She Wears Her Art On Her Sleeve
You might not believe it looking outside your window but the summer season is on its way to Hong Kong. With it comes a host of sizzling events and parties, as well as fresh ideas for the latest injection into your wardrobe!
This week sees Art Central and Art Basel hitting Hong Kong and I’ll admit; I could not be more excited to see what creative energy that brings to the 852. If you thought this place was hip before, just wait for the influx of artists, celebs and general cool kids as two of the biggest social events of the season come to play. Together.
But while there may be an air of excitement around, there is also the haunting question I ask myself pretty much every Saturday night before hitting the town… WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO WEAR? And now there is the added pressure of being surrounded by die hards (and try hards) who make everything look so effortless and down right cool.
Everyone from photographers, gallery owners, general IT people and hipsters will be boogey-ing to the sweet, sweet sounds of art theories and interpretations. So how do you dress for Art Week? The safe answer: all black everything. It is chic and simple but sophisticated and edgy enough to give you that element of trend-without-trying. And easily done up with the right accessories.
But you’re reading this because you’re a Sassy Girl, so here is some inspiration and guidance for when you want to add a little extra to your gallery. Fashion and art are synonymous and there is no denying the fact that one inspires the other; or that the two are constantly delving into each other’s histories and archives for newness. Designers and fashion houses collaborate with artists all the time, and prints and textures are taken from one industry to another to create dynamic pieces both on and off the runway.
Some of the more recent collections from big name designers like Valentino, Schiaparelli, Alexander McQueen or high street mavericks Topshop and H&M suggest that the relationship is far more intimate than previously credited. Painted faces at Jacquemus for his AW’16 collection, hair helmets at the always controversial Rick Owens’ latest show and sculptural design at Comme Des Garçons and Hussein Chalayan expand the idea that the two are unable to be separated. And AW’16 at Gucci was all about graffiti – with a collaboration between the esteemed Italian fashion house and artist Trouble Andrew aka GucciGhost.
One of the greatest and longest-standing examples of this artistic union is Prada: the Spring/Summer 2011 campaign had direct references to some extraordinary creations, most significantly Blu Mural in Nicaragua – an enormous banana-covered wall that was translated into minimal baroque garments for Prada. The SS’14 campaign transported art onto fabric and models functioned as galleries showcasing spectacular portraits. And who can forgot the blatant, yet brilliant partnership between Louis Vuitton and Stephen Sprouse in the 2001 Graffiti collection – a partnership so successful it was revisited by Marc Jacobs for the brand in 2009 as a way of honouring the late artist and his vibrant splashes of exhilaration.
The travelling and wonderfully animated Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition gives a first-hand preview of potential products for upcoming seasons. I think it’s safe to say that the brightly coloured underwater silhouettes could make their way down a runway in the near future – perhaps a Céline coat or a Mary Katrantzou skirt, while the soft drip of a Monet masterpiece has been easily transferred to chiffon gowns and tulle-lined, full length skirts in numerous collection for several designers.
So how do you take on such a dynamic and obvious relationship for Hong Kong’s Art Week?
Think bold and out of the box. Graphic prints in unconventional silhouettes will give you an instant edge, while primary colours remind us of our first artistic experiences. Fabrics imprinted with actual pieces of art are also a hit and will create a talking point while you sip your champagne and rub shoulders with the artsy kids. Texture is also a way to incorporate tart into your aesthetic – think laser cut lace, origami folds or thick, exposed stitches. Anything that plays with the notion of difference.
Feeling inspired? Well now is the time to DIY. Art, like fashion, is incredibly subjective and personal and what you create is open for interpretation. A huge trend at the moment is the idea of customising your clothes; with brands offering their consumers the chance to personalise and develop their product – from Nike ID to blogger Chiara Ferragni’s recently launched shoe collection that comes with detachable emoji add-ons.
Denim is the easiest and, to put it simply, coolest custom, and top bloggers have integrated the timeless look with new technology. Get creative: cut some holes, stitch some silliness on and make it YOURS. There is nothing more artistic than presenting your identity and expressing yourself and what better way than through fashion? Nothing beats a one-of-a-kind original and the art lovers you rub shoulders with this week will be all over it. This is a perfect excuse to play dress up and release your inner child and experiment!
If you’re feeling bold but not brave, have fun with accessories. Attach a colourful bag charm to your plain handbag – a trend that started at Fendi with mini Karl Lagerfeld furballs (“Karlitos”) and has trickled down into Ladies Market in Mong Kok.
Wear an arm stack of vivid bracelets or layer chunky necklaces; a wide-brimmed hat in a colour other than black, try out a bright lip stick or some structured sunnies, get yourself some crazy kicks (like the Tinker Hatfield Nike Air Max’s in bold primary colours) on Sneaker Street. And if you’re one of those super cool people that is lucky enough to own a piece of wearable tech, then make sure it is featured in your Art Week ensemble. It’s a massive trend and very urban chic. Functional fashion, you know.
Remember, the most important thing you can wear is a sense of conviction. There is nothing more stylish than someone owning their look – and nothing worse than someone who is obviously uncomfortable and only dresses the way they are because they think other people will find it cool. Whatever it is, HAVE FUN. People take art and fashion too seriously sometimes. Don’t be like them. Be you, you’re magic!