference may seem too obvious to merit discussion at all. Yet it provides a fundamental incongruity between fashion and art. Fashion, even in its most extreme forms, is designed with the assumption that it will be worn. It operates in tandem with human bodies.

Even the extreme designs of Rei Kawakubo (above, Dress becomes Body becomes Dress, 1997) are created in view of the body as the pre-existing template of creation. The body gives origin (if not a purpose) to fashion. As such, fashion operates within a construct quite foreign to artistic production. Fashion is inextricably attached to the body, a limitation fine art has never had. It is true that both fashion and art are to some extent dependent on a viewer, but fashion remains dependent on both a viewer and a wearer.


Jonas said...

You should write reference books about art and all things related.

Delirious said...

Mary Ann, welcome to the blogger world!

Mary Ann said...

Thank you both!