With the end of the year approaching soon, let us take a look back at The Best Fashion and Art Collaborations of 2016. However, before we revisit this year’s shining collaborative moments between the two disciplines, we should remember the origin of these collaborations. The design that is considered the first of fashion and art collaborations by many is the Lobster Dress.
Created in 1937, this fashion and art fusion was brought to life by fashion pioneer Elsa Schiaparelli and artist Salvador Dalí. Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer that is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars. Salvador Dalí was a Spanish artist and Surrealist, perhaps best known for his painting of melting clocks. The Lobster Dress was a playful homage to Dalí’s 1934 creation New York Dream-Man Finds Lobster in Place of Phone. The dress was simple, white and silk and the design celebrates Schiaparelli’s impressive sense of fashion.
This was the inception of fashion being given the opportunity to take a step away from frivolity thanks to the association with serious art. A like, through these collaborations, artists are being given a more public medium to reach to a mainstream audience.
Now that you have had a glimpse at the start of the movement, nearly 80 years ago, let us fast forward and see what 2016 brought us in the world of fashion and art collaborations.
The Best Fashion and Art Collaborations of 2016
Colombian designer Nancy Gonzalez teamed up with New York based artist KAWS and created a luxurious leather goods collaboration. KAWS is recognized for his continuous blurring of the boundaries between fine and commercial art. This collaborative collection is opulent as usual with Gonzalez’ signature style, featuring her famous crocodile leather, and within the wide range of bags you will find KAWS’ famous “XX” motif trademark embedded.
This collaboration is brought to you by a star lineage- the granddaughters of Frida Kahlo’s jeweler. Pretty amazing. The granddaughters and sisters, Phoebe and Annette Stephens, believe in the “totemic power of objects that are lovingly made and passed down over generations”. The sisters’ passion for impeccable design joined forces with footwear designer Fred Salvador and created a collection that includes studded leather slides and lace-up leather booties. Their skilled work as jewelry designers is shown prominently through the shoes’ grommets and accents.
This collaboration is the final of it’s kind for Dosa designer Christina Kim, as she announced that moving forward she will be focusing on creating art and not designing clothing. Kim is known for her eco-friendly fashion creations that include recycled materials and are made with fair-labor practices. This collection is in collaboration with artist Gloria Stuart, 1930’s Hollywood starlet turned painter, and available at LACMA. The collection includes accessories, clothing and jewelry.
H&M’s Fashion Loves Art collaboration features the work of artist Alex Katz in a full collection for ladies and men. The collection includes clothing, accessories and home décor that are centered on Katz’s most iconic works as inspiration. Katz’s figurative paintings, sculptures and prints have been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions internationally since 1951. This collaboration is a part of H&M’s efforts for a sustainable fashion future, so the collection is made from sustainable materials like Tencel and organic cotton.
Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet paid brilliant homage to artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. For her partnership with the CFDA, the designer celebrated the late Neo-expressionist via her whimsical approach. She featured Basquiat’s iconic elements from his street-art masterpieces, like the golden crown. There were so many stand out pieces in the collection like wonderfully long, A-line silk skirts covered in Basquiat’s paintings with stunningly vivid colors emphasized with embroidery and sequins.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Basquiat’s work and his creativity in the world, and it all started when I was talking to Tamra Davis, who directed the Basquiat documentary The Radiant Child, and she put me in touch with the foundation. It’s my absolute dream collaboration, and I really wanted to take his artwork and bring it to life in a really there-dimensional way—not just the clothing, but his world.”
Agnes Martin and COS
Recognized for her subtle colors and minimalistic style, artist Agnes Martin‘s artistic approach is perfectly symmetrical with the COS aesthetic of clean shapes. With her signature style, Martin was one of the few female artists to emerge from a rather male oriented art industry in the 1960’s and assisted in bridging the gap during the abstract Expressionist movement and Minimalist movement. This collaboration includes a 12-pieces capsule collection inspired by Martin’s work and influenced by the artists’s iconic geometric compositions.
Vince and Tappan
A different style of fashion and art collaboration, perhaps not so literal, is the Vince and Tappan collaboration. Although the works of art aren’t developed into actual pieces of apparel, the fashion brand Vince has started a Studio Series featuring the curated work by digital space Tappan. Since Vince is L.A. based, it’s only appropriate that this collaboration shines a light on Tappan artists that are also L.A. based.
Stella McCartney and Ed Ruscha
This collaboration featured the genius of Stella McCartney and iconic American artist Ed Ruscha and his signature satirical phrases prominent throughout his work. This project was called #stellacares.
The entire campaign centers on editorial photographs printed with Ed Ruscha’s phrases and featuring model Amber Valletta. The collaboration will aim to highlight McCartney’s commitment to cruelty-free fashion. Statements such as “No Leather Feathers or Fur”, “Veg Out” and “Meat Free” are shown in each print. All of these statements refer to the designer’s stance against using animal made materials and pro vegetarianism outlook. The model featured, Valletta, also happens to be and an environmental activist.
CADA Goes Art Collection
Three talented art-world influencers Aaron Curry, Andy Hope and Jonathan Meese, teamed up with German jewellery label CADA to create elegantly refined wearable works of art. This exclusive 53-piece collection features three eclectic capsule lines from the three artists. Each piece is modern and imaginative, paying homage to the artists’s unique artistic perspective.
Aaron Curry’s additions to the collection, via cocktail rings, illuminate mid-century sculpture practices intertwined with contemporary graffiti. Andy Hope brings his bold creations back to the origin of painting with particular motifs. This is represented in pop-tinged rings available in various shades of gold. For Jonathon Meese, his distinct sense of humor and sharp wit are brought to life in his suggestive pendants and rings.
That wraps up The Best Fashion and Art Collaborations of 2016. As a brand that celebrates the fusion between fashion and art, we are excited for the inevitable growth of this unique and visually stunning industry of collaborations. You can shop our wearable art apparel and accessories at.