Double Take

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Left: Gerhard Richter and Right: Ellsworth Kelly

Just as designers find inspiration in the work of their contemporaries (i.e. Seen it Be-Tore) artists oftentimes adopt similar styles to one another; in some cases on purpose, others, but happenchance. There will always be the Elaine Sturtevant’s and Richard Pettibone’s of the world who have made a living off of pure imitation, but in most cases, art is about reinvention; take Aaron Young’s trademark Brice Marden-esque style (pictured below), for example. Young’s energetic lines, however, are the products of motorcycle tires and various other wheeled vehicles while Marden’s were merely a brush and paint on canvas. Now, the real question is how artists in the future will modernize the work of today.

Left: Brice Marden and Right: Aaron Young

Left: Andy Warhol and Right: Richard Pettibone

Top: Sol LeWitt and Bottom: Frank Stella

Left: Vik Muniz and Right: Kyle Bean

Left: David Salle and Right: James Rosenquist

Left: Roy Lichtenstein and Right: Elaine Sturtevant

Left: Louise Bourgeois and Right: Pino Piscali

Left: Thomas Ruff and Right: Matti Braun

Left: Kenneth Noland and Right: Gary Lang

Top: Claes Oldenburg and Bottom: Wayne Thiebaud

From Left: Narciso Rodriguez, Erdem, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2013

The fall 2013 shopping season is well under way. Collections shown almost six months ago are finally hitting stores and available for purchase. In an effort to re-familiarize myself with pre-fall I have been flipping through shows style.com and noticed a pattern amongst the collections. Designers from Narciso Rodriguez to Erdem as well as Parisian houses like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior showed multiple, if not all, of their 2013 pre-fall looks in pairs.

Dolce & Gabbana, Viktor & Rolf and Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli

This latest pre-fall development is hardly the first time the fashion world has experienced the impact of a twosome. Could this trend have come about as a result of the continuing success of designer pairs from Dolce & Gabbana and Viktor & Rolf, to Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli? Just this past June the CFDA awards for womenswear designer of the year and the Swarovski award for womenswear were presented to American duos Proenza Shoulder and Suno, respectively, and in 2012 Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were awarded top honors for The Row.

John Galliano spring/summer 2006 and Chanel spring/summer 2013 couture

The art world, however, recognized the power of pairs far before John Galliano sent obscure couples down the runway for his namesake spring/summer 2006 ready-to-wear show and prior to Lagerfeld’s double bride finale for Chanel spring/summer 2013 couture.

Left: Dan Flavin & Donald Judd and right: Peter Fischli & David Weiss

Artists such as Dan Flavin and Donald Judd as well as Peter Fischli & David Weiss began collaborating in the 1970s while modern day duos from Elmgreen and Dragset to Kelley Walker and Wade Guyton have made names for themselves as twosomes.

Left: Elmgreen & Dragset and right: Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker

Countless solo artists have explored the concept of duality within their personal work. One of photographer Diane Arbus’ most celebrated images – Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967 – famously depicts identical young females and by happenchance began a cultural revolution; is it said that the pair were the inspiration behind the twins in Stanley Kubrick’s surrealist horror film, The Shining. Arbus herself even worked in collaboration with her husband, Allan, although he is rarely mentioned.

Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967 and twins from The Shining

Likewise, more contemporary female photographers, from Sarah Jones to Cindy Sherman, have embraced twosomes in their individual work; the latter elevated her trademark self-portraits during the photo-shop revolution of the early 2000’s and began appearing multiple times in one image.

Left: work by Sarah Jones and right: work by Cindy Sherman

Regardless of seasonal trends, fashion and art duos continue to prove themselves unstoppable.

Dior Fall/Winter 2013

August is underway meaning that any day now September fashion issues the size of telephone books will be hitting newsstands. Last year I shed light on editorial content vs. ad pages and, while I can imagine 2013 will be much of the same, something excites me about what I have seen thus far on the fall/winter ad circuit. More designers have taken inspiration from art for their latest set of campaigns.

For starters, Inez and Vinoodh captured Raf Simmons’ fall 2013 collection for Dior and one image in particular (pictured above) was a direct reference to Edouard Manet’s 1863 masterpiece, Luncheon on the Grass (below).

Edouard Manet, Luncheon on the Grass, 1863

While Dior took inspiration from the past, at KENZO, Carol Lim and Huberto Leon enlisted the help of present-day artist Maurizio Cattelan to think up a fantastic, surrealist-inspired campaign.

Left: Maurizio Cattelan’s highline billboard and Right: KENZO Fall/Winter 2013

KENZO Fall/Winter 2013

Left: Robert Longo image and Right: McQ Fall/Winter 2013

Similarly, one of fashion’s ‘go-to’ artists, Robert Longo, is once again invading fashion magazines by way of the McQ campaign (above). In the past, Lanvin showed Longo-inspired images for spring/summer 2010 while the following season the entire Bottega Veneta campaign was shot Longo-style.

Lanvin Spring/Summer 2010

Bottega Veneta Fall/Winter 2010

In the past, fashion houses have partnered with artists to produce original editorial content. Cindy Sherman is always the premier example of the intersection of art and fashion; take her post card series for Comme des Garçons in 1994 or her Marc Jacobs advertisements in 2006. Rather than a brand using an artist to promote a collaboration between the two creative forces, it is most intriguing when designers seek out artists to highlight their existing products.

Tom Ford Fall/Winter 2007 by Marilyn Minter

Taking this philosophy and looking back at past year’s fashion advertisements, Tom Ford’s fall/winter 2007 campaign by Marilyn Minter immediately comes to mind. The images represented the Tom Ford brand through the eyes of Marilyn Minter – pure genius.

Tom Ford Fall/Winter 2007 by Marilyn Minter

Left: Rene Magritte, The False Mirror, 1928 and Right: Diane Von Furstenberg

Just last year Diane Von Furstenberg showed a series of surrealist ads for spring/summer 2012 with countless references to the work of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte (above).

All work by Martin Munkacsi

Last but not least, my favorite ode to an artist was Prada’s spring/summer 2001 ad campaign inspired by the amazing Martin Munkacsi (the same man who captured the puddle jumper in 1934, well before Avadon). Munkacsi was famous for his high-energy, identifiable images when, at the time, almost all fashion photographs were being shot on a large format camera inside a studio. His series of beach photographs from the late 1920’s to early 1930’s are still some of his most celebrated to date and served as the inspiration behind Ms.Prada’s spring/summer campaign.

Prada Spring/Summer 2001

Prada Spring/Summer 2001

Prada Spring/Summer 2001