The Art of Collaboration

by Keely Shinners

A retrospective on Bottega Veneta's creative director Thomas Meier is on view at Ullens Center in Beijing
Is there a distinction between fashion and art? So often, we talk about “the fashion world” and “the art world” as if they are separate entities, moving in separate directions towards the truly avant-garde. But as long as the fashion world has seen itself in the proverbial mirror, it has seen the art world gazing back. And vice versa. Designers and artists are constantly informing one another, taking inspiration from paintings or runway shows and giving those ideas new life across different mediums, materials, and geographies. Indeed, one might argue that art and fashion are at their most avant-garde when worlds collide. One can read all the way back to 1937, when Wallis Simpson wore the eponymous printed silk organza lobster dress created by the artist Salvador Dali and Schiaparelli for a Vogue spread. Or even more recently, such as the Takashi Murakami Louis Vuitton bags of the early 2000s, or even Ekhaus Latta displaying garments as art at the Made in L.A. exhibition at the Hammer over the weekend.

Bottega Veneta’s creative director Tomas Meier has made the most of fashion/art collaborations throughout his decade long career at the legendary Italian fashion house. For each seasonal campaign since joining the company in 2001, the creative director has teamed up with contemporary artists such as Annie Leibovitz, Ryan McGinley, Nan Goldin, Jürgen Teller, and Robert Longo, creating imagery that blends the radical look of the brand with the freshness and thoughtfulness of artistic representation.

A retrospective of this work, aptly named “The Art of Collaboration,” is currently on view at the Ullens Center in Beijing. The exhibition features fifteen years of hundreds of photos, each muddling the boundaries between what is “fashion” and what is “art.”

The exhibition will be on view until June 28th in Beijing.

AOC-China_005Installation ViewPrager-Alex_13-300Alex Prager

IMG_2733Installation View

Feature Image: Nan Goldin

Photos via ARTNET