Be it traditional artefacts or the technical designs, elements of art have always been designers’ best friend to reflect their creativity. Wearable art converges art into designs showcased to lure the viewers and has been a part of avant-garde couture since generations. Today, new designers are exploring wearable art as functional part of fashion, based on its formative traits.
From the eye of an aesthetic viewer to that of a fashion technician, art combined with fashion is being appreciated by veterans globally. Fashion is no more restricted to just a designer piece of garment, teemed with accessories. A compositive approach to converge traditional artefacts with modern presentations is being adopted by runways across the globe.
Art and fashion design have shared an intimate relationship since always, and artefacts have been an inspiration for designers. One such prominent designer is Alexander McQueen, proficient in bringing Victorian gothic arts to runway, with his avant-garde creations.
Fabric origami is a hot ticket for many new design inspirations at the moment. With sewing techniques like quilting, multiple layers of fabric can be stitched together to form marni, a thick pad-like material which was seen in pre-Fall runway collections by Alexandra Verschueren. Her designs take inspiration from paper crafts. She even owns the credit for an incredible paper dress collection stitched with intricacies of folded cut-outs.
Wearable origami uses multiple folds of papery fabrics with high cellulose content, made by double layering of the material back on itself with hand-placed intricate embroideries. Such fabrics are proving their functional capabilities in upholstery where fabric with wide dimensions is spread across confined area. Different types of pleats are being used for this form of functional origami, some of which are Organ pleats, Accordion pleats, Cartridge pleats, Box pleats, Flute pleats, Honeycomb pleats, Fortuny pleats.
Starting her career as a West-based designer and textile artist, Jan Knibbs features her collections as a range of art forms that can be worn by people. She exclaims all of her work to be ‘distinctive signature style of rich hand-worked embroidery, inspired by nature and the changing seasons, incorporating delicate floral designs in appliqué, ribbon embroidery and beadwork, especially Swarovski crystals’.
For her unique creations that can be seen in magazines like Western Daily Press, and the Brides journal, Jan Knibbs was awarded with the Swarovski Award back in 2008. Currently she’s associated with Society of Designer Craftsmen, Mall Galleries, London.
When asked about her current work, the designer says, “I recently took part in London Fashion Week; I sometimes attend craft fairs and have even done bridal fairs.” Expressing her sentiments about a treading but progressive adoption of wearable art, she adds, “I suppose the category that fits my work best is ‘wearable art’ but I really struggle to know exactly where it fits and I’m not even sure whether I belong in the fashion world, the craft scene or the sphere of contemporary art but rather like the fact that I can cross so many boundaries.”
Tory Burch, an American designer based in New York City, who has been working on monumental art from Francesca DiMattio, recently showcased her formations in the Fall 2020 collections. Burch gives the credit for her inspiration to works of artists. The designer created her garments from reminiscent artefacts and sculptures observed in Turkish Tileworks, Ming Dynasty art and Delftware. Each design is a masterpiece in itself, from delicate fabrications made as if a mosaic from different pieces of art. Each asymmetrically patterned piece in her collection presented an influence from DiMattio’s works. Clothing is rich with vibrant hues delicately panelled to one side with solid shades, and gathered together at the waist.
Who doesn’t admire the beautiful patterns of hallucinating fabrication of body art? The Living Art Show was lauded for its fabulous creations using body paint on real time models in London Fashion Week. Moreover, the Belfast Alternative Fashion week has been gaining popularity for its unique concept that ditches focus on garments and fabrics, and takes the spotlight onto the body art on the ramp. The runway has been taking place every year since 2016 in Belfast where models and artists from all over the world collect and showcase their creative strokes with special effects, along with fashion accessories.
“We decided that showing body painting and tattoos in the same event would show people how body art is a widely used method of creative expression, whether you prefer a permanent or temporary display of your creativity,” says featuring artist Victoria Gugenheim.
Ben Gould and Dawn Mostow is a designer couple who have been working on wearable art-based designs using laser-cut latex for more than a decade now. The designers pioneer in precise designs, slicing every artwork onto the graphics they present. The picture below depicts a design by Ben Gould and Dawn Mostow, labelled as ‘Gemini: The Twins’ which uses Notan, a traditional technique of using black and white abstract sections to emphasise on intricate details within the fabrication.
What particularly enthrals the viewer’s senses is the mirror imaging on two different garments, and each being unique in itself. The designers intended to compel the audience towards the stark contrast in a uniform manner, right from the precise silhouette, to the artistic space created between the two figures. The design certainly hypnotises the eyes of a viewer with its intricacies.