Fashion is constantly evolving with every shift in society’s taste, often directed by the current aesthetics of art and music. As quoted by student, Stephanie Pratt (a Visual Communications Design Major with a minor in Studio Arts):
”[Art and music] are interconnected. You can’t have fashion without basic design concepts which are found in art, architecture, and the natural world.”
The influence of fine arts on fashion design could not be more evident than as observed during the recent fashion field study trip to University Circle lead by Dr. Korosec, Chair of Ursuline College’s Fashion Department. Students visited the Western Reserve Historical Society’s “Dior & More” exhibit, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the “Rolling Stones–50 Years of Satisfaction” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in search of these connections to the fashion industry.
The “Armor Exhibit” at the Cleveland Art Museum demonstrates the use of artistic design principles and elements which continue to be echoed in modern apparel design. While armor served a function as a means to protect a knight in battle, it was also fashioned to be aesthetically pleasing. Design principles such as unity, balance, and proportion make a suit of armor beautiful as well as making a garment successful. The repetition of pointed, angular shapes found throughout the metal plating seem to “answer” each other and maintain proportionality and harmony of the silhouette. This cohesion is pleasing to the eye on all levels. In terms of the functionality of the armor, it is also similar to the art of designing a garment on a 3-Dimensional form, which must accommodate the shape of the body and allow for ease in movement. Each carefully crafted piece of armor must be fitted to the knight’s body allowing him to move, but protecting his body as much as possible.
The junction of each piece of the suit is done so in a decorative manner with bolts, rivets, and leather buckles. Likewise, the decorative darts and pleating utilized by fashion designers also add beauty to the garment.
Moving on to the Rolling Stone’s exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the influence of music and costume design on the fashion industry is just as evident. The use of color, texture, line, shape, etc. is taken into careful consideration when designing for a musician. Designers consider the effects of the stage lighting and special effects when creating a garment to give the musician the desired look or statement they are aiming for. Rock and Roll music was thought to lead to the “degradation of society” and decline of conservative values which I suppose is true. One particular example in the stones exhibit was a costume worn by Mick Jagger, a cape constructed out of an American flag which at one time in history would have been considered a crime—it was considered defacing a flag to wear it when nowadays flag-themed plates, merchandise, and clothing are popular around the holidays signifying a change in society’s values and beliefs. Other costumes in the exhibit varied from simple to ostentatious, and were just as differentiated as the genres of music they represent.
Finally, the culmination of art, music, and fashion came alive during our visit to the “Dior & More” exhibit at the Historical Society museum as the changes in society’s values as well as the lifestyles of Cleveland’s elite were reflected throughout the display.
A quote featured in the display seemed particularly relevant “Clothes after all speak not just to who we are, but who we would like to be”–Robin Givhan. We all like to surround ourselves in what satisfies our idea of beauty, and in a sense fashion has always been thought of as wearable art. Just as students feel empowered playing “dress-up” in
Ursuline’s Historical Fashion Study Collection, so too does a rock star become all he or she ever dreamed of being simply by wearing his or her wearable statement of art. Thus, the “right” outfit helped attribute to the fame, fortune, and success of our greatest musicians, rock stars, high class women, as it can also change YOUR own destiny.
This wearable piece of art is crafted from carefully arranged vinyl record pieces worn by singer Rihanna.
Paquin, Paris Haute Couture 1929.
Hot off the Press! UC Fashion Students Susan Fox and Kayla Wayts pose for Rolling Stone Magazine with Dr. Connie Korosec–Just kidding! (It’s a Souvenir Photo!)