The Surrealist Fashion

June 29th, 2022

Art is the human energy to duplicate, supplement, modify, or counter the work of natural surroundings. It is a situation whereby human beings organize sounds, colors, systems, movements, or other essentials in a mode that affects the logic of beauty, precisely the production of the gorgeous in a graphic or pliable medium (Gershman 1969). Art covers many fields ranging within music, beauty, literature, architecture, sculpture, and many more (Alexandria 1970). On the other hand, fashion is a term for a popular style or practice. This is mainly sumptuous in clothes, shoes, fittings, beauty makeup, and furniture. Fashion refers to distinguishing and often certain habits of people portrayed in their mode of dressing, as well as the prevalent styles in behavior (Gershman 1969). Fashion does not only apply to women only but also to men. At the same time, fashion is not only about clothing and the studies related to it but also the application of costumes and the art of applying beauty products (Durozoi 2002).

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There exists a clear relationship between art and fashion. To begin with, fashion defines art. This is mainly because fashion cannot be designed if people do not know art. Both art and fashion describe something. They give an expression of something that already exists. Both of them have the element of scheming something. In fashion, someone designs a dress, blouse, or a costume and the same happens when someone designs a painting or a sculpture. Over the years, art has been influencing fashion to a great extent. Men and women always like to wear new things. To give these people new things there must be someone involved in art. This means that there must be people who apply their creativity to design them. The most noticeable similarity between art and fashion is that they have similar backgrounds: their work outlines are similar, and their conceptualization is also the same. However, art and fashion are two different things. In fashion, fashion designers project, construct and figure, however, artists craft and imagine (Alexandria 1970). In short, we can say that fashion is more of an unintended, rather expressive approach, and, on the other hand, art is planned in advance, and it is a thoroughly calculated creation.

There is a linkage between launte conture and modern art and surrealism. Surrealism is a traditional and art association that started in the 1920s. It includes all forms of art such as statue, music, collected works and film. This shows that the idea of painting, curving, shooting movies, and composing songs has its roots to surrealism. It is out of the creations of this association that these ideas revolutionized and passed on up to the current date. Therefore, imaginative ideas, expressed in art industry today are just an application of what was invented then. After the First World War, the artists of those days had an immense desire to create their own world. They desired to transform dreams and hallucinations described by Sigmund Freud. This movement was to transform art from an imaginative thing to a real substance, which has a meaning and impact. Surrealism invented the idea that art is not about education and intellect but general knowledge and creativity (Gershan 1969).

The surrealist association was created in Paris by an insignificant group of writers and artists who wanted to channel the unconscious as means to unravel the power of thoughts. As stated earlier, this was influenced by a psychologist known as Sigmund Freud. Karl Marx motivated them and made them believe that revelations were found everywhere in everyday life, and these revelations could be turned into a reality through art. They were determined to tap the subconscious mind and this interest made an unexpected impact that is even felt today.

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Surrealism is seen as the most significant movement that existed in the 20th century. The greatest initiators of surrealism are artists who contributed immensely in the world of photography and avant-garde art. It is their contribution to the movement that attracted a massive audience to style. Fields of art, photography, and film, came to be known through these figures including Salvador Dali and Man Ray. Surrealism became an official movement in 1924. This was the period when Andre Breton wrote a book clearly defining the movement. Andre Breton defined movement as the process, through which one expresses thoughts in a verbal way or in any other way apart from the written one, which would have a meaning.

It should be noted that surrealism was not only concerned with painting but also with imagery. Some artists like Bressai portrayed a wide range of photography work (Wilson 1991). Brassai came up with a picture, which looked as if it were produced by an automatic machine. He drew a picture which looked like a material observed under a microscope or else placed on top of a tree.

As stated earlier, fashion is considerably influenced by art. In this concept, there is a link between fashion and surrealism. It is worth noting that fashion played a vital role in the surrealistic movement. The birth of the surrealist movement brought about a whole new outlook and the way of appearance in the world of filmic arts. One of the major links between surrealism and fashion is that surrealism expresses itself through fashion. The mixture nature of fashion being factual by dressing the body and being surreal in its pliability of presentations and forms along with its varied exposure in the world played as a key part for surrealists to express their notions. The key link between fashion and surrealism is represented through ideas of Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli. Throughout the time when the surrealist movement functioned, both the primary and subordinate tools were used to show the link between the worlds of surrealism and fashion (Alexandria 1970).

Surrealism led to the most controversial movement in literature. It is out of this movement that art and literature revolutionized. Surrealist artists became more creative than ever and what resulted was more advanced artwork. This did not only apply in films and photography, but also in painting, drawing, and sculpture. All of these are components of literature that made it appear the way it does today (Durozoi 2002).

There are significant numbers of artists who are associated with surrealism. To begin with, there was Jean Arp who presented unique designs by cutting different shapes from either wood or paper. He would have then arranged them in a unique pattern creating beautiful and stunning images. He was involved not only in paintings but also in poetry, collages, and sculpture. His works were usually identified as full of hilarity and sensuality. Hans Bellmer is another artist associated with surrealism. He could do art and, also, write. He presented fascinating objects, drawings as well as photography, which were mainly in the shape of human beings. Victor Brauner cannot be forgotten. He made paintings out of wood where he would melt wax on it to create different images. Leonora Carrington was an artist from Great Britain who was also a member of the surrealistic movement. She was one of the noticeable female artists who presented her paintings in the form of dream-like images, which presented a picture of myths. Georgio de Chirico contributed immensely to the development of a surrealistic movement. He painted images characterized by blank town squares with dark air passageways. His pictures brought the idea of total loneliness and solitude (Wilson 1991). Salvador Dali was an artist from Spain who joined the surrealists in Paris in 1929. He began his artist work at a remarkably tender age, and he was mainly influenced by Freud’s theory. His paintings were mainly on nature, and he drew pictures of shadowy landscapes with melting substances. He is one of the artists with a wide range of works ranging from photos, holographs, costume jewellery, film scripts and collected works. He even conceived and designed a building, which was later opened as an international museum (Gershan 1969).

