Fashion and art: over to the fashion insiders

Fashion / Graphics / Photography By Stefano Guerrini
Federico Rocca, fashion editor

Your favourite artist? 

The terribly refined “affectation” of Alfons Mucha, the intimacy of Silvestro Lega, the light of Vermeer, the absolute genius of Francis Bacon, the anxiety of Cy Twombly, the bitter irony of Damien Hirst, the synthesis of Alberto Burri, the fables of Rousseau Le Douanier. I don’t have a favourite. These are just the first that come to mind. And if they are the first, there must be a reason.

Favourite work of art? 
“Isle of the dead” by Arnold Böcklin (in all its versions). This work poses a series of disturbing questions and perhaps also provides the answers. Answers that are no less disturbing. What time is it? Dawn or sunset? Why are those trees so close together? Who is waiting on the island? And where are the others?

Your favourite designer? 
Again in this case, it is difficult to choose The designer from the designers. Ann Demeulemeester is the first name that springs to mind. I love coherent designers with a very well-defined recognisable aesthetics (shall we say “style”? It is not a bad word, but even “taste” would do, better perhaps). This Belgian designer’s taste is very similar to mine. I like to wear it, basically. It makes me feel at ease, which is no small thing. The same goes for Rick Owens, Dries van Noten, Damir Doma. In an absolute sense, I recognise the value, in womenswear, of Alber Elbaz, Tomas Maier, Haider Ackermann and Phoebe Philo. Limiting ourselves to the living and those still working reduces our embarrassment.

A moment linked to fashion that left its mark on you?
The interview I did with Piero Tosi, legendary costume stylist for Visconti, for my book on Silvana Mangano. A genius, history, Cinema. And once again the idea that listening to old people (the elderly is a terribly word, dripping with hypocrisy) makes sense. Especially at a time when what is new – as an absolute value, unfettered, abstract from any other connotation – seems to be the panacea for all problems.

Art and Fashion. What link do they have?
They can be exactly the same thing. But they can also be complete opposites. In my opinion, fashion must be also and above all clothing. I am very intrigued by a search for possible equilibrium between aesthetics and reality, tangibility and wearability. But I also think that fashion, when it goes beyond the limits, as in the case of McQueen, Margiela, the best Chalayan and so on, is perhaps the most “pure” art of recent decades. It’s up there with films, we could say.