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Dalí and fashion: A perfect surrealistic combination

While known as the face of surrealism, Dalí's influence has spanned not just in the world of art, but also in the fashion industry. In his own words, "Art should invade life".

“The constant tragedy of life is fashion and that is why I have always liked to collaborate with (…) Madame Schiaparelli, just to prove that the idea of dressing oneself, the idea of disguising oneself, was only the consequence of the traumatic experience of birth, which is the strongest of all the traumas that a human being can experience, since it is the first.”

In the 20th century a strange and bizarre movement was created which was emphasized on the untapped power of dreams and the release of the unconscious mind. Combined, the limits of the imagination were set loose through techniques such as automatism and juxtapositions. This movement is known as surrealism.

And while it influenced a number of sectors including art, literature, culture and politics, it had a major effect on fashion as well.

Salvador Dali wearing a kidskin suit of his own design - Gentleman’s Quarterly 1963 Cover

Dalí left his mark on the fashion world through a touch of surrealism on both clothes and jewelerry. Moreover, his inspiration to design came from a meeting with none other Coco Chanel. Dalí drew inspiration for his fashion work from many of his paintings including his most popular one "The Persistence of Memory". This was shown in his collaboration with Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion designer with a touch of surrealism. Their collaboration resulted in the creation of the iconic jewel “The Eye of Time”, a brooch made of diamonds and ruby with the face of a clock imposed within an eye that sheds a single tear.

Madelle Hegeler shows off jewelry by Salvador Dalí in New York

Come on, this couldn’t be more Dalí!

  • Additionally, some of their other collaborations included the Lobster Dinner Dress (could be inspired by Dalí's "Lobster telephone", a work influenced by none other than Sigmund Freud). The Lobster Dress from 1937 had the drawing of Dalí’s immense blood-red lobster on a plain white organdy evening gown, that was highly symbolic of his obsession with sex. (Whop whop an additional info for Dalí's personal life hehe)

  • The infamous Shoe-hat has been described as the peak of surrealistic absurdity and this was mostly due to its inspiration which was a picture taken by Dalí's wife in 1933.

In Dalí's words he always aspired to "create fantastical things, magical things, things like in a dream". And it shows. His eccentric ways are still apparent in today's fashion world.

Designers have demonstrated a renewed kinship to the art movement with Dior's Autumn-Winter 2020 couture collection being a primary example since it offers a different perspective of fashion with the help of the Surrealistic photography campaign shot by Brigitte Niewdermair which focused on extreme motifs like desmbodied hands and eyes.

The artistic director Daniel Roseberry showed his own vision extended which had shocking pink suits covered in ghostly white limbs, shirts painted with breasts, and gold jewelry in the shape of nails, noses, and bulbous teeth. Dali's influence could be spotted from a mile away as this showcase just screams Surrealism.

Hopefully, our post has aided to understand any influences of Salvador Dali in modern art and/or fashion. Next time you see something that seems both bizzare and surreal, remember that Salvador Dali was one of the main influences of this movement.

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