Surrealism in fashion
- Nele Bernheim
Surrealism was a 20th-century international intellectual movement centred in Paris. It was characterized by the belief in the creative powers of the subconscious mind. Initially manifested in literature, from the mid-1920s onwards Surrealism extended to the visual and decorative arts, and from then on Surrealism developed a mutual affinity with fashion. On the one hand, fashion was appropriated by Surrealists as a symbol of the ephemeral and of metamorphosis, and it provided artists with a powerful metaphor. On the other hand, Surrealism, with its disconcerting imagery, its displacement of conventional elements, its quest for convulsive beauty and its propensity to surprise and shock, was exploited by couturiers who had strong bonds with the avant-garde ( see fig. ). This interaction reached its apogee in Paris in the late 1930s.
As early as 1927, the Belgian couture house Norine appliquéd a Max(imilian) Ernst design onto a sports ensemble. That same year, ...