Saturday, September 10, 2011

synchronizing art & fashion: New York Fashion Week Spring 2012

Venus of Urbino, 1538, by Tiziano (Titian), Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Those maids in the background of Tiziano's painting are looking for her clothes, apparently. Yet she is unconcerned, and so is the artist. Who needs clothes, to be rendered charming?

An answer from Liotard:

Portrait of Maria Adelaide of France in Turkish Costume, 1753
by Jean-Etienne Liotard, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

I love clothes. I don't shop much now, though I love the adventure of thrift shops.

While there is a lot of misery all around, there is also a lot to admire and enjoy, in fact, we need beauty more than ever in such times as these, like bouquets of flowers for a loved one suffering from injury, illness, or loss.

Looking at women in new fashions is my pastime when the seasons of fashion shows arrive, and Thursday was the first day of the New York Spring 2012 fashion shows. Fashion is wearable art, poetry in motion. After last February's fall shows, I had fun compiling a gallery of art pieces paired with designer duds. I first explore the photos from shows at Fashionologie, then scour thumbnails of paintings and sculpture at the Google Art Project and at online museum collections. I look for arresting designs, both in art collections, and in fashion collections. They lead to each other back and forth, like a game of visual tennis. I'm back at it and plan to make galleries until the end of the New York shows next Thursday. We'll see how things go. You just never can tell when you will experience vita interruptus.

Hans Hoffman and BCBG square up, below. I don't think much says "spring" more than spring green:

Cathedral, by Hans Hoffman, MoMA

BCBG design; I really like BCBG;
the dress I wore for Lesley's wedding was this designer,
but I only paid 200 bucks

Imitation showed some beautiful clothes Thursday. Romantic and feminine. I see several artists' work in their dresses, and I'm not done exploring. Tara Subkoff launched the Imitation line after brain surgery a couple of years ago. Talk about obstacles increasing creativity! She is an actress in films like "American Pie" and "The Cell" and previously founded fashion design house "Imitation of Christ" with Matthew Damhave. Was Imitation imitating these pieces of art?

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Imitation and two artists at MoMa:

left: Helen Frankenthaler's "Jacob's Ladder";
right: Gertrud Goldschmidt's (Gego) "Sphere"
both at MoMA

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Imitation and Monet:

Water Lilies, Claude Monet
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Imitation and Whistler:

The White Symphony: Three Girls, by James McNeill Whistler
Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian

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I love these other designers' collections too.

Graphic blue:

Peter Som dress

Paul Klee's Blaue Nacht

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Graphic yellow and black (or blue) a la Matisse:

Yigal Azrouel

 Henri Matisse

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Sketches by Doo.Ri and Chagall: 

dress by Doo.Ri

Joseph sketch, by Marc Chagall

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Graphic gold leaves:

Andy Warhol's Rorschach and dress by Wes Gordon

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Blooming red flowers:

Yigal Azrouel

 Red Cannas, by Georgia O'Keeffe

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Sapphire Matisse blue:

Dress by Jason Wu, and blue nude by Henri Matisse

Those are my standouts from Thursday's and Friday's shows. More to come . . .

February's gallery of synchronized art and fashion for the New York Fall 2011 shows is here.

All fashion photos from Fashionologie



Shari Sunday said...

Ruth, I just love it when you do this. I don't know if you did, but you should link to last year. What an eye you have and what a range of interests. My sister-in-law who is a real clothes horse can't understand my interest in fashion since I hardly buy anything new. Not happy with my shape for one thing. But maybe I will learn from watching "What Not to Wear". Anyway, brilliant post. I will be back to look more than once.

Anonymous said...

This post gave just a new broadening point to see a fashion!!
I could never think those clothes like that. Your ideas are brilliant and skills to see and realize those kind of things, wonderful Ruth!

Greetings from the Mediterranean Sea, I was there last week with my husband :)
Happy weekend to you and yours!

Grandmother said...

What a visual feast. And what a great idea to pair works of art with designer clothes. My mother was a seamstress and imbued me with an appreciation for fine, well made clothes. I check online for the fashion lines after the spring and fall shows and love the colors, textures, styles, the drape of the material on the models- all of it. So your post is a treat and I'll watch for your others. Thanks for the website references for fashions and art.
p.s. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is stunning.

