Fashion and art have long been embroiled in a passionate marriage. From Salvador Dali’s duet with Elsa Schiaparelli - creating garments such as the Skeleton dress - to Andy Warhol's mini fashion films starring original it girl Edie Sedgwick, collaborations between artists and fashionistas have a lively back-story.
Friday 13 July marked the celebration of a new partnership between fashion designer Hussein Chalayan and artist Gavin Turk for the Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Both are recognised for their conceptual ideas, with Hussein creating wearable furniture and dresses made from airplane aerodynamic materials, and Gavin creating witty pieces that reflect and push the boundaries of the ironies of today’s art world.
The two creatives held an open talk at the V&A, claiming that their new bromance and gelled collaborative relationship worked because of their similar personalities, ‘I feel confident as well as modest and that’s what we had in common', said Hussein.
The duo started their ideas process with an interview at Gavin Turk’s studio. Once Hussein transcribed the discussion he felt that there was a natural tempo to the conversation. This initial inspiration went on to become the core of their collaboration piece, ‘I was reading it and gagging for it to be a tune… I don’t necessarily see it as a song, I saw it more as a track.’ Hussein saw the words in the interview as lyrics and decided to create an audio-visual installation with Gavin. He noted, 'when I was a kid my grandmother talked to me in rhythms and they became more meaningful because of it... I think artists are a poor man’s musician.’
The piece - an electronic-cum-operatic Enya-esque track with underlying notes of Hussein and Gavin in conversation - gave an wonderful insight into the creative process of two great British talents. Other collaborations within the exhibition include: Giles Deacon and Jeremy Deller, Mary Katrantzou and Mark Titchner; Nicholas Kirkwood and Simon Periton, Peter Pilotto and Francis Upritchard, Jonathan Saunders and Jess Flood-Paddock and Stephen Jones and Cerith Wyn Evans. All of the art works can be seen at the V&A Museum for free in room 17a from the 6 -29 of July 2012.