The Editor-in-Chief of W Magazine, Stefano Tonchi, commented in the winter 2013 issue devoted to art that “Twitter-and-Instagram-savvy designers have realized that in order to make a lasting impression these days, complicated ideas have to be conveyed in a simple, direct manner with art, theater, and fashion collapsing into a single memorable moment.” Indeed. Here are three art fusion collaborations we think achieved that difficult task in the last year.
Leather meets Denim: Junya Watanabe x Loewe
The art fusion collaboration by the unconventional Japanese designer with the internationally renowned Spanish leather manufacturer has achieved its well-deserved share of buzz. Their 2013 fall collection transforming various combinations of leather and denim into a series of unforeseeably playful pieces ranging in items from wallets and bags through jackets and coats, has touched the hearts of many of us; just like children, wanting not one, but every piece of the collection. But this is not a surprise coming from Comme des Garçons, the masters of art fusion collaborations. Who else if not them?
Bubbles in Balloons: Jeff Koons x Dom Pérrignon
Two powerhouses joined forces at the end of 2013 by transforming the Venus of Willendorf, the symbol of life and energy into a striking symbol of exclusivity and decadence. The limited number (650 worldwide) of manually assembled champagne holders inspired by Koons’ Balloon Venus retailed for $20,000. The rest of us with more typical sized wallets could purchase a limited edition bottle in a gift box designed with free-reign by Mr. Koons. We admire this collaboration for its brazenness and for being spot on strategically for the Dom Pérrignon brand. Not only did they create demand and talk value, they have contributed to contemporary culture in a way most brands don’t even dare to hope for.
Poppies in the Skies: Marimekko x Finnair
Even though this three-year collaboration officially launched in 2012, it came into its own in the spring of 2013. Facing fierce competition from Asia and needing to differentiate itself on more than price, Finnair literally took its collaboration with Marimekko to the next level. Mika Ihamuotila, Marimekko CEO and Mika Vehviläinen, Finnair CEO, perceive both brands as natural partners. “With our collaboration we want to show how design can help improve the well-being of people in different moments of life,” said Ihamuotila. Making Finnair planes distinctively original and attention getting in the normally drab setting of an airport was only the beginning. Marimekko created a collection of colourful textiles, tableware and uniforms, giving passengers a jolt of Finnish design from the inside as well. “Our goal is to become a design airline, and bring our customers unique experiences for all five senses,” adds Mika Vehviläinen.
All three of these art fusion collaborations were great achievements in our opinion, primarily because all three equally benefit their respective brands and artists, as well as the cultural landscape we all inhabit.
Bravo. Well done.