Sunday, 12 January 2014

Figurative art trend SS14!

This is a delayed reaction to the Spring/Summer 2014 runway collections, but a day of visiting art galleries provoked me into re-evaluating the SS14 trends. 

With an outburst of colour, designers united for the coming season by using their garments as a canvas for abstract, deliberate, oversized brushstrokes in bold primary colours. Even Chanel, known for sticking to it's traditional look, branched out with carefully positioned multi-coloured painterly stripes.

Top row left to right: Roberto Musso, Yigal Azrouel, Cedric Charlier, Daniela Gregis
Bottom row left to right: Kenzo,Celine , Celine, Chanel.
Where digital prints have dominated the runway in recent years, the catwalk designers seem to have brought about a revival of the expressive art movements of the 1900's; cubism, surrealism and fauvism.

Left to right: Picasso(Cubism), Andre Derain(Fauvism) and Salvador Dali(Surrealism).

These painterly brush strokes have enabled a new style of prints to emerge-loose expressive figurative designs, all oversized in scale. An ode to surrealist and cubist paintings, these abstract portraits stretch the boundaries of printed fashion. Where, normally, print designers are restricted as to how experimental they can be with designs, the materialization of this print trend enables us to combine fine art with fashion. It also provides print designers with the opportunity to stylize their drawings, as abstract art doesn't need to be at all representational. 

Top row left to right: Ground Zero, Prada, Tata Naka, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Antonio Marras.
Bottom row left to right: Miu Miu, Claire Barrow, Giles, MSGM,  Jean- Charles de Castelbajac.
As a lover of art history, the emergence of this trend led me back to my art books and I thought it would be interesting to show the artist references for the prints we are seeing on the runway. 

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's childlike illustrations take obvious inspiration from Matisse's bold, fluid outlines and the cubist nature of Picasso's portraits with disjointed and disproportionate facial features.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's Spring/Summer 2014 collection.
Pablo Picasso(1881-1973).
Henry Matisse(1869-1954).

 Marras, on the other hand,seems to make discreet references to the long, painted faces of Modigliani. Large almond shaped eyes, lengthened noses and slender necks being the 3 main characteristics of a Modigliani portrait are all found in the SS14 Marras collection.

Antonio Marras's Spring/Summer 2014 collection.
Amedeo Modigliani(1884-1920).

Egon Schiele is another 20th century painter who could have been used as inspiration for this trend. His scribble like portraits exude movement and character.

Egon Schiele(1890-1918).
Another unexpected print I came across in the SS14 catwalks was part of the Miu Miu collection. Tactful surrealism through a portrait made up of simple images including the outline of a bird and leaves. 

Reminiscient of the Surrealist movement of the 1920's and the food portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo(1526-1593). I love how the Miu Miu collection introduces surrealism and the idea that an image isn't what it seems in such a diluted way that it could be commercially viable.

Aside from the runway collections, surrealism also seems to have been making an appearance in fashion photography. The idea of having drawn on facial features covering the models own features, creates a very surreal feel to the photographs. As well as being aesthetically disturbing in an appealing way, this photographic trend seems to have quite profound undertones, hinting at how society seems to mask reality with counterfeit.

Despite being extremely effective, all I can think of when looking at this new playful style of fashion photography, is the Pale monster from Pan's Labyrinth with eyes in his hands.

In the spirit of the figurative art them to this blog post, next week I intend to create a range of portraits using what seems to be becoming my trademark OTT pattern style. I will write another entry towards the end of the week showing the sketches...if there are any! x

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