As New York Fashion Week kicks off, it seems fitting to look at some of the ways in which the art world and fashion world have collided in recent months. Naturally, they’re never far apart as the design of clothing falls alongside the process of making ‘traditional art’, but we aren’t here to debate the ins and outs of who is and isn’t an artist. So let’s get to it!
Putting their best foot forward
First, and possibly most fun, is that Vanity Fair’s 2019 ‘Best-Dressed List,’ which was released yesterday, included a few of the art world’s most prominent figures. The list includes the likes of fashion industry standards like Marc Jacobs, actors ranging from Diane Keaton’s timeless look to Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ popular styles, singers like Harry Styles, and Billy Porter whose occupation is simply listed as ‘I’m a Renaissance b*tch!’ This year’s list gives honourable mentions to Meghan Markle, one of the newest royals, but we’re here for the art (people)!
This year, sought-after artist Kehinde Wiley, founder of Salon 94 Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, and art collector and philanthropist Pamela J. Joyner received their spots on the list. For Wiley, he’s happiest in the ‘chalk-line-print custom suit’ he wore when he unveiled his stunning portrait of Barack Obama while Rohatyn says she overuses her Nike Air VaporMax X Off-White sneakers. As for Joyner, she said that the trend she most dislikes is ‘casual that devolves to sloppy,’ so artists beware!
It’s possible that the art world has found more representation on this year’s list because its own Kimberly Drew was part of the selection committee. Drew, known to many on Twitter as @museummammy, is the writer and curator who founded Black Contemporary Art, a Tumblr that she began in 2011. ‘At the time I had one of the sole Tumblr art blogs that was for black art and black culture, and so people were really attracted to it,’ she recently told The New York Times. ‘It just sort of took off.’
Fashion in the museum
Taking us to the museum is Virgil Abloh’s current show at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, ‘Figures of Speech.’ Abloh’s exhibition features his ‘genre-bending’ works that span mediums and fields, including fashion. The MCA just announced that the exhibition will be extended through September 29th because of its overwhelming popularity. So far, the exhibition has made MCA charts as its third most-visited exhibition falling in line behind retrospectives of David Bowie and Takashi Murakami. With the extension, Abloh release three capsule-collection bags inspired by Caravaggio that allow visitors to ‘literally wear the exhibition.’
Just days ago, London’s Victoria & Albert announced that their exhibition highlighting one of the fashion world’s biggest names, Christian Dior, has officially broken museum attendance records. ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams,’ which only closed on September 1st, welcomed 594,994 people, breaking the previous exhibition record by more than 100,000 visitors.
The V&A’s successful fashion/art mashup follows in the steps of ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.’ When the Metropolitan Museum of Art closed the doors to their extensive exhibition that spanned the Met’s Cloisters and Fifth Avenue locations, it had garnered 1.7 million visitors to see the breathtakingly beautiful works on display. In the end, ‘Heavenly Bodies’ beat out shows featuring works from the Vatican, the Mona Lisa, and a 1978 display of Tutankhamun’s treasures to become the Mets’ most-visited show ever.