Prior to the bonding between the Surrealist movement and the fashion industry such a relationship would have seemed impossible. In the past, art movements had generally considered fashion as disposable and unsubstantial, and most certainly not as an art form in its own right. This bond that formed between the two genres allowed design to move forward in an unprecedented way, with artists anddesigners collaborating on clothing, accessories, interior design and for fashion photography to become an art form in its own right. The objective of this essay is to identify the links between the avant-garde Surrealism movement and fashion and how they influenced each other.
In order to do so, this essay will be structured to understand the surrealist movement and its context, the fashion at thetime and the common links between them. Also to expose how the relationship was developed from the very beginning.
To understand how the link between these two started, it is necessary to explain the social and political context at the time and the origin of the Surrealist movement. World War I had scattered the writers and artists who had been based in Paris. Many of them became involvedwith the Dada movement that began in Zurich during the war, believing that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values had brought the conflict of the war upon the world. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestoes, art theory, theatre and graphic design. It concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art throughanti-art cultural works. Its purpose was to ridicule what its participants considered to be the meaningless of the modern world. Dadaism was also anti-bourgeois and anarchist in nature. The cultural movement’s activities included public gatherings, demonstrations and publication of art and literary journals.
After the war, the Dada activities continued in Paris, and gave birth to theSurrealist movement, that began in the early 1920’s and is best known for the visual art works and writings of the group members. From the 1920s onward, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film and music of many countries. Surrealist works feature elements of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and a non sequitur . The movement’s leader, Andre Bretonwas explicit in his assentation that Surrealism was above all, a revolutionary movement.
The codification of Surrealist practice had been an integral aspect of Breton’s leadership of the movement with the publication of the First Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. During the 1920s he directed the group activities towards an exploration of the unconscious, predominantly using automatic techniques.This exploration was based on Sigmund Freud’s theory, who was one of the key influences of Surrealism, along with Leon Trotsky and Isadore Ducassee. This theory about the unconscious was associated with the dislocation of objects and the analogy of dreams that was clearly reflected in Surrealist works.
In terms of the fashion world, the 1920s was a decade in which fashion entered the modern era.It was the period in which women first liberated themselves from constricting fashions and began to wear more comfortable clothes. Women of all classes worked to help the war, therefore clothes had to change, women couldn’t wear the “Belle époque” outfits. In this sense, the war was a great equalizer. The 1920’s are characterized by two distinct periods of fashion. In the early 1920’s changeprogressed slowly, as many were reluctant to adapt to new styles. From 1925 onwards, the public passionately embraced the styles associated with the Roaring Twenties.
The romance between fashion and the Surrealist movement began in the early 20’s when the movement broke away from the written word to embrace objects. The appeal of Surrealism to the fashion industry is instantly obvious in...
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