The worlds of fine art and luxury fashion are blending, as brands extend their identity and reach through art.
“Fashion is more art than art is.” – Andy Warhol
As brands continue to leverage their cachet through art partnerships, the influence is flowing from both directions, blurring the line between fine art, fashion, and luxury
Art Basel Miami Beach, which debuted in December 2002, was at its core a chance for visitors to see and buy world-class art, driven by the generosity of private collectors who competed and ultimately collaborated to enrich the entire community. Twenty years later, the critically acclaimed art fair now extends well beyond the original convention center, with parties, events, and programming at cultural institutions—all collectively known as Miami Art Week.
Art Basel Miami Beach has also become one of luxury fashion’s grandest platforms, implementing a model for future contemporary art fairs. The two worlds are so intertwined now that Louis Vuitton exhibited 43 not-for-sale works of art by the likes of Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman in its own booth at Art Basel’s inaugural Paris+ fair in October. (The season’s European art fairs’ rumor mill also suspected that parent company LVMH has its acquisition eye on Gagosian’s worldwide gallery empire, although Gagosian denies this rumor.)
More brands—from David Yurman to Audemars Piguet—also signed on as Paris+ partners, while Christie’s France and Kering took advantage of the coiffed crowds in town to preview Lalanne sculptures for an upcoming auction in the courtyard of the latter’s headquarters. For the Miami edition, Dolce&Gabbana doubled down with a pop-up for its Casa concept near its fashion boutique in the Miami Design District—part of Brookfield Properties’ Iconic Collection of properties—as well as debuting unique haute jewelry pieces at the Design Miami/fair across the street from Art Basel Miami Beach.
Fendi Casa will also debut in Miami, with its first flagship store in the United States located in the heart of the Miami Design District. Each year hopes to top the last, which was no small feat when 2021 saw major activations like CHANEL’s installation by Es Devlin and oceanfront drone display of its iconic, double-locking C logo and bottle of No. 5 fragrance for its centennial. There was also Louis Vuitton’s blowout tribute honoring its late menswear creative director Virgil Abloh with a runway presentation of his collection, a towering sculpture in his likeness, and a heartfelt sendoff with “Virgil was here” spelled out in drones.
But fashion’s expansion into the art world extends beyond art fairs. Louis Vuitton spreads the love via LVMH’s ever-growing art collection across its stores, including its expanded location in Brookfield Place NY. Among several works on display, the French maison commissioned Tommy Kwak’s digitally manipulated, large-scale photograph of a pink and purple New York skyline. Customers can also buy art in the form of Louis Vuitton’s latest series of Artycapucines handbags, where six creatives, including architect Peter Marino and artist Ugo Rondinone put their signature spin— biker chic and a rainbow handle, respectively—on the timeless Capucines style.
Fashion has infiltrated contemporary art fair Frieze too, most evident after Frieze London in October. The timing of Queen Elizabeth II’s death the month prior may have altered the course of the fair and London Fashion Week forever. When fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen, Burberry, and Raf Simons postponed their shows out of respect to dates during or near those of the fair, it solidified Frieze’s nickname as the “Fifth Fashion Week.”
Splashy soirées by BOSS, Marc Jacobs, and Prada further fueled the talk. Prada also had a presence at Frieze Los Angeles 2022, where a slew of stores and brands hosted events. The Italian house imported its experiential activation Prada Mode, which debuted in Miami in 2018 and has traveled to London, Paris, and Asia, among other stops. Held at a retro restaurant, the pop-up starred Los Angeles artist Martine Syms’ installation titled “HelLA World.”
In November, Prada Mode jetted off again, this time to Dubai with Damien Hirst’s “Pharmacy” installation in tow. But rather than a restaurant, its eighth iteration landed in ICD Brookfield Place in Dubai. Entering the immersive space adorned with medicine cabinets and prescription pill-printed wallpaper, guests were treated to lavish spreads, live music, and art programming.
The worlds of art and fashion have always been intrinsically linked, with designers often finding inspiration from artists—like Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Fall Mondrian Collection that paid homage to the bold geometry of Piet Mondrian or Rodarte’s 2012 collection inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s impressionist works. But as brands continue to leverage their cachet through art partnerships, the influence is flowing from both directions, blurring the line between fine art, fashion, and luxury.