Pauline said...

oh that was fun! I will keep my eyes open in a different way when I go out today, just to see if what people are wearing mimics something in the environment. Loved the dresses by Imitation.

Anonymous said...


Elisabeth said...

What a stunning post Ruth. It's 'eye boggling' to say the least. I haven't been around for quite a while, busy finishing my thesis. It's lovely to see your work, your writing and your eye for detail again. Thanks.

California Girl said...

Well this was fun to wake up to. My first blog o' the mornin' and it's a WINNAH as they say in Boston.

erin said...

and so i wonder if those original works can be taken and then paired again with something organic, or a scene that those artists experienced, or a feeling. and then again i wonder if those scenes or feelings can be paired to the origin of their existence, over and over again. and if we continue to do this i wonder if there is ever an initial creation, or if creation itself is only life and life itself - what? life - being. and so are we only trying to be over and over again? yes. i think, yes, for nothing else is real.

i didn't understand this the first time you posted like this. i only saw it near the surface. honestly, it felt superfluous for me in that i personally want to reject things as current as fashion, but that was my own density, my own inability to see what it is that we are doing in this world, us the consumers, and us the artists, us the human beings.


Maureen said...

So glad you decided to do this again this fall. It is fun to see your matches of artworks to fashions. Wonderful selections!

missing moments said...

Ruth, now this was so fun to view and very impressive! Always a joy to see what you share with us.

Ruth said...

Hi, Shari, I'm glad you like these pairs. I get into an addictive flow when I'm browsing the galleries.

How I dress personally is a whole other matter. In fact, I'm always interested to see the last photo in these fashion collections: of the designer her/himself, in their "ordinary" artistic selves.

Ruth said...

Hi, Leena, thank you! Mediterranean? Oh I will come see. You could have worn this Turkish outfit and strolled a teak-ish deck. :-) You are elegant in any case.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Mary. My grandma was a seamstress and designer, and maybe that got into me too. I didn't get into the Uffizi when I whirled through Florence in study abroad in 1975, a big shame. One day I will get there.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Pauline, that's a great idea.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Andressa.

Ruth said...

Oh hello, Elisabeth, I've missed visiting you too, getting too busy with too many things myself. It's not right somehow. I've missed your beautiful voice. Thank you for your kind words. I'll be over.

Ruth said...

Morning, California Girl, I'm glad you liked it!

Ruth said...

erin :-)

To me it is the most glorious reality, that everything is cycled and recycled. Inspiration arises from anything and everything, and everyone, and back and forth it goes.

I have mixed feelings whenever I post something about fashion. The truth is, I love it. The truth is also that I hate it . . . the push for beauty in certain terms, the money spent, the need to change everything up every season. But when I view it like art (or architecture, or furniture design, etc.), it is all just part of human expression. Yes, I also feel it is superfluous at times.

I was especially ambivalent when I posted the February gallery. Then my friend Shaista, who battles Lupus and suffers much of the time, posted a comment about how much she needed it, how it came to her:

. . . because in hospital, the high intensity of colour and glamour transports me to other worlds, a melding of dreams and imagination, and helful healing visualization :) A shoe can make me believe utterly in wellness! . . .

. . . and I felt it was right, and important to do what we love, even when it seems unimportant in light of so many other things, because someone else might love it too.

Ruth said...

Maureen, thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Ruth said...

Reena, thanks for browsing the gallery-post, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Nelson said...

I am so glad that on my only (brief) trip to Europe I visited The Uffizi Gallery....that and David make Florence nothing short of glorious.

Ruth said...

Nelson, it must have been so wonderful. Botticelli's Venus alone! Well at least I saw David, before the plexiglass, thankfully.

hedgewitch said...

I am sadly, pretty much totally oblivious to fashion per se, yet these dresses were just delightful and fascinating, a look at the heart of beauty and art in a way we don't normally approach it(or I don't anyway.) I love the blue Monet dress by Imitation--it just gives a rush of pleasure seeing it, and thanks for going to all the effort to pair these up with the appropriate--sometimes amazingly so,--art. This was great fun, refreshing, and I also feel somehow educational, if only in the ways of the ephemeral in our butterfly souls.

