Fashion as Art: Jewelry

Is fashion art? This controversial topic has been an ongoing debate for decades, and I don't foresee any overarching conclusion being made anytime soon...people feel very convicted about this issue, one way or the other.  However, the continual growth in both private and institutional collections, global exhibitions focusing on fashion help support the case for costume history's significance; not only in a sociological/anthropological sense, but as a form of artistic expression.  Jewelry, specifically, is a growing medium where artists are increasingly expressing themselves.  Sculptors, architects and industrial designers are all branching out into jewelry production, where the end product serves as instant gratification (in comparison to the complex and time-consuming projects these artist's are usually involved in) and a small scale glimpse into the oeuvre of an artist.  A few who making their mark in the world of jewelry, executing artful pieces comparable to sculpture, Frank Gehry, Anish Kapoor, Zaha Hadid, the late Alexander Calder and British artist David Watkins.

Frank Gehry, is most well known for his prolific work in monumental and avant-garde design and architecture.  Fortifying his signature style in iconic works such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilabo and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Gehry has carved a name for himself in design history as a progressive and modernist architect.  In recent years, Gehry has collaborated with Tiffany & Co. in creating jewelry that is distinctively his and displayed alone, look like miniature models of his architecture.  Sleek, and minimalist.

Frank Gehry for Tiffany & Co.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Preliminary Sketches for the Panama Puente de Vida Museo, foga.com

Zaha Hadid, born in Baghdad (1950) and based in London, has grown immensely in popularity over the past decade; praised for her biomorphic, shape shifting, futuristic style (a style clearly exemplified in her jewelry).  Hadid, the first women to win the Pritzker Prize in 2004, recently collaborated with Swarovski in producing the "Glace Collection."  Some images of her jewelry below, as well some comparative architectural and sculptural works.
"Glace Collection." Zaha Hadid for Swarovski
Aura, Palladio Villa Foscari for the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale
Model of the Chanel Mobile Art Exhibit
I'll finish with the work of Alexander Calder (1989-1976). An artist prolific in numerous mediums, Calder also experimented extensively in jewelry mid-century. Calder's work seems to be inspired by ethnographic artifacts, both in form and style. These characteristics are echoed in his jewelry work as well.
The Jealous Husband, 1940

Earrings, 1940

Bracelet, 1947
Vertical Foliage, 1941
Octopus, 1944
For more interesting references, check out the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Art & Design.