« It is very difficult to get rid of clothes. They represent trauma, failure, disappointment. My clothing, especially the inner one, is a source of suffering because it hides an unbearable wound. Louise Bourgeois often wrote about his clothes in his diary. For that he evoked the memories on which she would later build her artistic works. In fact, a decade after her death, her coat racks in her Manhattan apartment remain intact: a white shirt with the word ‘motherhood’ on it, several pearl necklaces, fur coats and, of course, dozens of Helmut pieces. Lang: In the last two decades of his life, the bourgeois wore only the cool designs of an Austrian designer. “For her, clothes were an extension of her and her work,” explains fashion editor Charlie Porter, author of What Do Artists Wear (Penguins), an essay that deals with the peculiar relationship of artists to clothing. Because, with honorable exceptions, the fashion designer usually dresses in an informal manner, as if he wants to separate life and work, while the artist, in many cases, usually wears a studied uniform that not only classifies him at first glance. , but at the same time he speaks indirectly about his passion and even his work. “The idea for the book came after seeing a picture of Agnes Martin in a kind of padded two-piece work uniform, just like the one Craig Green had designed a few years back. It feels like time has passed,” says Porter. Huh.
It’s not that great artists are fashion visionaries too; Her way of accessing the clothes is a bit more complicated. « During the 20th century, art gradually became a living experience, and artists were seen as the center of their work, somewhat like their ‘best works’; This is why many, conscious or not, were making their uniforms, a way to be recognized (and recognizable) and, at the same time, to transfer their motivations ». Yayoi is like Kusama, who translates her artistic style almost literally into her wardrobe. Others, such as Martin himself, sculptor Barbara Hepworth and Picasso’s Jean Dungaree and their striped shirts, as Porter explains, “made their own work clothes in the profession of an artist, free from any clothing restrictions.” But also those who code their style based on slightly more complex purposes.
David Hockney’s clothing matches the color gamut of his paintings, but they express something else, ‘his need to express himself gay and freely in 1960s California, a repressed British province. And coming from a family with few resources’, explains the author. Jean-Michel Basquiat ends the parade for the Comme des Garcons in Paris because, in addition to being an artist-celebrity icon, his image married the then subversive philosophy of the Japanese brand: he wore a carefully tattered suit, second hand And mixing the sign indicates that luxury was very different from the socially established. At the other end are Gilbert and George, whose soft, uniform brown suits turn them into living statues. and Cindy Sherman, who is famous for disguising herself as different female social fanatics: “We exchanged emails pretending to be the book, and she told me that most of her work starts with choosing clothes. What he finds usually envisions the character’s narrative,” Porter explains.
When it comes to female performers, there is a more or less recurring uniform: the traditional wear of the male wardrobe. Either for expressing freedom in style (Frida Kahlo), playing comfort cards and letting the work speak for itself unnoticed (Jenny Holzer) or because of her obsession with colors and shapes, Georgia’s O’Keefe Kind, always in loose and clean black and white, who had been refining his wardrobe over the years, only to wear the couture of then-rising Yoji Yamamoto.
Because Yamamoto, Helmut Lang, Comme des Garcons and all those firms have been put to wear a label that advocates abandoning the prevailing beauty doctrine. Another artist, painter and sculptor Lewis Nevelson said that in order to be noticed in this area, “you had to look above age, above traditional luxury and the distinctive idea of ’dressing up’.” In short, wearing author’s fashion is not the same as wearing artist’s fashion.