These days, shopping can be a bit of an art history lesson. In an era where designer collaborations are a pretty standard occurance, the fashion industry is now looking towards the Guggenheim, MoMA, and Art Basel for new collab oportunities.
Leading the pack is Jason Wu, who plans to regularly partner with artists like Hunt Slonem for his new line GREY Jason Wu. He's not alone: there are several other visual artists who are adored by the fashion set. This trend is good news for fashion fans and art fans. After all, owning a T-shirt by a fine artist has to be the most affordable way to be a collector. An H&M tee by Alex Katz? $30. A painting by Alex Katz? $550,000. Here's some inspiration for sprucing up your wardrobe—and art collection.
Jason Wu launched his brand’s new sister line GREY Jason Wu with prints from famed New York-based artist Hunt Slonem, translating Slonem's favorite brushstroke bunny motif into dresses and a sold-out bunny sweater. For Pre-Spring 2017, Jason incorporated the work of Lara Hodulick, a Brooklyn-based artist who created Matisse-inspired, hand-painted silk blouses. The collection includes moto jackets printed with Hodulick’s spare line drawings.
Stella McCartney is one fashion designer who seems to have a sense of humor. Exhibit A? Her Pre-Fall 2017 collection includes prints emblazoned with characters pulled right from The Dandy, a classic English comic strip. The Dandy ran for 75 years, and soon you’ll be able to buy shirts, jackets, jeans, and dresses printed with Korky the Cat.
89-year-old American artist Alex Katz lent his most famous works to H&M for a collection in December, turning Katz’s enigmatic portraits into tote bags, pillows, swimsuits, and hoodies. “It is exciting for me to work with H&M to make my art more accessible to more people,” Katz told Vogue. A lot more accessible, since prices for the collection start at $20 for a bandana. This is the most recent artist collab for H&M: the fast fashion brand turned out a $50 Jeff Koons balloon dog handbag in 2014.
Instead of suing a graffiti artist who goes by the name of GucciGhost, Gucci embraced him. Artist Trevor Andrew collaborated with Gucci on the Fall 2016 line, churning out jackets and purses with his own hand-drawn Gucci logo. He even took things one step further and covered Gucci’s Fifth Avenue store with graffiti in September — all condoned by Gucci, of course.
Remember those white Louis Vuitton bags with the colorful monogram? AKA the It Bag of the aughts, carried by Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie alike? That was the work of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, who collaborated with Louis Vuitton for a whopping 13 years. The groundbreaking Murakami-Louis Vuitton relationship ended in 2015, but Murakami remains a favorite of the fashion world. He turned his skulls and smiley face patterns into a sneakers capsule for Vans in 2015. Then in the fall of 2016, beauty brand Shu Uemura came out with a Shu Murakami collection, plastering Murakami’s happy flowers on everything from cleansing oil to the cutest eyelash curler in existence.
Who would’ve guessed that Coach’s fashion rebirth would begin with artist Gary Baseman’s creepy creatures? Baseman’s been working with Coach’s new creative director Stuart Vevers since Spring 2015, and the pastel bags that came out of that collection are selling for a pretty penny on the resale market. The brand’s Spring Men’s 2017 show features Baseman too, who came up with crazy cartoon bombers and leather jackets.
H&M’s sister brand COS got really inspired by the opening of the Guggenheim Museum’s Agnes Martin retrospective in October. COS’s clothes are always very #Scandi-minimalist, but for the limited-edition COS x Agnes Martin collection, the brand created 12 pieces that reference Martin’s work. The line uses natural fabrics like linen and canvas, and replicates the painter’s serene color palette with a focus on grids and stripes. Maybe Martin would’ve worn something similar during her lifetime: COS’s designers looked to Martin’s own wardrobe for the line’s oversize silhouettes.
Art collaborations are nothing new for Uniqlo — the Japanese fast fashion brand’s been collaborating for years with MoMA to put Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock works on bandanas and T-shirts. But on January 20th, Uniqlo is opening “Art for All” shops in UNIQLO’s SoHo and 34th Street stores, featuring accessible art chosen by renowned curator Jeffrey Deitch. Everything is under $100, and Deitch is bringing in art objects like cartoon-adorned shoelaces by Ken Kagami. Hopefully, those shoelaces are well under $100.
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