Today's post was written by our Assistant Registrar Dani Killam. In her post, Dani explores the interplay between fashion designers and artists in two vibrantly colorful pieces from our collection: an Adrian blouse and a Halston dress. The Halston dress featured in this post is currently on exhibit in FABULOUS! and both are featured in the exhibition catalogue.
Though created 27 years apart, our Gilbert Adrian (1903-1959) blouse and Roy Halston (1932-1990) dress share a common theme prevalent within fashion design during the twentieth century. Adrian’s blouse showcases Salvador Dalí’s (1904-1989) shattered rock motif, while Halston’s garment is covered with Andy Warhol’s 1964 Flowers print. These two pieces from the FIDM Museum collection exemplify the symbiotic relationship and transformation of inspirational role from fashion to art, and art to fashion.
In preceding centuries artists were intrigued by the fashions they observed, absorbing details and angles of sartorial wonder that we in the museum field greatly benefit from today. The significance of such relations between artist and fashion may best be represented by French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). The box pleats located at the center back of a dress à la française later became known as “Watteau pleats” due to the artist’s multiple representations of this fashionable construction. In Watteau's painting The Two Cousins, the the artist's namesake pleat is clearly portrayed. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Franz-Xaver Winterhalter, James Tissot, John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, and Edouard Manet are only a few of many artists who also produced artwork portraying dress as their main focal point. Clearly, fashion has a long history of inspiring art.