Earlier this month, I stood in my local bookstore thumbing through the December issue of Harpers Bazaar when, just as I was about to put it back on the rack, I caught a glimpse of an unmistakable face. Those big, bold eyes and that handlebar mustache could only belong to one man. But what was he doing in a fashion magazine almost 24 years after his death?
The first time I saw a Salvador Dali painting or learned about the Surrealist movement was during a high school field trip to the Salvador Dali Museum located in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was mesmerized by the visual complexity of his paintings. More so, however, the artist himself intrigued me. The depths of his personality, the seemingly schizophrenic nature of his Freudian inspiration, and his almost obsessive affection when it came to his wife, left me wanting to learn more about this artistic icon of the 20th century and the Surrealist movement.
Over the next almost fifteen years, I would read about Dali and return to the museum on more than one occasion. I would absorb every rehearsed line from the volunteer tour guides. And, while I learned more about his personality and how his worldviews inspired his different artistic endeavors, the information in the Harper’s Bazaar article that I now found staring up at me had somehow escaped me. Salvador Dali had been an inspiration in the fashion world.
Dali and the Fashion World
Granted, it was a match that made perfect sense. Dali refused to be limited, just as the HB article highlighted. Fashion has always been notorious for pushing the boundaries and boundaries were always a foreign concept to Dali. Fashion is often a surreal reality and Dali was the originator and king of surreal. The combination of flexible boundaries and alternate universes continue to exist in the fashion industry- no doubt, a lasting mark made by the man with the handlebar mustache. Whether it was collaborations with Chanel or, arguably, his equal in the controversial and Chanel’s biggest rival Elsa Schiaparelli, Dali left his unmistakable mark on the history of fashion.
I could not leave the bookstore without adding the December issue of Harpers Bazaar to my Dali collection. After all, I now have a whole new side of Dali to intrigue me for the next 15 years…