Style
WHEN CLOTHING BECOMES INVESTMENT-GRADE ART: Dior and Peter Doig
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Dior
26.01.2021
Peter Doig is the featured artist for Dior's winter 2021 collection
Peter Doig is the featured artist for Dior's winter 2021 collection
Peter Doig is the featured artist for Dior's winter 2021 collection
Peter Doig is the featured artist for Dior's winter 2021 collection
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We’ve to admit that high fashion is turning into one hell of a great fine art lesson that we didn’t plan to attend. But it’s proliferation of appearances are timed perfectly when considering that visiting world-famous museums is out of the question and consuming some real art knowledge is as easy as looking at clothes on a rack (or an online store). The best part is some fashion designers aren’t just working with the usual names like a Basquiat or a Warhol; they are introducing new ones who have spent their entire career putting paint onto canvas in which the only fashion they understood were paint-splattered garbs or the clothing they drew on their subjects. One such individual who fits this description is Peter Doig, who has most recently been unveiled by Dior and its artistic director Kim Jones as the next featured artist in the brand’s seasonal menswear collection (in this case, for winter 2021), which has previously invited artists in the calibre of Amoako Boafo, Daniel Arsham, and Kenny Scharf. The 61-year-old Trinidad-based contemporary artist is certainly as big as they come, creating paintings and etchings since the ‘80s often based on landscapes or life moments – peppered with some deep-seated cultural commentary – either extracted from memory or seen from a photograph or even his own video recording. His wild success has been down to how he employs a mix of traditional means of painting to distil a certain unsettling viewpoint with his use of colours, composition, and peculiar cameos of irregularity. But what makes Diog a critic’s darling is also because his works sell in the several millions, a concept he has admitted not to think about or try to logicalise the value. (His 1991 masterpiece of The Architect’s Home in the Ravine was last valued at US$25 milllion.) Now that Dior has gotten his undivided attention, Doig didn’t just sit back and let Jones translate his work. He spent half the year being actively involved in the process, which can only speak volumes of the value of these pieces that will only hit shelves later this year. Doig pored through his personal archives to pull out all the paintings which featured clothing so as to draw inspiration for the collab, some of which Jones brought to life such as a multi-coloured knit sweater that depicted a hockey player (Two Trees, 2017). He contributed several original etchings and drawings too – a lion and Monsieur Dior’s dog Bobby – that were expertly translated using jacquard or mohair. Even a new version of camo was created when Dior collaged Doig’s painting of leaves, keeping the pattern true to the artist’s choice of colours and brush strokes. And such was Doig’s hands-on approach that he helped to hand-paint several of the bowler hats seen on the runway too, creating original art works on creations made by milliner Stephen Jones who is a good friend and former schoolmate. Your guess is only as good as ours as to how much a discerning collector and investor would fork out for these. But one thing’s for sure, it might be more affordable than one of his auction-grade originals.

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