Most of us have probably heard the phrase “art imitating life” before but never has it rung true as much as it is right now here in Macau. With Art Macao sweeping across the city from indoors–museums and major integrated resorts–to outdoors such as the foreign consulates and recreational parks, Macau is imbued with artistic vitality and creativity, promising surprises at every corner.
For the fashion scene though, it’s pretty obvious–whether coincidentally or not–that some aesthetics from major fashion houses draw inspiration from these art installations. Here are some looks we’ve put together that shows how fashion imitates art and sometimes, vice versa.
Happy Heads, Viktor&Rolf Fall-Couture 2017 and Valentino Fall-Couture 2019
From the styling and color palette, this combination from Happy Heads, Viktor&Rolf and Valentino is pretty obvious and literal. The use of an exaggerated headpiece with loud and vibrant hues is unmistakably similar to the “Happy Heads” outdoor art installation. These colorful heads are inspired by popular Chinese festivals. The mask is their emblem but also the link between all their works made since the creation of the Franco-Chinese visual artist duo, Benoit+Bo. For fashion brand Viktor&Rolf on the other hand, their intention is to display anything but typical and to show the surreal side of reality. With the use of the large doll heads on their models for their Fall Couture 2017 runway show, the message, same as the art installations, is to fight for a better world, put on a happy face despite present reality. Lastly, for a more recent one, Valentino’s Fall Couture 2019 collection celebrates the message of inclusivity with the diverse casting of models for this particular runway show wearing irrepressible color. More than just a regular couture show, the brand believes that the only way to make couture alive today is to embrace different women’s identities and cultures. For all their studied whimsy, this set of artistic creations keep things real.
The Wanderer, Christian Dior Fall-Couture 2017 and Armani Privé Fall-Couture 2019
Sharp, sartorial and dapper–these are the key elements that link “The Wanderer” art installation, Christian Dior and Armani Privé. A travel-centric art theme can also mean fashion inspiration on what to wear when exploring a new city and at the same time, looking chic–a statement that style shouldn’t be forfeited even during travel. “The Wanderer” by a famous Portuguese poet and author, Fernando Pessoa, is presented by home grown artist Wong Ka Long showcasing the world in Pessoa’s perspective. Christian Dior’s Fall Couture 2017 collection takes travel, maps and exploration as its major themes. Though a women’s collection, incorporation of men’s tailoring signals a certain feminist leaning. For Armani Privé’s Fall Couture 2019, the collection revolves around the tailoring template the brand is mostly known of mastering. Structured but imaginatively tailored jackets are paraded throughout the show exhibit that crisp and tailored pieces will always make a fashion statement despite the rise of streetwear. A common denominator for this set is the use of different travel hats and how they make each art piece and fashion collection similar yet very distinct.
Christian Dior www.dior.com
Armani Privé www.armani.com
Sanctuary, Maison Margiela Fall-Couture 2017 and Iris Van Herpen Fall-Couture 2019
There’s no other word for “Sanctuary”, and offerings from Maison Margiela and Iris Van Herpen other than “structural innovation”. With the use of layering and intricate detailing, this is enough proof that structuralism can both be displayed and worn. “Sanctuary” designed by João Ó and Rita Machado, is a site-specific outdoor installation located on top of the hill, within the walls of Mount Fortress. It is from the weight of the history embedded at this site that this temporary bamboo structure reveals its meaningful strategy, a shaded canopy to protect the passersby from the elements and give peace of mind, rest and contemplation before their departure to the next destination. Like the bamboo in “Sanctuary”, major pieces from Maison Margiela’s Fall Couture 2017 collection range from ribbed, corrugated and bone-like fabrics to create the hard edged and heavy aesthetic illusion. On the other hand, Iris Van Herpen, known for avant-garde styling, is continuing their legacy of executing wearable art piece inspired fashion garbs. In their Fall Couture 2019 collection, very much like the “Sanctuary”, pieces involve computer programming, physics and alchemy, to create a complicated yet pleasing to the eye garments.
Maison Margiela www.maisonmargiela.com/hk
Iris Van Herpen www.irisvanherpen.com
Contemplation of Loving Kindness, Paco Rabanne Fall 2018 and Chanel Fall 2019
As seen both at the museum and the fashion runway shows, silver, white and all things winter are the themes that resonated within the “Contemplation of Loving Kindness” artwork, Paco Rabanne and Chanel. Outdoor installation “Contemplation of Loving Kindness” by Mok Yat-san, is a set of stainless steel sculptures combining elements of Chinese ink art and the contemporary landscape signifying the inseparable relationship between the natural world and people in the urban environment. In a similar way that fashion house Paco Rabanne did for its Fall 2018 show, the collection stays true to its steel chainmail heritage meshed in with fashion classics giving that light and effortless look. To connect all the dots in this batch is the Fall 2019 collection from Chanel. Paying homage to Karl Lagerfeld, the show is full of somber yet serene pieces to capture an airiness and substance to the fashion house and its curator having all silver, white and all things winter parade the runway.
Paco Rabanne www.pacorabanne.com/uk/en