Fashion and Surrealism. Why Not?

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Fashion and Surrealism: Why Not?

Lisa Junor

Fashion Design Stage 3

Robert Gordon University

Word Count: 2754

Fashion and Surrealism: Why Not?

Imagining a world where your dreams and subconscious co-exist with the general happenings of life is surreal however extremely alluring. Surrealist artists and fashion designers have a steady belief in this fantasy and have attempted to achieve this through the work of art and fashion. Throughout this essay, the bewildering topic of fashion and Surrealism will be taken into an in depth analysis. Topical questions will be undertaken to ensure a clear understanding of fashion and surrealism. With defining the concepts behind Surrealist fashion the essay will be able to progress into additional subjects within the topic. Relevant fashion designers and artists will be observed and from this, the essay will continue to mention the results of Surrealist fashion. With covering historic and present relations in the subject matter, the penultimate question will identify whether with the present day market, politics, commercial awareness and fame, does Surrealist fashion uphold its place in fashion. However before commencing with these questions, first an understanding of Surrealism in art is to be found.

Surrealism : Pure Psychic automatism by which it is intended to express, either verbally or in writing, or otherwise the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.[1]

Opposed to the customary art expressions of the conscious mind, surrealism welcomes the concept that the unconscious mind could also be utilized. Reality is isolated by the human unconscious which creates unfeasible sights and inconsistent arrangements. These concepts clarify the art movement. Juxtaposed orders also have an important component within a surrealist artist creativity. With profound use of the interpretation of dreams, artists allow this to unlock their mind and obtain an everlasting structure of their work. They believe that ‘surreality’ is achievable, in which we live in a world of dream and fantasy integrated into our standard everyday life.[2]

Surrealism is the descendant from such avant-garde movements as Dadaism, Cubism, expressionism and futurism. Before Dadaism and Surrealism, artists followed the customary form of nature in painting. Due to the World War one, Dadaism was formed into ‘anti-art’, when artists began incorporating politics from the war and social life into their art. (See Illustration 1.1) Dada redefined how art was looked at and what it stood for.[3] Subsequently the Dada artists who evolved into surrealist artists carried this through.

In 1924, Andre Breton, a French poet of the early 1900’s, published his surrealist manifesto featuring paintings and from this, Surrealism had begun its impact in art and literacy.[4] (See Illustration 1.2) Surrealism’s beginning main contributors to the victorious movement were, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Joan Miro, Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali. Dali has become one of the most recognizable names in art. Not only is he notorious for his subconscious masterpieces, but also for delving into the notion that fashion and surrealism not only co-exist, but could work together simultaneously.

Before Dali’s realised thoughts of surrealist fashion, artists of preceding art movements such as, Dadaism and Futurism had comprehended the potential of wearable art. Jean Arp, one of the founders of Dadaism, constructed costumes as part of his display of non conformism. The Futurism art movement saw the creation of playful dresses, conflicting to the traditional way of dress. Futuristic artists/designers were to add modifiers to clothing. These modifiers were intricate detailing such as vivid colouring and asymmetrical cuts. The intention was to modify the wearers’ mood through these details. Another...
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