Every season, a lot of items appear on the runway which are embedded with art. Each and every piece of art is chosen especially by the designer and so carries with it a hint of their strong willpower, and behind each piece exist the history and stories of each artist and brand. These pieces are special in that they were born out of the resonance of both art and fashion. It would be unfortunate if people were to wear them without realizing this fact. If you know the background behind an item, it will help you love the brand and the designer even more. We would like you to realize the joy of wearing these objects by learning about art through these objects of high fashion.
His collaboration with RAF SIMONS is legendary, his advertisement work for YOHJI YAMAMOTO is great and recently he also designed the logo for BURBERRY; English graphic artist Peter Saville has made many contributions to the fashion world. He is also the man who designed the famous cover art for the album Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division. He doesn’t just do original artwork, he’s also always been very good at using a technique known as sampling, which has become quite popular. The wavy graphic used for Unknown Pleasures was copied from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy, and represents the first-found pulsar (a heavenly body which sends out pulse-like waves), CP1919. For New Order’s album Power Corruption & Lies, he used a painting by 18th century painter Henry Fantin-Latour, with a colour-coded representation of the band name and the song titles hidden in plain sight.
About 20 years after Unknown Pleasures was released, RAF SIMONS published a new artwork based of Peter’s graphic art. Even among the archive works made by RAF SIMONS, who has been a big figure in the field in recent years, these items using Peter’s have been praised greatly. But when talking about bringing Peter’s works to a bigger public, Supreme takes the crown. In a period when high-end fashion and street wear didn’t cross over that much as they do today, printing his art on their street wear was revolutionary and introduced both Joy Division and Peter to many young people who didn’t known either yet.
Both brands take a completely different approach to design; RAF SIMONS explores a kind of post-punk band culture, and made his collection based on the graphics that were close in impression to those. He used the clothes he designed himself as a palette and used these pieces of graphic art and song titles as an accent. These pieces of art on the back side and the delicate lettering made with pant on an M-51 coat turn it into a design with real depth.
On the other end, Supreme’s approach is to use these pieces of art on items that many young people wear in their daily lives, like T-shirts, sneakers and parka’s. Especially impressive is the collection that was released by Supreme in the Spring/Summer season of 2013. They used the cover art for New Order, but had it overlap several times as a collage. By using this more street-brand approach to cover the full body, they turned this high-end looking design into a completely new design. While they were of course fully aware Peter himself based his work on a piece by Latour, Supreme went one step further and customized it to fit their needs. Even when looking at the same art piece, people are influenced in different ways and the background of the artist as well as how they see the world changes how they approach design and the end results.
In recent years, it’s not just that designer’s brands and archive items started being shown in museums at exhibitions the same way art has. They are also slowly gathering more attention at auctions from all over the world. The creativity of the designers is connected with art through the concept of the archive, and perhaps that should be seen as the ultimate new form of art.
Text_ SHUHEI HASEGAWA