Blurring the lines between art and fashion

Estimated read time 6 min read

International modern and contemporary art fair Art Basel has unveiled its second edition in the French capital, where it will be showing from October 20 to 22 with the name “Paris+ by Art Basel”. Set under the dome of the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, the event, which for partners can boast big fashion and luxury names such as Louis Vuitton and Audemars Piguet, promises to attract the likes of art aficionados and fashion followers alike, as many industry parties and other hip happenings are orbiting around the fair. 

Rachelle Cunningham

The Wonderland Exhibition: Where fashion figures dabble into art 

Coinciding with Paris+ Art Basel’s calendar but not officially a part of it, there is the Wonderland exhibition, imagined by Paris-based art critic and curator Nikita Dmitriev and held within the Marais district’s Basia Embiricos gallery. The art show features twenty artists – most of whom have direct ties within the fashion industry. For instance, French supermodel Inès de La Fressange’s daughter Nine d’Urso made her gallery debut as a visual artist for Wonderland, showcasing a wall of small, potion-like bottles. The twenty-nine year old, through this exhibition, expressed to guests during the show wanting “another method of ‘recycling’ psychic energy into art.” She had asked her entourage to “confide in her with their secrets,” which she had then placed in one of said bottles, the former taking the shape of an allegorical drawing which was then slipped inside. 

Another major “nepo baby” – short for “nepotism baby” and defined by being the child or sibling of a celebrity who has found success in the same or a similar industry as their’s – was Xavier de Vilmorin, trendy stylist and ex-creative director of Rochas Charles de Vilmorin‘s younger brother. The 22-year old painter, whose art is inspired by expressionist and cubist movements, showed a body of several vividly-coloured acrylic works. The paintings take the form of deconstructed portraits, marked by symbols of onirism such as with a fragmented, cloud-shaped ear or a flower taking the shape of a nipple. 

Other notable artists showing at the Wonderland exhibition include Dublin-born Rachel Cunningham (who counts Chanel amongst her clients) and her whimsical, Byronesque paintings. Not to forget French socialite sisters Mélanie and Sissy de Pourtalès and designer Charles Anastase, who owns his own eponymous fashion brand and describes himself on Instagram as an “artist with a label”.

Wonderland – Gallerie Basia Embiricos – 14 rue des Jardins Saint-Paul, 75004 Paris
October 13 to 19, 2023

Fashion and art collide, as seen at The Imaginary Museumx TATRAS

Geoffrey Lillemon- Digital puffer jacket

Described in a press release as a “museum without walls” and inspired by the book “Le Musée Imaginaire” of former French minister of culture André Malraux, the Imaginary Museum gallery offers an immersive experience displaying the works of 12 artists within both digital and physical realms. After scanning a QR code, guests could enter the space and get access to virtual art installations integrated through their phone lenses thanks to Virtual and Augmented Reality. Or a way of democratizing art by “visiting the exhibition from anywhere, without having to go to the physical gallery.” On its website, one can read on its one-sentence homepage: “The Imaginary Museum is an exhibition and digital platform meant for mobile devices”.

The event is supported by Japanese luxury outerwear brand Tatras. The brand presented its latest collection as a part of the exhibition in a space adjacent to the gallery, where guests could rummage through racks of minimalist, utilitarian yet cool puffer jackets.

Digital artist Geoffrey Lillemon created for The Imaginary Museum two digital puffer jacket artworks, one of which comes alive onscreen as it swells and writhes onto the press kit’s page. As for its static counterpart, it can be found on the invitation to the event, and rises in the shape of a long, hooded puffer with for a backdrop two tornadoes in action.

When asked about the reasons behind the collaboration, exhibition curator Mehdi Dakhli explains to us: “Fashion brands play a significant role in how individuals perceive and interact with contemporary culture, especially nowadays. Before, when John Galliano was at Dior in the early 2000’s, fashion collections inspired by art works and artists were niche. Now, for instance “star” designers like Kim Jones democratize fashion and art’s implication within it by opening his collections to a larger audience. I believe that brands and artists need each other, and must collaborate to help enrich the world’s artistic and cultural landscape.” 
The Imaginary Museum x Tatras is open to the public from October 17 to 22 at 43 rue de Montmorency 75003 

Big fashion names in the name of art: Louis Vuitton and Jean-Paul Gaultier for Paris+ Art Basel

Louis Vuitton Art Basel 2023 – FN

French luxury house Louis Vuitton has partnered with Paris+ Art Basel to unveil a curated ensemble of artists’ collaborative works with the brand throughout the years, and a display of specially commissioned trunks by masters such as Henri Matisse or Francis Picabia. Within the massive Grand Palais Ephémère space, designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, one can find upon entrance the Louis Vuitton booth, and gaze at the complete collection of the Artycapucines Collection – put on show entirely for the first time. Fashion-frenzied guests can therefore find the iconic house bag declined and uniquely revisited by contemporary artists of the caliber of Daniel Buren, Alex Israel, Paola Pivi and Urs Fischer.

Not only that, but to feed the eye of the hard-to-impress gallerygoer, the LVMH powerhouse has put on display a plethora of art collaboration pièces de résistance, such as a self-portrait wax figure by artist Yayoi Kusama, a logotyped Louis Vuitton skateboard by Stephen Sprouse or even a rare panda-printed Takashi Murakami trunk. 

All within the impressive Paris+ Art Basel fair, which boasts the curations of world-famous galleries such as New York’s White Cube or Paris-originated Gallerie Perrotin. The well-trained, art-loving eye attending will be able to recognize art pieces by major modern and contemporary actors such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons to name only but a few. 

And for those seeking to decompress after a long day of gallery and art buying, Jean-Paul Gaultier combined forces with Paris+ Art Basel to throw a party on October 18 at the brand’s headquarters – which happen to be at the center of Paris’s creative district. The massive turn-of-the-19th-century building, which account for a staggering 5,500 square meters, transformed itself into a colossal dancefloor and greeted fashion and art’s crème de la crème, who could be found raging until after one in the morning to techno sets by cool kid DJs $aritaaa and Broodo Ramses and a performance by special guest rapper Jeleel. 

Paris+ Art Basel 19th -23rd October 2022 at the Grand Palais Éphémère, 2 Place Joffre, 75007 Paris.


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