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our favourite art and fashion crossovers

Last week, Jeff Koons’ New York takeover continued when H&M christened its newest 5th Avenue location by collaborating with the iconic American artist. In a stroke of fast-fashion genius, the Swedish mega-label brought Koons’ high art to the people in the form of a mini-museum in the new location, and a limited-release handbag stamped with the artist’s signature balloon dog motif. But Koons isn’t the only artist championing the fashion crossover: adidas recently released a collaborative film project with the “Godmother of Performance Art”, Marina Abramovic. This project marks the first time her groundbreaking 1978 performance piece ‘Work Relation,’ which explores commitment and teamwork, has been reenacted (and is perhaps the world premiere of those bitchin’ Abramovic Institute lab coats). To celebrate these killer crossovers, here are i-D’s top five favourite artist and designer collaborations:

Text Emily Manning

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  • Stella McCartney and Jeff Koons go bananas

    H&M and Lady Gaga aren’t the only ones riding the Koons train; the iconic American artist has long been a source of crossover between visual art and fashion. In 2006, Stella McCartney borrowed patterns from the living art legend, showing a collection replete with Koons’ signature balloon bunnies printed on silky slip dresses. 

    Stella McCartney and Jeff Koons go bananas

  • Lady Dada: Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali keep it surreal

    Before there was Coco, there was Elsa. A member of the Italian aristocracy by birth, Schiaparelli bucked upper-class convention to become one of her generation’s most nonconformist couturiers. Much of the mid 20s cultural scene in Paris was influenced by Surrealist and Dadaist art, and ‘Schiap’ saw clothing as the ideal medium to express her larger-than-life originality. She joined forces with Surrealist artist Salvador Dali to create a hat shaped like a shoe, the famous lobster dress worn by Wallis Simpson, and the tears dress, which mimicked the effect of torn flesh. Credited with pioneering the concept of themed collections and bringing colour to couture with her signature shocking pinks and vibrant reds, Schiap’s daring partnership with Dali had the world asking “what Depression?”

    Lady Dada: Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali keep it surreal

  • Comme des Garcons and Cindy Sherman let their freak flag fly

    Rei Kawakubo and Cindy Sherman are a pair of women who have both shown a knack for straight-up dismantling the status quo around gender, beauty, and fashion. Kawakubo rejected the slinky silhouettes of Studio54 disco fashion, and made her name pioneering the sculptural look that reshaped fashion in the 80s.  Sherman, meanwhile, launched her career with the iconic “Untitled Film Stills” photography series, which reimagined women in the cinema. Perhaps it was inevitable that these creative forces would collide, as they did in 1994 when the two women came together for a Commes des Garcon advertising campaign dubbed the “Post Card Series.” The campaign broke every rule in fashion as Kawakubo and Sherman used grotesque make-up and prop styling to force the focus of the image away from the garments themselves. The result is a set of confrontational images that reject the conventions of fashion photography, making this collaboration one of the most anti-fashion luxury goods campaigns of all time.

    Comme des Garcons and Cindy Sherman let their freak flag fly

  • Nicholas Kirkwood taps into the creative conscience of the late, great Keith Haring

    You know Keith Haring as the art-activist that stood up for LGBT rights at the height of the AIDS scare, and democratised art by taking over public spaces with his vivid graffiti-style murals. You might also know him as the young creative that hung out at the Paradise Garage alongside Madonna, Grace Jones, and Andy Warhol. Haring’s universe was, at once, a space of childlike wonder and of conscientious creativity. In 2011, shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood tapped into both sides of Haring’s work, collaborating with the Keith Haring Foundation to create a line of that pulled from Haring’s bold style of neo-cave painting. Kirkwood employed the late artist’s signature motifs, including the “radiant baby,” and the “safe sex” logo, for a playful capsule collection that benefits the many charities supported by the Haring Foundation.

    Nicholas Kirkwood taps into the creative conscience of the late, great Keith Haring

  • Stephen Sprouse scrawls signature graffiti for Louis Vuitton

    Dubbed the “Sid Vicious of Seventh Avenue” in 1988, Stephen Sprouse’s punked out day-glo collections made him the posterboy for downtown gutter glam. Having spent the 70s creating the iconic images of Bowery studio mate Debbie Harry , Iggy Pop, and Axl Rose, Sprouse rose to the height of his success in the 80s. His designs inspired by pop art and neon graffiti became the MTV generation’s uniforms. If this was design, it was also art. Flash forward to 2001, when Marc Jacobs found his match in Sprouse, calling on him to create a line for Louis Vuitton. Together, Sprouse and Jacobs developed a line of bags and other accessories cheekily covered in Sprouse’s signature graffiti style, and with flamboyant pop art roses. In memory of Sprouse’s death in 2004, Marc Jacobs did a 2009 reissue of the iconic Vuitton pieces.

    Photography Walter Pfeiffer