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The Stylist Project Asks, "Is Fashion Art?"

The Stylist Project Asks, "Is Fashion Art?"

April 27, 2010

On Wednesday, April 21, LACMA’s Costume Council featured a brilliant presentation by artist Kimberly Brooks, “Art, Fame, and Fashion.” Brooks recently completed the Los Angeles component of the The Stylist Project, a series of oil paintings that will eventually be turned into a book. The Stylist Project hones in on today’s fashion influences and explores the delicate question of whether fashion is art and whether stylists are artists.

Brooks is represented by Taylor de Cordoba Gallery and her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Art Ltd., The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, Elle, C Magazine, as well as at juried shows at the Whitney and MoMA. For The Stylist Project, Brooks researched who today’s top trendsetters are, and asked them to sit for her in her studio in their own clothes. Her creative process includes taking hundreds of images of her subjects and then creating a maquette to work from. She lists the work of Henri Matisse and David Hockney as inspiration, which is clear through the sun-drenched colors and formal composition of her gorgeous paintings.

Brooks’ subjects include bold-faced L.A. fashion luminary names including Elizabeth Stewart, Liz Goldywn, Katherine Ross, Jeremy Scott, Jeanne Yang, Andrea Lieberman, and Rachel Zoe, among others. Part 2 of The Stylist Project is focused on New York’s haute fashionistas and will debut in Spring 2011. During her presentation, Brooks challenged the hierarchy of fine art versus applied arts and asked why hanging something on your wall is different than hanging something in your closet. She concluded that paintings can last hundreds of years but fashion is ephemeral by nature, so stylists are “artists of the everyday.”

Brooks’ presentation concluded with a roundtable discussion with two fashion stylistswho posed for her for The Stylist Project, Jeanne Yang and Elizabeth Stewart. Here are a few of their fun gems of knowledge from the world of celebrity styling:

  • Stylists are like interior decorators: they help you make well-edited choices and save time through their vast network of resources.
  • With celebrity clients, stylists are adept at steering clear of fashion choices that get ridiculed on blogs.
  • No one cares what is “in fashion” anymore, what matters is whether or not it is flattering on you.
  • All men think they are a size 42 jacket, which is generally way too big for them.
  • Wearing a dress is an easy way to appear stylish because it is all one piece and there is less coordinating to do.
  • Prints don’t photograph well, instead wear solid colors and accessorize with daring shoes.

  • Find the right campus or online art or design program for you!