The Surrealism art movement began in Paris 1924 and was officially announced that had finished in 1969. In that period I aim to show not individual artists contribution to the movement but instead the resulting impact on fashion and style influences which can still be referenced in 2012 fashion.
The Surrealists aimed to banish taste values by recording inner visions by automatic drawing techniques which were a mode of pure expression free from political or society constraints. Their work was shrouded in mystification as the imagery had no recognisable predecessors where it could be compared to instead the Surrealists were opening up their minds exempt from any aesthetic concern. This can be compared to fashion in the sense that like Surrealists, fashion aims to not be immediately recognisable; it is unique each season to the designer it works by encouraging the spectator to become involved with the garment in individual process in creation of identity. Fashion like surrealist art actively encourages the dislocation of taste barriers and actively creates own aesthetic values.
Andre Breton, ‘Amid the bad taste of my time I strive to go further than anyone else in such a manner as to leave nothing to be desired from the viewpoint of comfort.’ This can be seen by Surrealists technique of conjuring the uncanny by using everyday objects but in a way which was not their original function to mystify and create paradox of how spectator views object in correlation with the text we use to describe object. Surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim explores this in her 1936 ‘Fur breakfast’ which is cup, saucer and spoon covered in gazelle fur it immediately removes the original aim of cup and saucer by fur so creates dislocation of object from meaning as well as offering paradox of desire and repulsion to the object. This is referenced in fashion by Hussein Chalayan 2000 collection ‘Afterwords’ where he rethought fashion as kind of portable architecture therefore removing the original aim of fashion as an aesthetic covering of body but instead giving new innovation in form as a means of transportable furniture. Like Surrealist art innovative fashion designers aim to offer new meanings and form to existing conventions of how we perceive and view objects.
Salvador Dali the infamous Surrealist artist I feel has had the greatest impact on fashion designers it was his 1936 ‘Aphrodisiac Jacket’ which showed his engagement with consumer culture by acknowledging fashion as art he adorned a dinner jacket with liqueur glasses in a juxtaposition of the sensibility of jacket with destruction of character caused by the emptiness of the liqueur glasses in comical effect. He worked in unison with surrealist fashion designer Elsa Schiparelli in creation of iconic ‘Lobster dress’ in 1937 and ‘shoe hat’ in 1938 it was their combination of art and innovative fashion which secured fashion as status of art.
|Giraffe on fire|
|Venus de Milo with drawers|
|Agatha Ruiz de la Prada|
Diane Von Furstenberg paid homage to Dali in her Spring/Summer 2012 advertising campaign by her use of lunar landscape and displacement of models face with circular transparency. Her influence can be seen in Dali 1934 ‘The atavistic vestiges after the rain.’
|The atavistic vestiges after the rain|
|Diana Von Furstenberg|
Other designers which can cite influence by Surrealism are Viktor and Rolf in the way they deconstruct the silhouette in creation of new forms. Dolce and Gabbana in 2009/10 had collection named ‘Heart Elsa Schiparelli’ where gloves were designed as hats and belts in the rejection of original aim and recreating in bizarre way to offer new uses of gloves. Stephen Jones headwear can be related to surrealism by his use of juxtaposition of objects in creation of hats which have peculiar objects balanced in new aesthetic manner. More recently Mary Katrantzou in 2012 fall collection by her use of colour and printing techniques.
Ultimately fashion and surrealism are linked by the ‘idea that the spectator must complete the work of art and expose him/her self to the possibility of experiencing a new reality in the process.’