Fashion: Fashionable for fifteen minutes

New York's fashion scene has never ignored Andy Warhol for long. A new exhibition, `The Warhol Look', shows the comeback collection of ex-Factory protege Stephen Sprouse alongside the high kitsch of Dolce e Gabbana. Tamsin Blanchard reports.

Photographs by Chris Moore.

The fashion world has gone pop art crazy. Not that fashion, by definition, can be anything other than "pop", but next spring, two designers and a major new exhibition in New York will be responsible for spearheading a new craze: pop art reproduced on clothes. You can wear it or you can frame it. Take your pick.

The designers in question are Stephen Sprouse, a Warhol protege who in the Eighties was responsible for dressing downtown New York, and Dolce e Gabbana, the Italian duo who have transformed their younger D&G label with the help of a young Italian pop artist. The exhibition, called "The Warhol Look", is now showing at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Stephen Sprouse's comeback collection, shown in a Soho warehouse in New York at the beginning of the month, could not have been better timed. While Sprouse's camouflage-print Superhero cape and trousers from the days at the Factory are on display at the exhibition alongside fashion by Halston, Versace and Vivienne Tam, his own collection featured brightly coloured screen-prints of Warhol robots, the Empire State Building (printed and sequinned on a long, slinky evening dress) and ticket stubs. There were no Marilyn prints - that would have been too obvious - and besides, Versace used the image for his collection for autumn/ winter 91/92. Iggy Pop, Tama Janowitz and I Shot Andy Warhol star Lili Taylor declared the collection a hit. Iggy Pop already has a wardrobe full of Sprouse and this collection, using images with permission from the Warhol Foundation, was declared a hit.

Sprouse had not shown on the catwalk for five years and this time he is there to stay. The collection will be manufactured by Staff International, the Italian company that produces collections for Vivienne Westwood. The high street copycat versions will follow soon after.

Of course, it is not the first time the paths of Andy Warhol and fashion have crossed. "The Warhol Look" exhibition examines the way the artist was driven by an obsession with glamour, fashion and Hollywood.

As well as showing some of Warhol's own clothes, including one of his wigs bizarrely framed and hung on a wall, the exhibition charts the artist's friendships with the in-crowd of the Seventies: Halston, Calvin Klein, and jewellery designers Tina Chow and Elsa Perretti. His magazine, Interview, served to fuse the two worlds even further. In turn, Warhol's work has never stopped being an inspiration to the fashion world: look no further than Calvin Klein's Steve Meisel advertising campaign for cK One. He uses Richard Avedon's larger-than-life portrait of the Factory members, including Joe d'Alessandro and Candy Darling staring listlessly at the camera lens. Meisel transformed it into an advert using a mixture or models and "real" people, but keeping the raw attitude of the original.

Stephen Sprouse is still living in a Warhol world. His East Village New York apartment is painted silver and he skulks around New York's underground, a reclusive, elusive figure. He is still obsessed with the idea of Velcro fastenings - his clothes rarely use zips or buttons, apparently because he broke his arm in the middle of the last decade and wanted clothes he could do up and undo with one arm. After five years away from the catwalk, and several shaky comebacks, Sprouse has revived his own name with the help of his mentor, Warhol.

If it seems as though Sprouse is living in the past, he perhaps is. But there is certainly a market for his bright and funky screen-printed clothes, if only as collector's items. In Milan, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce have found a brand new pop artist to collaborate with. For their younger D&G line, they have worked with a young 24-year-old artist, Andrea Martini, who is in his final year at the Accademia delle belle Arti in Milan. Martini and the designers share a love of religious imagery and high kitsch. The result is a collection of clothing that reproduces Martini's brash 3-D sculptures of sacred hearts, burning stars and thorny roses in hand-embroidered sequins on to plain shift dresses and simple T-shirts. Of course, if you want to get ahead of the trends, you could always try taking a photograph of your favourite Campbell's soup flavour down to your local print shop and have it copied on to a T-shirt. Now that would be worth hanging on your wall.

`The Warhol Look: Glamour , Fashion and Style' is showing at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York until 18 January, 1998 (001 212 570 3600).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

    £13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

    £16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence