Jean Michel Basquiat is a unique an interesting artist and one who isn’t necessarily an expected choice to pair with lingerie. His work is hard, aggressive– nowhere near the frillies that lingerie is usually associated with. Basquiat got his start in graffiti art, and that influence is apparent throughout his work.
Clockwise, from left to right:
Basquiat focused on dichotomies and contradictions, often using his work to provide social commentary on contemporary injustices, particularly racism and other dominant power structures. I tried to find lingerie that was somehow unexpected, strong or graphic, perhaps a faint echo of Basquiat’s powerful visual language. The crown by Chromat seemed like a piece that had to be included as Basquiat himself frequently used imagery of crowns in his work, focused on portraying ‘heroic’ figures.
When I saw Zana Bayne’s skull harness, I knew it was a perfect piece to include in this collection, reminiscent as it is of the heads that Basquiat so often portrays. In fact, Basquiat got inspiration from Gray’s Anatomy text, a book given him by his mother at age 7. I think the Atsuko Kudo bra is a fantastic addition, because of both the color and the distinctive shape. Although this painting predates Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition tour and her distinctive Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra by 7 years, Madonna and Basquiat actually dated around this period, so I feel like the little nod to her is fitting.
I chose these pieces because they each had an element that seemed consistent with Basquiat’s work. The overlapping and interweaving pieces of the Hopeless bodysuit seemed consistent with the many layers of Basquiat’s work. The sketchy quality of the embroidery of the FRKS knickers is similar to Basquiat’s loose line quality. Although you might not expect Fleur of England on this list, the pure hue of the yellow bra and the bold lines of the straps make it so appropriate.
Although I very much enjoy matching lingerie to artist, I sometimes wonder if I’m trivializing their work in the comparison. As much a I love lingerie, it doesn’t possess the level of social commentary that these artworks can transmit. And yet, I like to think of this as a small homage to these great artists– and maybe a way to re-look at lingerie and the inspirations and influences that created these pieces.