When starting an art project, it can be months – years even – before the right people takes notice. Not so in the age of Instagram – designer Maria Sheila Miani’s new Is Art In Fashion account got noticed by legendary fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh on day two of its existence, who regrammed three of her collages. Inspired by the poster for a Matisse exhibition which Miani spotted in her hometown of Rome, she started placing models into artistic landscapes, pairing painters with unlikely fashion muses. “I always select the model who has the most in-contrast features with the characters portrayed by the painters,” she explains. “It’s an exclusive relationship between the two of them. In this way I create a dialogue between the painting and the fashion system.”
The project is all about contrast, juxtaposing the traditional beauty and expressive, larger than life imagery found in magazines with more traditional art contexts to draw attention to the silliness of fashion. “I am cutting out models from fashion editorials and inserting them into real life situations (picnic in the park, girl playing the piano, girl resting on the sofa). In these new surroundings, the models appear awkward thanks to their clothes, the fact that they have odd facial expressions and hold unlikely poses. So, if you look at the fashion world from this perspective, it may seem just a little bit... extravagant.”
It’s not the first time Miani has taken to social media to play with the industry – another of her accounts, that redraws magazine covers with models turned into lego figures, picked up interest earlier this year. “The idea of ‘Legolizing’ the fashion world came to me out of necessity,” she recalls. “I had to hand in a project for an exam using Adobe Illustrator, and in my bedroom I have a three metre high pile of fashion magazines. Then under my desk, there is a box full of Lego that belongs to my brother… How could I not be influenced when I was surrounded by them all the time? It was natural that the next step was to create something out of them and social media are the best tool to express myself.” Miani’s account is the latest in a series that show how far fashion fans are embracing Instagram as a new creative platform – from @BadlyDrawnModels to @ArtLexaChung and even #GucciGram.