Cross-disciplinary collaborations have become the new normal in fashion. Artists add their visual language to garments, usually on request of fashion designers, creating a dynamic in which fashion appropriates art.
The British Fashion Council’s Fashion Arts Foundation is changing that tried-and-trusted modus operandi by partnering with the Royal Academy Schools. They’ve paired fashion designers with artists to produce artworks that sit within Christie’s' Post-War & Contemporary Art department, and which will be auctioned online.
‘We’re writing history – actually commissioning new contemporary art by emerging artists,’ said Paola Saracino Fendi, head of the department's online auctions, at the display’s opening at Christie’s' King Street Gallery.
Menswear designers Agi & Sam worked with the sculptor Joe Frazer on an installation made of metal bleechers on and around which flags and sportswear were draped. ‘The whole process was about getting to know each other,’ says Sam about their first direct collaboration with an artist. ‘We wanted to make a social commentary that is not too obvious. It’s about the idea of how society is broken up into different worlds. This one is about how in sports there is still a real sense of community.’
Alex Mullins teamed up with Amy Petra Woodward, creating a wild but contained installation of jasmine trees juxtaposed with photographs that connect the natural source material with almost personal references. ‘We wanted to create a flow, between something peaceful and harmonious that is simultaneously quite messy.’ Meanwhile, footwear designer Diego Vanassibara and Victoria Adam’s piece was a sculpture of an oversized seashell, accompanied by its shadow.
For the temporary café Milk, menswear designer Kit Neale worked with sculptor Jonathan Trayte on a multi-piece collection of art-as-design that functions as furniture. ‘They did a good job of pairing us,’ comments Trayte on their mutual love of colour. Neale’s potential idea of opening a shop in London was combined with Trayte trying out a more utilitarian approach to sculpture. ‘The social aspect of congregating became important, apart from each sculpture maintaining their character,’ he says. For Neale, it was an exercise in freedom. I’m in awe of the art world’, he says. ‘It is the ultimate creativity.'