This is despite the fact that art and fashion began intersecting hundreds of years ago, igniting in the Renaissance period, precisely in Italy during the 15th century. Fashion in the 15th and 16th century was influenced by the art of the time, and was inspired by masterpieces created by artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Botticelli. Fashion designers of the Renaissance were known for their extravagant and costly accessories, ranging from velvet fabrics, brocades (fancy stitching), ribbons and jewels. This desire for fancy clothing in the fashion world mirrored the craving for flamboyant works of art in the art world.
The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of art as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power,” puts fashion in the same realm as art. Fashion, when executed at the hands of certain avant garde designers, like Viktor & Rolf and the late Alexander McQueen, can be an expression or use of creative skill and imagination and are true works of art.
There are others who agree with Lagerfeld : Prada, Marc Jacobs, Comme des Garcons’s Rei Kawakubo and Coco Chanel (1).They support the idea that fashion isn’t art. Fashion functions with the purpose of clothing the human body and protecting it from environmental elements. At the hands of mass-market retailers, it merely becomes a commodity to sell and profit from. Art, on the other hand, while also commercial in some aspects, is created at the whim of the artist.
Perhaps for now it is best to think of fashion and art as having a relationship where they feed off each other.
Is Fashion Art? Karl Lagerfeld Puts the Debate Back Into the Spotlight by Dismissing the Notion