Thursday, 14 May 2009

Art and Fashion: A Barcelona Fusion

Here's another article I wrote, which may or may not be published, and susbsequently I may or may not get paid for. I really enjoy the process of researching and writing these type of things. I think it feels quite indulgent somehow. Anyway, here's the goods:

Maybe it was the Modernist architects and designers, who began to redesign the city around 1900, that first established an open attitude towards cross pollenisation between creative disciplines here in Barcelona. That movement, which went on to be epitomised in the city by Antoni Gaudi, fused Art with Design, and left the appearance of very few articles and affects of inhabitants lives unconsidered and un-beautified.

Like the Modernists that went before them, today’s Barcelonans are quick to disregard any perceived barriers between creative fields. In particular, contemporary art and fashion; a pair that is evidently thriving hand in hand.

Last week an intriguing display of this marriage occurred at La Otra, a Raval based boutique, which chose to celebrate the arrival of its new Women’s and Men’s collections with a ‘happening’ that included live physical theatre performed by artist Karla Flora. For the pieces she performed, Flora wore a dress and used accessories by Papisa Juana, a label designed by Ruben Ramirez, native Barcelonan and owner of La Otra. For Ramirez, the inclusion of performance was motivated by the desire to not only express an influence behind his designs, but also to create a platform for this alternative contemporary theatre.

Earlier this year, another new collection born in Barcelona was displayed in an art setting. On January 23rd, garments by MYBS (an acronym for Make Your Brain Sexier), a Barcelona based label which aims to create ‘Street Luxury’, were sported by models handing out canap├ęs at the opening of an exhibition of work created by LA artists. Curated by native Californian and former Barcelona resident Tina Ziegler, the art shown at the ‘Nobody Walks in LA’ exhibition may not have been created in Barcelona, but I think that it is testament to the open-minded and experimental attitude here that these, often curious, fusions are welcomed.

However, these fusions with fashion aren’t exclusive to the avant-garde or gallery based art worlds. Holala! Plaza, a large shop which offers an extensive range of vintage clothing, accessories and furniture, has been making links with internationally renowned graffiti artists. January 22nd saw members of the British based Scrawl Collective create a huge and impressive mural in the shop, with a complementary static exhibition of their work in an adjoining gallery space. This event, entitled ‘Case Closed’, happily coincided with the Bread & Butter trade show, and with many people spilling out from the trade show straight to Holala! Plaza, the fashion atmosphere couldn’t have been stronger. This proves that at the more urban end of the spectrum, art and fashion also inspire one another as interlinked elements of a collective, creative lifestyle.

But it is not just at random ‘happenings’ that this union can be witnessed in Barcelona. Montana Shop and Gallery has sold spray paints to graffiti enthusiasts and displayed graffiti inspired art work since 2004. As well as other related products like books and magazines, the presence of a wide range of both Men’s and Women’s streetwear brands, including Supreme Being and Volcom, gives evidence that these elements are complementary parts of the same style of living.

Iguapop Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that has a conjoined clothing store. The high end street wear brands, such as SealKay, Levi’s and Zoo York are displayed like works of art themselves in an impressive stripped down space.

People in general, and especially in Barcelona, don’t want to view clothing confined only to a shop or a catwalk, or art restricted to a gallery. They want to experience them in action, to interact with them. Whether it is a juxtaposition or complementary, they want to feel the energy that is emitted when art and fashion are allowed to meet.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Love your refashioned blouse!!

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