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Is Fashion Art

By Elma B.

Many designers like Prada and Schiaparelli have debated whether fashion is art.  The most well known experiment that was done between a designer and an artist was the collaboration between Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli. In fact, today one can find the works, e.g. lobster dresses, skeleton dresses, shoe hats, desk suits, at Espace Dalí Montmartre, exposition Dalí à Paris. Moreover, the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition of art is “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” Don’t fashion designers use “conscious[ly]” skills and “creative imagination” to produce “aesthetic objects” like dresses and other clothing items? Also, I believe that if the clothing item cannot be conveniently worn everyday, perhaps it is art.

The counter argument that fashion is not art comes from a practical viewpoint: clothing is used to protect the body from the environment or clothing is a sold commodity made for profit by major retailers like H&M and Macy’s.  Also, since the high-end fashion designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada and Coco Chanel have said that fashion is not art, the argument that fashion is art becomes harder to make.

Below, I have included some photographs from the Dali Museum in Paris and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art where fashion and art have collided. Decide for yourself! Is fashion art?

At the Chanel spring 2013 show, Karl Lagerfeld presented the hula-hoop/beach bag
 Satin and beaded heels from Alexander McQueen, 2010.

 Art purses by Kathleen Dustin

 Elsa Schiaparelli photographed by Man Ray

 Skeleton Dress created by Dali for E. Schiaparelli

 Lobster Dress created by Salvador Dali for Else Schiaparelli

 Shoe Hat created by Dali for E. Schiaparelli

The 'Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Getty Images.

Tears Dress created by Dali for E. Schiaparelli

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