Women in art: learning from them (Part I)

“Like art, beautiful fashion inspires us, brings us happiness, and helps us face life with strength “

Chanel and Picasso, and Schiaparelli and Dalí are the two clearest examples of fashion as an artistic discipline. But they are not the only ones: Stella McCartney and Cindy Sherman, Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Madhvi and Manu Parekh…

Fashion is nourished by art, creating unique pieces that catch all eyes and make the wearer feel special.

Thus, we are beginning a series of articles about these women, in which we will delve not only into the relationship between fashion and art, but also with design and interior design. We want to learn from these women artists – pioneers or not – who fill us up with inspiration.

Women artist who reinvented fashion

Many are the women who have influenced the fashion world, but we would like to start with those who transformed fashion and were pioneers in showing the magic that happens when art is captured in a piece.

Elsa Schiaparelli, the Italian artist who made clothes

Painting and couture come together, giving life to emotional and surrealist pieces where seemingly opposing realities unite, penetrate, and transcend.

Schiaparelli and Dalí shook up fashion in 1920s Paris. Hers was a surrealist kind of fashion which highlighted the role of women in the fashion industry.

The legendary Lobster Dress for Wallis Simpson, which is housed (except for exhibitions) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Shoe Hat (London’s V&A), and the Tear or the Skeleton (also at the V&A) are the result of the unparalleled collaboration between Dalí and Schiaparelli, “that Italian artist who is making dresses” – as Coco Chanel defined her, evidencing the rivalry between them.

Coco Chanel, rigour in fashion

From Schiaparelli’s Surrealism to Chanel’s Cubism. The sobriety and simplicity of Chanel’s style and her friendship with Pablo Picasso have led to her fashion being compared to Cubism, as reflected in the “Picasso/Chanel” exhibition at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum.

Chanel shared a circle of friends in Paris with Schiaparelli, but it was not with Dalí but with Pablo Picasso with whom the French designer connected most. In fact, one of the rooms in his flat in Faubourg St-Honoré was at her disposal.

The designer and the painter – “radioactive prince of painting”, as Chanel called him – collaborated in theatre (Antigone) and opera (Le Train Bleu), leaving costumes, masks, and canvases for posterity, and showing the infinite possibilities of collaboration between the two artistic disciplines. “It was the artists who taught me rigour,” claimed Chanel, as Isabelle Fiemeyer recounts in Coco Chanel. Un parfum de mystère, Ed. Payot & Rivages.

Stella McCartney, activist fashion

“As the worlds of art and fashion continue to intertwine, I firmly believe that one cannot live without the other,” said Stella McCartney, and she did so knowingly.

McCartney is constantly drawing inspiration from the world of art and has collaborated with various artists for her designs, such as the photographer Cindy Sherman.

Sherman, who considers herself an artist who uses photography more than a photographer, reached the peak of her popularity in the 1990s thanks to several exhibitions at the MoMA in New York.

Their collaboration resulted in 10 self-portraits that defy preconceived ideas about gender and that are a good reflection of the possibilities that arise from bringing together different artistic disciplines.

Vida y Milagros, Eastern art brought to Western fashion

Vida y Milagros’ Creative Director is inspired by women to create and design the brand’s 100% natural silk kimonos.

A brand which is committed not only to art and fashion, but also to sustainability and women’s empowerment.

The whole team is made up of women, from the creative designer herself, through the administrative part to the collaborations with other artists: Isa de la Calle (for the Sea Breeze collection), Felicia Puerta (with paintings that decorate our store-workshop) and Carmen Baselga (immersing ourselves in her studio).

A female point of view in design – the key to changing and improving our daily lives.