Whether or not fashion should be considered an art form is a question that will never be answered, but the cross-over between the two worlds is one that is fruitful for all involved.
High-brow hook-ups on fashion’s radar include the forthcoming collaboration between Louis Vuitton’s menswear designer Kim Jones and modern artists Jake and Dinos Chapman.
Swedish brand Acne presented a collection inspired by the archive of the Musée Galliera in Paris for its autumn/winter collection. Artist Katerina Jebb created artworks by scanning historical garments from the museum’s archive and using them to construct photo montages.
As well as using literal representations of great works of art to add surface decoration and a contextual anchor to collections, brands are increasingly working to create a fuller profile that will inspire customers.
The annual Serpentine summer party, in which the temporary Pavilion installation is revealed – this year by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto – was co-hosted by designer L’Wren Scott, who days earlier had been in New York to discuss the influence of Gustav Klimt on her autumn/winter collection.
Soon the Pavilion will be used for a programme of Park Nights, with performances, film screenings and talks. Supported by Cos, it is the latest in a long line of artistic collaborations for the H&M brand, which has also sponsored the Frame section of the Frieze Art Fair, supporting galleries under six years old.
The head of womenswear design for Cos, Karin Gustafsson, said: “As a brand inspired by the arts, The Serpentine particularly appealed to us as not only is it an establishment at the forefront of creativity, but it is also a charitable trust with a strong background in arts education.”
Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist, director and co-director of the gallery, agreed: “We love Cos’s style and the things that they like.” To mark the project, the brand has created limited-edition shirts for men and women.
Italian fashion entrepreneur Federico Marchetti recently branched out into the world of art, not only through projects like the one with Magnum Photos on his website Yoox, but also by sponsoring a showcase for the home-grown Venetian talent that often gets overlooked during the Biennale.
Sneaker brand Converse, meanwhile, is holding its fourth annual Emerging Artists Award in conjunction with the Whitechapel Gallery and Dazed & Confused. The winner receives £5,000, while short-listed artists each receive £1,000. The award aims “to support burgeoning talent at the moment that it needs it most”.