Art and Fashion - An artistic stroke to fashion

Anushya Mamtora | Updated on August 03, 2011

fendi bag   -  BUSINESS LINE

Anjolie Ela Menon pendant for ORRA   -  BUSINESS LINE

S.H raza scarf for Satya Paul   -  BUSINESS LINE

It was not long ago that Chennai Silks set the Guinness World record for the most expensive saree. Apart from the gold, diamonds and precious stones that adorned the six yards of finest silk, it was the awe-inspiring hand woven adaptations of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings that took everybody’s breath away. While the pallu had been woven with the famous ‘Lady Musicians’ painting, the border was embellished with ten other masterpieces of the painter. Curious shoppers to art connoisseurs flocked to feast their eyes and the saree was priced at a whopping Rs 40 lakh.

In a land far far away from the haven of silk down south, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami transforms the trademark Louis Vuitton monogram bag with multi-coloured logos and made it the brand’s bestseller.

This nexus between artists and fashion seems to be one for keeps. How else can one explain the increasing association between top brands and phenomenal painters! In fact, the association of a famous artist with a piece of fabric or jewel immediately ups its artistic value. And why not, for those who are looking to wear the art either inspired or created by their favourite artists, this amalgamation completely works.

Inspiration – factor

For many designers and labels, the artist becomes the muse. A little bit of their personal life, their professional years, contemporaries, style, masterpieces…they all merge to come out in the form of a piece of jewel, a whole fashion line or even just a bag!

Christian Dior Couture Spring 2009 drew inspiration from Flemish painters Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling and Hugo van der Goes and the influence was seen in the form of colour contrast and palette, textures and lines of the ensembles.

Luxury watchmaker Jaeger LeCoultre’s Atmos Marqueterie clock is an automatically opening cabinet decorated as a tribute to Austrian painter Gustav Klimt with precious wood and gold leaf inlays while the Rolex Cellini collection pays homage to Benvenuto Cellini, a world renowned sculptor and artist.

The legendary artist Amrita Shergill recently surfaced in the fashion scene in the form of chic ensembles. Prominent Pakistani fashion designer Deepak Perwani took elements from Shergill’s era and her contemporaries and blended them to produce digital prints that were sashayed down the ramp in the form of bold and easy clothing. And he named the collection after her too.

Personal touch

There are increasing instances of artists creatively challenging themselves to step out of their spheres and lend a unique touch to fashion. Renowned artist S.H. Raza is one such charismatic personality who has recently associated himself with jewellery brand ORRA and fashion label Satya Paul. While ORRA launched ten beautifully crafted pendants that depicted a Raza painting in fine meenakari work, it took a leaf off his trademark ‘bindu’ that is the focus in all of his paintings. Adding a personal touch was Raza’s signature on the back of the pendant, a certificate signed by the artist himself and an artistically designed book that talks of his philosophy and the story behind each pendant. While these pendants are exclusive and are priced between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 11 lakh each, Satya Paul made Raza’s fans get a piece of his art for lesser in his limited edition ‘Satya Paul Raza scarves’.

Anjolie Ela Menon is another well acclaimed artist who created a miniature painting inspired by the Renaissance era that metamorphosed into a precious and stunning pendant for ORRA. In 2007, Fendi’s idea of roping in top contemporary artists to paint their mind on a ‘blank slate’ canvas baguette created by Silvia Fendi got a thumbs up from fashionistas. Recently, sculptor Anish Kapoor grabbed the limelight for the BZero1 limited edition finger rings he designed exclusively for Bvlgari.

These are but a few popular instances. The more one delves into the world of fashion, the more one sees the invisible hand and creative imagination of an artist.

Creative nexus

The good news is that international labels are warming up to Indian artists adding an arty touch to their products, and sometimes, the Indian touch too. Indian brands too look at collaborating with artists for a limited edition collection and are receiving an overwhelming response. “Indian art is gaining a strong foothold across the globe and working with such renowned artists was a dream come true. We have been working intensively for over three years on the Raza collection. The idea behind getting these artists was to offer the high end buyer something new and different. With this collaboration, it is established that art need not just adorn your walls.” explains Vijay Jain, CEO of ORRA who collaborated with prominent artists for exclusive collections.

On the other hand, luxury labels are making a beeline for Chinese contemporary artists. From Swatch to Salvatore Ferragamo, the urge to team up with out-of-the-box thinkers and come up with bestsellers is the ‘it’ thing in the fashion circles.

And when you unwrap Fendi’s ‘Artist Baguette’ bag in a stark white coated canvas which comes with ten colour markers to paint your imagination wild, the nexus just steps over to a whole new level.

Published on January 27, 2011

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