Babs-beetle said...

You always manage to match the clothes and paintings so well!

I don't do fashion, though I'm sure I would if I were still a young woman on a good salary ;)

Ruth said...

Thanks, Babs, it's so much fun!

I'm more into comfort and no dry cleaning now, but I still pay attention to hems and size of pantlegs ... But what I see first looking at someone else is their face . . . eyes.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

This post is a real delight for the eye and one that tugs gently but irresistably at the corners of a smile. Like last year's post, the pairings of paintings and clothes are instantly convincing. I was especially taken by the Hoffman and O'Keefe, but they all shimmer with the energy of the connections your inspired eye makes.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Hedge. I appreciate your comment a lot. I am always interested in what friends say who are not especially interested in fashion, and it's really the beauty of color, pattern, texture, shape — things that delight our eyes and, feed the soul, I think. Yes, that blue dress is a knockout, letting the color and shape do all the work.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Lorenzo. You're awfully game to come back to participate and contribute to this fashion post of mine, since I seem to recall from last time that matters of fashion don't interest you nearly as much as matters of art, which you appreciate and write about so very insightfully.

George said...

This is brilliant, Ruth! Sheer, unmitigated genius! Your eye for color and design relationships is flawless. If you were not such a fine poet, I would say leave poetry and become a painter. No, this would be better: Be poet, painter, fashion designer, candlestick maker, whatever. What I love most, as you can appreciate, is the attention you have given to this. The greatest honor to any artist of any kind is a single human being who takes the time to understand what has been born through another's creative process.

Oliag said...

I am sure that the designers would love to see this post Ruth! You have captured their expression in art so perfectly! What fun!

I generally could care less what I wear but I do love to look at fashion as art...and I would love to have that Imitation/Helen Frankenthaler dress:)

Vagabonde said...

You wrote several posts while I was away and it was a treat reading them all and looking at your beautiful pictures. Your post of Sept 4 about language and Dr. Pam was so interesting to me. Dr. Pam is quite a lady.

I’d like to try your mushrooms, if I was sure they are not poisonous. They are sure pretty! Your picture showing the mushroom is quite nice – I have never seen such mushrooms around here.

I did not know fashionologie and will keep the link. Growing up in France with my mother so interested in fashion, we were always checking the latest trends. Now I don’t look at it very much as we don’t go out often. For trips I try to find clothes which are comfortable and don’t wrinkle easily. But this post was a visual fantasy – the art was matching the clothes so well – it reminded me of another blogger, Dutchbaby, who shows flowers arrangements matching painting. Your collection was truly inspiring.

Ruth said...

Dear George, thank you so much for your artistic enthusiasm!

If you lived nearby and would give me painting lessons, I would sign up in a heartbeat. Your pieces are some of my favorites anywhere, my friend. In fact, I wonder if the next batch of designs out of the shows next week will bring to mind any of your paintings. Hmm.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Oliag. I've wondered what designers would think if they saw my pairings. Would they be pleased, would they be surprised, would they think I am off my noggin?

And as for that Imitation/Frankenthaler dress, I was expecting you to say that, because you and I had the same favorite in my February post too (the Lela Rose-Monet number). :-)

Ruth said...

Welcome back, Vagabonde. Yes, I was posting frenetically for a week there.

Thank you for reading the posts. That takes a lot of time when you're catching up, and so that means a lot to me.

I'm glad you like that picture of the mushrooms. I like it too. When I went out the other morning to the woods, it was gloomy from rain clouds. I took some photos of the mushrooms but they didn't turn out well, quite blurry. I went back with my bounce flash (that Ginnie gave me) pointed up to the trees, and it gave a nice warm glow to that mama and baby pair.

