After a hectic month of S/S 20 collections, the shows are finally over. Looking back over the latest that the four major cities have had to offer, a pattern has emerged in designers recognising - and using - the importance of artist collaborations. The boundaries between the realms of fashion and art are forever being blurred, fashion borrowing from art and vice versa.
The house of Alexander McQueen has always explored new and innovative ways to create, its namesake known for never designing within the lines. For S/S 20 Sarah Burton’s collection featured the work of Central Saint Martins MA students and sewing initiative Stitch-School, and was modelled by Stella Tennant. The experiential third floor of the McQueen flagship on Bond Street saw artist Julie Verhoeven conduct a life drawing class for Central Saint Martins students, using items from old McQueen collections as subjects. Burton took what the students produced, and after engineering it onto a dress, brought it to the McQueen studio. At the studio, she then collaborated with members of Stitch-School, an organisation focused on reconnecting people with embroidery as both an art form and a communal activity, having them embroider a section of the dress and initial their contribution.
Another production on the Paris schedule that saw an artist collaboration was the multidimensional Yang Li presentation at La Gaîté Lyrique. In partnership with SHOWstudio, the show saw a three-dimensional animated experience created by Icelandic video director Agusta Yr, aka @iceicebabyspice on Instagram, to accompany a live performance from Scottish musicians The Jesus and Mary Chain. The digital experience saw 3D animated projections replacing the traditional runway show format, the collection being showcased via 3D scans of models clad in the S/S 20 garments. The digital experience has been translated for online viewers and is exclusively available to watch here.
In London, design duo and twins Laura and Deanna Fanning’s S/S 20 womenswear collection for Kiko Kostadinov included a collaboration with British artist Rosie Grace Ward. In developing their collection, the twins had looked to emblems and things that curve, and upon seeing Ward's sculptures in an exhibition at the Hannah Barry Gallery in May, instantly recognised the similar themes. The collaboration is rife with circular motifs, and muses on the future: Ward’s spiral amulets combined with resin Neolithic-inspired arrow appear on necklaces, props, and in keyhole cut-outs.
Having cited Liz Magor as one of his favourite artists, JW Anderson’s S/S 20 collection was presented in a set designed by the Canadian that saw the floor of Yeomanry House strewn with transparent inflatable cubes and filled with child-like miscellany. Pet Co is the 2018 artwork by Magor that questions the role of discarded objects, and was first exhibited at the Liz Magor: Blowout show at the Carpenter Centre in Harvard, Boston.
Earlier in September, the Coach 1941 show at New York’s Highline saw a collaboration with the Richard Bernstein Foundation. Creative director Stuart Vevers was granted access to the American artist’s colourful portraits, whose vibrancy and saturation led the collection’s colour palette. Often associated with pop art and Andy Warhol, Bernstein was the cover artist for Interview Magazine for nearly 20 years, and his portraits of Barbra Streisand, Rob Lowe, and Michael J. Fox appeared on t-shirts in the collection.
In other artist-meets-designer related news, Erdem’s latest creations drew inspiration from the early 20th century Italian photographer Tina Modotti, whose work he discovered during a recent trip to Mexico City, where she died in 1942. Meanwhile in New York, artist, designer, and performer Susan Cianciolo - who recently had a solo exhibition at the South London Gallery - walked for Maryam Nassir Zadeh.