2013: In ART & FASHION

In ART & FASHION, Commentary, HOME by Sam Prance

The end of the year is near. Subsequently, Prancing Through LIFE will be posting a review of the year in each of its cultural categories before concluding on the year as a whole. Each post will take a different format but will take a look at 2013′s highs and lows (more of the highs – if we’re honest). From Miley to Malala – it’s been quite a year.


art2013 has been a big year, clothes-wise. Sure, it was no meat-dress-at-the-VMAs year, but 2013 has brought us Miley in a flesh coloured, latex twin set (perhaps something to leave in 2013), the colour pink in all its wondrous glory and Alexander Wang at the helm of Balenciaga. The fashion weeks have come and gone, and subsequently, it’s now time to evaluate all the best bits of fashion this year.

1. The Met Gala

If you can remember as far back as May, then you will remember the Met Gala and its Chaos to Couture: Punk theme. If you can’t, then don’t worry, because I’m going to remind you of it now. The Met Gala is always a major event in the fashion calendar – bigger than any awards ceremony and almost bigger than Paris Fashion Week (but not quite). Overlooking the fact that punk by definition is anti-fashion, some excellent attempts were made at staying true to the chaotic punk theme. With the exception of Madonna, I found that those who did make the effort ended up looking better than those who erred on the side of couture (cough Anna Wintour cough). When I wrote about it back in May, I put the model Abbey Lee Kershaw and Rooney Mara amongst the best dressed of the night, and Kim Kardashian in that gloved, floral Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy gown as the worst. Which I stand by – however much Kim has ‘conquered the fashion world’ since, and however wonderful Riccardo Tisci is, that was probably the worst dress of the year. A bold statement, but one I will not retract.

2. Alexander Wang/Balenciaga

People were very excited about this. Wang coming to Balenciaga was this year’s Raf Simons to Dior, and just like Simons, Wang did not disappoint. His debut was the perfect mixture of homage to the house itself and signature Alexander Wang minimalism, and his Spring collection (which technically looks to 2014, but we’ll overlook that) showed that the response to his debut had given Wang a lot of confidence. It got a rather more mixed reception than the debut, but for me, it was the ideal spring collection. Tank tops with peplum, jacquard trousers? So wrong it’s right.

3. Harry Styles

Ah, Harry Styles. The really beautiful one from One Direction has had quite a year, fashion-wise. Not only has he been front row at Burberry and House of Holland, he has been seriously living up to his surname (sorry, I had to) and has swapped the chinos and snood jumpers for a stellar collection of suits and t-shirts – sounds simple, but apparently that’s what the people like, because he won the Style Icon award at the British Fashion Awards this year, which previously belonged exclusively to Alexa Chung (who actually presented it to him). 2013 taught us that, as far as menswear is concerned, simple is stylish. Stylesish. Sorry, I’ll stop now.


art1And so to the art world. From a tea-party inspired art installation winning the Turner Prize to Banksy’s residency at New York – there’s been quite a lot to gawp at, admire and debate over in art this year. And it’s not just artists getting involved – *cue chance to reference Lady GaGa*. Below are the highlights.

1. Lady GaGa

GaGa took the ARTPOP message very seriously in 2013 and collaborated with several big artists. Although the album itself may not have received the reception GaGa had hoped for – the art in and amongst it all is rather enjoyable. Jeff Koons, the American artist, designed the ARTPOP album cover. It features a sculpture of GaGa herself and parts of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Koons says it is ‘GaGa in the role of Venus — of the nature of the continuation of life’s energy and the pursuit and the enjoyment of aesthetics and of beauty’.  Indeed. She is also hanging in the Louvre, in a series of portraits by Robert Wilson. This is, by any stretch of the imagination, a rather big deal.

2. Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic has been everywhere in 2013. She is another artist who, surprise, surprise, collaborated with Lady Gaga. The result was a two minute performance art piece entitled ‘The Abramovic Method: practiced by Lady Gaga’, which caused a bit of a stir outside of the art world because Gaga is very naked in it. Abramovic’s art also inspired the concept of Jay Z’s performance art video for Picasso Baby, which shows footage from when he performed the track for 6 hours straight in the Pace Gallery, New York, featuring Abramovic herself. Working with arguably the two biggest people in music are just a couple of 2013’s highlights for the artist; as the year closes, Robert Wilson is producing ‘The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic’ which stars the artist as both herself and her mother. Not too shabby – right?

3. Damien Hirst 

Taking a break from bejewelling skulls, encasing animals and turning Rihanna into Medusa for GQ, Damien Hirst published a children’s alphabet book this year. The book, entitled ABC, teaches children the alphabet using images from his lucrative career: ‘J is for Jaws’ and so on. Hirst said of his reasonings for publishing the book that he ‘hates the idea that kids shouldn’t be able to enjoy or understand art’ and that he himself ‘felt the power of art from a very young age’. The book – although polarising in its reception – is, in my opinion, beautiful and actually a brilliant idea. It’s important that children are exposed to culture in as many ways as possible, even if the sheep in the glass case might give them a nightmare or two.

So there we have it: ART & FASHION in 2013 in a very small nutshell. Here’s to 2014 and all of art and fashion to come.

Hannah Beer

Hannah Beer is a student at University College London. She studies Italian and German. In her spare time Hannah enjoys eating red velvet cupcakes and banging on about feminism. When Hannah grows up she’d like to be Audrey Hepburn – this may prove difficult but let the haters hate. Hannah looks a lot like Audrey Hepburn so she’s half way there.

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