I think that enjoying fashion does not necessarily mean that a person fusses a lot herself about how she dresses. The artistic expression is what I enjoy. And I like the presentation, as when the hair, makeup and other details are united in a great show. I dress for comfort now too when I leave the house. When I'm home, I'm mostly in pajamas, but I imagine even these models do that.

erin said...

ruth, i didn't mean to challenge you. i only meant to explain how i feel, and yet i know, i know, it doesn't always translate that way. sometimes it seems abrasive. that is never my intention. i wonder at how similar we are in may of our life views and yet how different we are. it is in both camps that i rejoice, the similarities, yes, but the differences too. this is where i might grow! and yes! i was startled by just how beautiful your post is, the sister art between art itself and clothing. i can ask of art the same question i can ask of fashion. and i do. the bourgeois flavor of me on my ass thinking while others struggle. what is that? but my god, just as the violet pushes through in spring, so too those endeavors of beauty that we engage in. and it is meaningful because it is our spirit pumping. it is our way of being here.

if ever it seems like i am offending you it is my bad. it is in me. not in you. i hope i do not drive you crazy. i hope you see me for the fool that i am:)


Ruth said...

Dear, dear erin. You are wonderful.

Yesterday as we drove to meet up with friends I wondered if my response to you was a bit defensive. I thought, I don't think erin meant to challenge me. Just as you came back to say in your open, honest and encouraging way. And truly, as I wrote it, I was thinking through my own sense of myself, what is real, what is authentic, what do I love, what is "right" or "wrong" in how we express ourselves? In a way, I was defending myself against myself! Because always, always, it is about me. My feelings and responses are no one's responsibility but my own.

You, of everyone I know, are open, listening, seeking the truth of who you are, who we all are. This is beauty, erin. This is what I seek, and you show me. I have learned more from you in this regard than maybe anyone.

If only we could sit and talk, and get out of these little boxes where our words try to tell each other our thoughts and feelings. It is wonderful, yet it is also inadequate.

Let's be foolish children together. This is what you've given me. It is freedom. (And I still have to talk myself through it, because that is how you challenge me, only like that.)

erin said...

:) thank you~

and yet you can not know just how far it is from knowing me i am. just now it is like a wide brimmed somber sun bonnet upon my head. but that is ok. this is what we are doing - learning. we are in the process. it is ok not to know. we are scracthing in our own dirt.

love you, ruth.


Dutchbaby said...

Oh how I love this post and the one you did last spring.

I laughed at your comment about the nude in your opening photo. It reminds me of Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister, who posed nude for a sculpture that is now at the Villa Borghese in Rome. The paparazzi of the day attempted to create a stir, but she handled them well with her non-nonchalant response, "Why not, it was not cold, there was a fire in the studio."

You nailed all the pairings: both Matisses, the Klee, Warhol... All beautifully curated, both from a fashion and fine art point of view!

Louise Gallagher said...

Love both the creativity and your eyes of wonder --
your series in the spring enthralled me -- as does this one in the fall! Thanks

Ginnie said...

You know by now, Ruth, that I'm not a fashion genius at all! I hope I don't embarrass you whenever you see me in public. Sigh. But I must say I LOVE how you make up for me! And when you match these fashion designs to art, I'm gobsmacked! Keep doing it because you're a genius at it. In fact, I could picture your renditions in a book!

Arti said...

Oh Ruth, I just don't have time to read all these wonderful posts on your blog. I've been away, and still am, actually at Toronto where the Film Festival is going on, and fashion, all the buzz is right here. From my post on Costume in movies, you know from my reply to comments that I'm not one who's in tuned with fashion, but you certainly are. "wearable art, poetry in motion" how true! It's ingenious to match these fashion with the art pieces you've paired with. Amazing sync! Thanks for a beautiful post.

amy@ Souldipper said...

After this fascinating post and after some of the comments about your fashion sense, Ruth, I wish for a "photos" button - as in Face Book.

On my island home, we have an assortment of styles, tastes and boldness. I will now be tempted to think of art as the most unique creations walk by.

I appreciate people expressing themselves with designs that allow freedom and uniqueness.

Jeanie said...

This is really a fun post -- a surprisingly one, given that I am anything but a fashionista. The Oscar gowns can grab my attention; most of the time, it's cords and sweaters and big shirts! Yet when I look at these through your eyes and with your amazing perspective, I am surprised at how much I simply love it!

RD said...

I love this Fashion/Art connection you make! Love it! Some of these pieces are truly beautiful! Love your eye!