The art world has long been a source of inspiration for fashion designers and sometimes these collaborations will intersect perfectly and develop legendary status.
Some of these notable mash-ups can be traced as far back as the 1930s, such as when Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli collaborated with surrealist artist Salvador Dali and a collection of dresses Yves Saint Laurent created in 1965 was inspired by the colour block paintings of Piet Mondrian. Both examples remain iconic today.
In more modern times, Marc Jacobs, during his tenure at Louis Vuitton during the late 1990s, proved that these art world pairings can also have blockbuster commercial success, as proven with a 13-year collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
But it’s not everyday you hear that the works of an 85-year old-artist — one born in Montreal, no less — continues to be a source of inspiration for a major international fashion retailer.
Abstract artist Dorothea Rockburne, now based in New York, is known for her large-scale installations and paintings, using a mixture of experimental materials from paper to crude oil. Her artwork, which also explores a relationship with higher mathematics, has always been a fascination with the design team at COS, the uber-cool Swedish retailer. So much so, in fact, that the deep pockets of the brand (its parent company is the behemoth fashion staple H&M) is supporting Rockburne’s current exhibition of large scale works at the Dia Art Foundation in upstate New York.
It’s easy to see why the works of the artist and the retailer makes for a perfect equation. Rockburne’s exploration and manipulation of materials using simple geometry theories and her colour palette is in sync with the understated, yet experimental, look behind the designs of COS.
For the Zoomer-aged consumer unfamiliar with COS, the women’s and men’s collections hold much appeal. There is a modern design sensibility to the clothing, with fluid, easy shapes and generous proportions with sophisticated design touches. The look also transcend trends and go beyond lasting just one season.
Think of the stark minimalist of a Jil Sander or the poetic-meets-modern artistry of Marni and you’ll get an idea of the understated look of label, but with super-affordable price tags.
Below, a selection of the spring/summer collection at COS inspired by the artwork of Dorothea Rockburne.
Women’s top, $125.
Women’s trousers, $135
Men’s short sleeve shirt, $135
Men’s pants, $125.
Women’s top, $125