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by Flora Naughtie

‘Across Art and Fashion’ is the new exhibition from the Ferragamo foundation and it looks at the relationship between art and fashion.

The work of influential designers from the mid-20th century to today are shown with iconic works of art illustrating the dialogue that exists between the two.

Salvatore Ferragamo, Dartboard , 1958, court shoes in yellow ocher suede and polychrome kid applications.


Salvatore Ferragamo, the celebrated Florentine shoe designer, and his interest in 20th century avant-garde movements provides the basis for the show. His fabulous ochre Tirassegno pump from 1958 takes pride of place; dotted with polychrome kidskin appliqués Ferragamo was specifically referencing his contemporary, the artist Kenneth Noland. Noland’s painting ‘Untitled’- from the same year – is displayed alongside it.

Taking Ferragamo as a starting point the curators expand the trend using other designers and art movements to demonstrate the continuous crossover. Issey Miyake’s 1980 work Plastic Body, on loan from Tokyo, shows emphatically Miyake’s foray into the visual arts. Even more recent inclusions such as Viktor & Rolf’s ‘Irina’ – part of their ‘Shirt Symphony’ 2011 collection  – flirts on the boundary between wearable fashion and outlandish visual art.

Issey Miyake, Plastic Body , 1980, bodice-reinforced plastic fiber. Tokyo, The Miyake Issey Foundation.


Yves Saint Laurent’s famous colour-block dress, inspired by Piet Mondrian’s Composition paintings, is an obvious but effective choice for the narrative of the show. Another early inclusion, a 1937 Elsa Schiaparelli evening dress loaned from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a perfect example of a collaboration between artist and designer. In this case the superstar Surrealist, Salvador Dali.

Pop-Art also makes an appearance, an Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Dress, which plays on one of his iconic images from the later 20th century. Of all of them, it’s perhaps this that most effectively shows how culture and art have been translated into fashion through the decades.

‘Across Art & Fashion’ is at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo until 7th April 2017.