Another artist who left a noticeable impact in surrealistic movement is Oscar Dominguez. His paintings were mainly inspired by Picasso. His technique of pressing paints between two surfaces thus producing images that looked like absorbent rocks is quite well known. Most of his paintings reflected the real picture of the sea and nature. Marcel Duchamp emerged as a significant figure in the 20th century (Wilson 1991). He is well remembered in his contribution to Cubism, Futurism, and Dadaism. In his memory, there are many portraits and landscape impressions, which were attributed to him. However, Duchamp did not paint for long as with time he turned to playing chess. Two years before his death, a strange portrait was discovered, which he had created for a period of twenty years. He combined his art with a sense of hilarity and spontaneous approach, which exemplified the spirit of Dada and Surrealism. Max Ernest was a German painter who formed the Cologne Dada group. He is well known for his creation of sculptures and collages. He later moved to Paris where he joined other artists in the surrealist movement. His noticeable works included extra ordinary presentation of images and figures where reality is turned upside down. He invented a technique known as frottage, which involved rubbing over a rough surface causing unusual and spontaneous patterns. During the Second World War, Ernest was imprisoned by the French government, and upon his release; he went back to the United States of America. His paintings always portrayed rotting buildings that were overtaken by nature. These are among many artists whose works left an impressive mark in the surrealistic movement (Alexandria 1970).

The works of surrealism were presented in various forms. Paul Devaux presented his work in the form of a painting. He could decorate naked women gazing at nothing. His scenes were mainly dramatic. Andre Masson’s art was in the form of cubes. He could attach sand on papers using glue. Joan Miro presented his paintings in the form of cubes and Roman churches. At other times, he used to paint memorials and other communal works. Man Ray was the first man to present his work in a photograph and classic films. Rene Magritte combined actual objects and mental figures to present his work. Max Ernest presented his works in paintings of different features. Marcel Duchamp mainly portrayed his works in mental perception pictures more than the visual ones. Pablo Picasso’s works were mainly in poetry, which was systematically written to bring out the desired message. Salvador Dali’s works were mainly in the form of paintings, sculptures and films. The personalities named above are the key artists of the surrealist movement and they portrayed their works as illustrated (Gershman 1969).

Elsa Schiaparelli is a well-known scholar in the field of fashion. The interest in fashion began when she was in school since she spent most of her life in museums. While in Paris, Elsa began to make her own clothes and this motivated her to open a business of her own. Schiaparelli sourced her motivation mainly from Dada and Surrealism, which gave a foundation to her fashion career. She worked closely with one of the surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. It was during these collaborations with Salvador Dali that her fashion designs emerged. She also collaborated with the shoe hat and the tears dress, which further nurtured her career. It is noted that one of the best dresses that Elsa made was when she collaborated with Dali (Gershman 1969). One of the famous dresses that Dali and Elsa made was known as Lobster dress. This dress was white, made of silk and was popularly known as an evening dress. Elsa also made another dress known as tears dress. This was pale blue in colour and was also an evening dress. There was another one she designed known as the skeleton dress. This was also designed in association with Dali. Dali finally designed a hat known as a shoe hat. This hat had a design of a woman’s high-heeled shoe though slanted on one side. Elsa was not only a designer in clothes but also in perfumes and jewellery. She had quite a good number of perfumes which were known for their unique bottles. One of her best perfume was known as shocking (Durozoi 2002).

A wide variety of jewellery was also a unique design of Schiaparelli. She developed a beautiful necklace in 1938 known as rhomboid. It was a plastic necklace with features of metallic insects. These jewelleries were produced by Jean Clement and Jean Piere. These, together with Dali, helped the talent of Elsa to grow tremendously. Her works also included film costumes: she designed wardrobes for various films.

Following the life of Elsa Schiaparelli, it is clear that she combined both the Surrealist and Dada ideas to develop her fashion career (Alexandria 1970). She converted the skills of surrealist artists like Dali into fashion. This is the reason behind her success in the clothes and the jewellery she made.

Avant-garde is a fashion style developed through innovation, and it is a form of revolution in the fashion industry. The kinds of clothes designed through the avant-garde are full of creativity and can only be worn in the theatre. It is a style that was developed by some olden day’s artists, some of which were surrealists and Dadaists. Some avant-garde artists like Jean Piere were the collaborators with Elsa Schiaparelli to develop film costumes (Alexandria 1970).

To sum up, there is an acclaimed relationship between art, fashion and surrealism. Modern art and fashion is simply surrealism upgraded. The art and the fashion we see today helps to keep the spirit of surrealism alive. It was out of surrealism that art and fashion was revolutionised. Today, there are artists in both music and written literature such as poetry and oral literature. There is also theatre art and film industry, which is an extension of ideas and works of surrealist. Painting and drawing are the common aspect of life today as many people earn a living out of it. The clothes fashion cannot be left behind; they have led to the rise of fashion shows.

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