When Your Confronted with Art, It Speaks to Everybody
Art has been with us through the ages; painting, architecture and sculpture have always been the epitome of art rarely if ever making room for ‘pretenders’ to their throne. Deep in the basement of our 19th and 20th Century art museums you might find the stirring on the peripheral of the art world a scrappy underdog, one called fashion. Fashion has a subterranean feel to the traditionalists, frivolous in its expression but there is an irony as the aesthetic principles of fashion are far from trivial. Deep aesthetics, refined principles and exquisite techniques that are criteria for traditional art pieces are adhered to by the couturiers and emerging brands around the world. Clothing has finally become seen as not only forms of self-expression or red carpet looks, but works of art themselves.
We are firmly in the 21st Century, yet the acknowledgement of fashion as a manifestation of art is relatively a recent postscript in the long history of art. The late Alexander McQueen blew open the sealed hallowed doors of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 when the Costume Institute unveiled his Savage Beauty exhibit, and that year’s Met Ball. In honoring his predecessors like Yves Saint Laurent, Margiela, and Galliano, it was inevitable that a showcase of one of the world’s most boundary pushing and “bad boy” fashion designers would inspire both the emerging and current artists as well as fashion designers. The sheer numbers of visitors descending on The Met stunned those staunch traditionalists, tangibly reinforcing the paradigm that today we are open to embrace the artistic sensibilities of fashion. “Fashion is still considered more in the female domain as opposed to painting, and I think that is why people are quick to dismiss fashion as art,” stated Andrew Bolton.
Millennials have not only embraced fashion as an enthusiastic manifestation of art but there is no question as why wouldn’t fashion represent art anymore like there once was. There are more words written on twitter in the last two years than have ever been scribed in all books ever printed. Our ability to process so much, in such a staccato fashion is astonishing, we absorb so much today that we can embrace painting, architecture, sculpture and fashion without any of them being eclipsed by the popularity of one form of art over another.
The artistic expression of our modern designers can communicate their passion on multiple platforms, such modern day fashion notable art evangelists like Tom Ford, Olivier Rousteing, Riccardo Tisci, Hedi Slimane, and Anthony Vaccarello. Then you have the new and emerging designers and brands, Demma Gvasalia of Vetements, Jerry Lorenzo of Fear of God, Kanye West with Yeezy, Virgil Abloh of Off White, and John Targon and Scott Studenberg of Baja East. In creating their lines whether it’s for the runway or e-commerce, each of these designers are now viewed as artists and rightfully so. You can take Tom Ford with his work as a screen-writer and director of the amazing films A Single Man and his new thriller Nocturnal Animals, where the majority of the costumes are designed and created by Tom Ford himself. His work is art in every form. From his eponymous brand, his screen writing, directing capability, and grooming products he embodies every aspect of an artist. Then you have John Targon & Scott Studenberg, the designer’s and co-founders of Baja East, a brand that has eradicated gender lines in fashion and brought to forefront gender blurring and sexual fluidly through clothing to every generation. For Baja East’s latest show, their Spring 2017 collection which they housed in a parking garage on Bleeker street, they collaborated with Winc; the world’s first personalized wine club (a company that has also partnered with designer Jonathan Simkhai and Yes Way Rose), to create a red wine blend that their friends and consumers would drink. It’s the label on the bottle that brings art and fashion together, as it was taken from a print from their most recent collection. So not only is this dynamic duo being seen as artists, they are making their designs and lifestyle readily accessible in different forms to their audience. Artists are always building new gateways, Baja East’s blends perfectly to their demographic.
Domingo Zapata, the world renowned painter who produces Neo-Expressionist paintings as well as sculpture, has a unique and distinctive way of incorporating fashion into his works and collaborations. His art adorns the walls of the likes the Gansevoort Hotels, Provocateur, The Plaza Hotel and the Freedom Tower in New York City. The New York Post has proclaimed Zapata to be the “new Andy Warhol, with starlets begging for a sitting.” It is the way he blends fashion into is works that brings him to a league of his own. His collaboration with Alice and Olivia and the CFDA, A + O X DOMINGO ZAPATA opened the doors to more collaborations for him, furthering the fusion between his art and fashion and only with more to come.
Which brings me to this post and why Domingo Zapata and I are collaborating with one another. When you have the pleasure of meeting someone whose artistic vision you have valued for years (after seeing one of his bullfighter paintings hanging above the bar at Cipriani Downtown back in 2013) and as a person their visions and goals are exactly what you imagined, you never know how far or deep an opportunity can go. I am excited to share that Domingo and I are going to be working on some exciting projects that fuse fashion and art together and we look forward to sharing these concepts with you all in the near future.
Please check out my men’s lifestyle blog featuring travel, fashion, and design at www.MrBGB.com and www.dzapata.com for future collaborations, as well as @MrBGB & @DomingoZapataOfficial on social media for behind the scenes and sneak peeks of what is to come.
“Sometimes you have to leave room for mistakes and keep the possibility open for something magical to happen.” ~ D. Zapata