Fashion and art at the cultural olympiad

Posted filed underDesign, England, Fashion, Sports.


Mary Katrantzou and Nicholas Kirkwood are among the designers to collaborate with artists for the cultural arm of the Olympics in London this summer. If you think that the relationship between fashion and the Olympics begins and ends with that Stella McCartney designed kit, think again. This month sees the unveiling of a fashion project which is part of the London 2012 Festival – the cultural celebration of the Olympic Games.

Imogen Fox reports for The Guardian: “The rather dignified sounding Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion is a collaboration between fashion and the arts, the first event of what is being termed the Cultural Olympiad. Nine fashion designers have been paired with nine leading visual artists and tasked with creating a one-off artwork that showcased each of their design strengths. With typical mayoral gusto, which attendees of London Fashion Week are well used to seeing in full flow, Boris Johnson calls BFC backed project a “melding of two dynamic strands” of creativity.

Although the works are only due to be unveiled at an auction gala on 27 June, Guardian fashion has been given an exclusive preview of two of the works by our favourite designers – print supremo Mary Katrantzou and shoe tsar Nicholas Kirkwood.

Katrantzou has been paired with Mark Titchner, a former Turner Prize nominee whose work centres on systems of belief. Digital imagery is important to both artists and so they’ve come up with an animated film entitled “Tint the pallid landscape (off to the wars in lace)”. Katrantzou’s elaborate prints are the landscape background for Titchner’s text which is a list of Olympic and Paralympic qualities such as strength, courage, speed and precision. Both the artist and the designer talk about “combination” with this artwork. Titchner sees it as “an ecstatic, aesthetic flow where images and texts pass”, whilst Katrantzou talks about the “crayola box colour” of the landscape which features layers of everyday objects (fashion forensic types should check out the cameo appearance by the yellow pencils that were embroidered onto a skirt in her autumn 12 collection).