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The Surrealist Movement In Art's Influence On Fashion

1611 words - 6 pages

The Surrealist Movement in Art’s Influence on Fashion


This essay aims to analyse the key role that the surrealist movement has played on fashion and the fashion industry. Both from a historical point of view, as well as its continued impact on fashion today, as a source of inspiration for contemporary fashion designers.

In this essay I will account for how the Surrealist movement in art has influenced the progress and growth of fashion worldwide and our sense of appearance. Furthermore, this essay will analyse the influence that surrealism has been having on fashion today.

I will also be discussing the influence that Elsa Schiaparelli has been having on the distinct creation of surrealism in fashion, focusing specifically on how she became the leading figure in merging art with fashion by introducing surrealist ideas in her designs. Also her collaborations with artists such as Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Jean Cocteau will be discussed in this essay.

Surrealism and the surrealist movement
Surrealism and the surrealist movement is a ‘cultural’ movement that began around 1920’s, and is best known for its visual art works and writings. According to André Berton, the aim was “to resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality” (Breton 1969:14). Surrealists incorporated “elements of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and ‘non sequitur”. Hence, creating unnerving, illogical paintings with photographic precision, which created strange creatures or settings from everyday real objects and developed advanced painting techniques, which allowed the unconscious to be expressed by the self (Martin 1987:26; Pass 2011:30).

Surrealism as a movement developed out of the Dada activities during World War I and its most important development location for ideas was Paris. Surrealism, through its roots in Dadaism, was a reaction to the overall philosophy of rationalism, which many intellectuals felt had caused the disaster of World War I (Waldberg 1997; Pass 2011:27). From 1920’s onward, the movement quickly spread around the world including French colonies, affecting visual arts; literature; fiction and mainly horror films, and music of many societies, as well as “political ideologies and practice, philosophy, and social theory” (Waldberg 1997).

Most of us connect surrealism with art and images from Dali and his generation. However, the artists of the surrealist movement regard their work as an expression of the original philosophical movement with the works being an artefact that philosophy. André Breton was clearly in his view that surrealism was above all, a revolutionary and radical philosophical movement, explaining that is not a matter of aesthetics, but rather a way of thinking, a point of view (Waldberg 1997; Pass 2011:29-30).

Forms, symbolism and metaphors in surrealism
As mentioned surrealism, like Dadaism, tried to distance itself from contemporary culture and sought to...

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