Guest Post: Private Passions: My Love of Fine Art by David Koma

by Sasha Wilkins on January 22, 2013 · 1 comment

David Koma


We are starting a new strand on LLG, where people I know talk about their private passions: the ideas, places and movements that inspire them. As we are starting a new fashion season, I thought the first contribution should be from a designer. So London Fashion Week designer David Koma, whose beautiful collections frequently reference, however obliquely, the work the work of artists that he admires, has kindly talked to us about his passion for fine art.

David Koma SS13
David Koma SS13

What is it in particular that draws you to an artist’s style?
That depends on each season and theme because every time I get drawn by different artists and styles, but usually the artists that I love have graphicness and boldness in their work.

Do you have a favourite artist, ‘movement’ or medium that most reflects your work?
My favourite movements are Suprematism, Futurism, Abstract Expressionism. For me they represent the art I love and I constantly get inspired by artists in these movements.

What is it that you admire in an artist’s style or approach?

I have hundreds of artists that I absolutely adore and whose styles I admire, but just to name a few, I would say I love the simplicity and the use of textures in the work of Pierre Soulages; In the work of Caravaggio I have to refer the contrast of shadows, the positive/negative feel; and the colour blocking and sharpness in Malevich’s work.

How do you feel art and fashion naturally interlink?
I treat fashion as art, in a way that each garment is a piece of art. Fashion is the media I use to express myself and by creating garments they reflect my feelings and emotions, and for me that’s the definition of art.

David Koma AW12
David Koma AW12

What similarities do you feel are shared during the design process of both an artist and a fashion designer, if at all?
Both perform an intensive research and development on a particular subject that it’s worked until the artist/designer accomplishes satisfaction in that matter. Both share the urge of creating new things in a new way. Both need to unleash their creativity without restrains.

What is it that inspires you about an artist – and what makes you differentiate each season from using as a reference – do you have a process each season that brings you to an artist in particular?
Artists are free spirits that provide beauty and meaning in a twisted way. Each season I get inspired by different artists but there is no rule because while developing a collection everything constantly changes.

David Koma SS13
David Koma AW11

What techniques have inspired you from any particular artists that have resulted in direct references within your previous season’s collections? Does this translate into embellishment or body shape?
Every time I get inspired by an artist there’s always somehow a direct reference. For my Masters collection the reference was sculptor William Pye and I used metal embellishment; For my SS10 I used glass as reference to Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden in Barcelona; Yayoi Kusama inspired me for my AW11 collection in using patent leather apliqués/embroidery/laser cut in the shape of dots; The body art of Kin Juun inspired my SS12 collection in a way I developed devoré fabric that represented the idea of a second skin; Thierry Poncelet’s greyhound painting made me create the greyhound sculpture heel for AW12.

Do you see any connection or alignment between art history and fashion styles?
Of course there is a connection. Fashion reflects the transformations in culture, thinking and behaviour throughout history. If we analyze art history we understand that there is always a significant change in style because fashion is not just clothes, fashion is an attitude and represents the peoples’ tastes, beliefs, perceptions and ideas.

What do you love the most about art and is there any area that inspires you the most?
Art is an expression of the artists’ feelings and ideas, transformed into shape in a sculpture, into an image in a canvas, or a creation in a dress. Art transports me to other realities and imagery that allow me to freely think outside the box and create without boundaries. I love every form of art equally, in the form of sculpture, painting or other, but I identify myself more with contemporary art, in the way I naturally develop graphicness in my designs.

Runway images via Style.com

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