How do we define fashion? Is fashion and art the same or are they mutually exclusive? Can one exist without consideration to the other? These are some of the questions that ran through my mind during a recent whirlwind trip to New York City in May, where I had the privilege (and luck of perfect timing) of visiting Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The late designer emerged at time when there was something lacking in the industry and his bold, outlandish designs led to him being coined the enfant terrible of fashion. However, it was that white cotton muslin dress, spray-painted black and yellow by robots as part of the spring/summer 1999 collection that changed the fashion landscape forever. Since then, designers have continually pushed the envelope, keeping the audience and wearer guessing.

Closer to home, the omnipresent fashion versus art debate rears its head with the opening of Paco Park, designer turned artist Marianne Diaz’s first installation piece at the Window99 gallery space in Fitzroy. A series of her colour-drenched, beautifully tailored jackets will be on display through the gallery’s exposed windows and will also be available for purchase.

Paco Park attempts to recreate the aesthetics and branding of an imaginary fashion label, inviting audiences to question the distinction between art and fashion,” explains Diaz, currently studying a Masters of Fine Art at RMIT. “Is it a store window or a gallery space? Are the jackets for sale, as fashion or as art?”

Not resting on her laurels, Diaz has already planned her next exhibition at North Melbourne’s No No Gallery. But check out the first installation at Window99 to see what is in store for this enigmatic young artist/designer.

The Paco Park exhibition opens tomorrow Saturday August 13 (6pm–9pm) at Window99 and will run until September 3.

Window99
99 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

mariannediaz.net