Cover Yourself Head to Toe in Artist Collaborations This Fashion Week
Jean-Michel Basquiat bags, César Baldaccini necklaces, and Kenny Scharf sweats are among the unexpected sartorial offerings
While Fashion Week looks more than a little bit different this season, designers are digging deeper than ever to develop collections that will surprise, delight, and inspire, even in the midst of a global pandemic. It seems physical distance and stunted travel have only led to more exciting collaborations, particularly between fashion designers and artists or art institutions. Reflecting a multitude of styles, artful clothing and accessories abound, with sales of many of those pieces going to support a charitable cause. From shoes to necklaces, loungewear to high fashion, these recent collaborations include fresh takes on iconic works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Claude Monet, as well as innovative designs by emerging artists.
Heron Preston x Kenny Scharf
A creative talent whose résumé includes DJ, artist, creative director, and designer, Heron Preston skyrocketed to fashion fame when he launched a collection in 2018 with NASA for its 60th anniversary. Since then, he’s become one of the biggest names in street-style fashion, making him a perfect match for artist and muralist Kenny Scharf. The two collaborated on Preston’s fall/winter 2020 collection, which renders Scharf’s 1998 Meanie painting on hoodies, tees, button-downs, and more.
Namacheko x Gregory Crewdson
One of the most unexpected yet inspiring collaborations comes from Belgian fashion label Namacheko, which collaborated with Gregory Crewdson for its fall/winter 2020 collection. By using an 18th-century method of warp printing, in which individual threads are printed before they are woven, Namacheko imbues the artist’s arrestingly eerie photographs with movement. The range of capes, knitwear, dresses, scarves, and more will soon be available at retailers including the Gagosian Shop.
Bella Freud and Karla Welch x Contemporary Artists
British fashion designer Bella Freud recently partnered with Los Angeles–based celebrity stylist Karla Welch for a limited-edition line of T-shirts whose proceeds will benefit U.S. and U.K. nonprofits that support victims of domestic abuse—an issue that has escalated during the COVID-19 quarantine. Artists represented include Francis Bacon, Ellen Gallagher, John Giorno, Beatriz Milhazes, Annie Morris, Ugo Rondinone, and the designer’s father, Lucian Freud.
Coach x Jean-Michel Basquiat
For its latest collection, Coach tapped into the enduring power of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a legendary artist who has inspired numerous contemporary fashion collaborations. “Basquiat is the ultimate cultural icon and a symbol of the unorthodox creativity that is nurtured in a place like New York,” Coach creative director Stuart Vevers said in a statement. Handbags, accessories, attire, and shoes reflect a huge range of products emblazoned with the artist’s colorful crowns, dinosaurs, skylines, faces, and phrases.
Tory Burch x Francesca DiMattio
A frequent collaborator and passionate collector, Tory Burch worked with New York–based ceramist Francesca DiMattio for her fall/winter 2020 collection. (Burch was also the artist’s first buyer.) Appropriately staged at Sotheby’s New York, the designer’s runway show featured models clad in floral prints designed by DiMattio strutting down a catwalk adorned with the artist’s large porcelain sculptures.
Celine x César Baldaccini
This summer Celine teamed up with the foundation of noted French sculptor César Baldaccini to channel his oeuvre in jewelry form. The limited-edition necklace collection offers gold vermeil and silver designs, imagining the artist’s crumpled, scrap-metal “Compression” sculptures in precious materials. The line also reflects Baldaccini’s own interest in making jewelry, including totemic necklaces. Each piece is numbered and comes in a box stamped with the artist’s signature.
Vans x MoMA
Should you wish to show your excitement for the Museum of Modern Art’s buzzed-about reopening in New York, the institution has just dropped a new line with Vans. Celebrating the artists in MoMA’s permanent collection, the collaboration will debut in two parts. The first apparel and sneaker launch includes Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory, Vasily Kandinsky’s Orange, and Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, while pieces showcasing the work of Edvard Munch, Lybov Popova, Faith Ringgold, and Jackson Pollock are to come later this year. The collection will be available for purchase starting September 30 at Vans, MoMA Design Store, and Nordstrom.
Lemaire x Martín Ramírez
Staged at German artist Ulla von Brandenburg’s solo exhibition at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo, Christophe Lemaire’s fall/winter 2020 collection featured the work of another creative talent: the late Mexican artist Martín Ramírez. After a sea of neutral outerwear, the presentation concluded with an elegant, seamless integration of garments incorporating Ramírez’s deer illustrations and swirling abstractions.
Onitsuka Tiger x Brian Kenny
Japanese company Onitsuka Tiger just unveiled a new, 26-piece line with New York contemporary artist Brian Kenny. Apparel, accessories, and shoes feature the artist’s signature rainbow-hued patchwork designs for one of the most vibrant and kaleidoscopic collections of the season.
The Row x Beverly Pepper
For The Row’s fall/winter 2020 show, founders Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen paid homage to American artist Beverly Pepper, who died a week prior to the collection’s premiere. Not only did the sculptor’s towering metal artworks line the runway, but the garments themselves evoked the artist’s earthy color palette and long, imposing silhouettes.
Reese Cooper x Juliet Johnstone
Though artist and designer Juliet Johnstone may still be considered up and coming, her butterfly-laden fashions have already attracted the likes of Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa. She recently collaborated with Reese Cooper, first runner-up of the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, for his spring/summer 2021 collection. If you cannot wait for the arrival of the hand-painted skirt they designed, look out for an extended capsule collection launching exclusively on ssense.com this fall.
MatchesFashion x Contemporary Artists
This summer, global luxury shopping destination MatchesFashion unveiled nine face masks designed by six renowned contemporary artists to be sold exclusively on its site. The limited-edition lineup includes styles by Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Rashid Johnson, Lorna Simpson, and Raymond Pettibon, as well as Rosemarie Trockel, who has produced four distinct versions. Behind this artist collaboration is Wedel Art Collective, a new initiative founded by art advisor Amelie von Wedel to raise funds for COVID-19 relief.