In Paris in the 1930s Surrealist artists and designers began to radically blur the boundaries between art and commerce, plundering each others’ toolboxes for a new and more daring language. Surrealist artists regularly distorted and reconfigured the body. They used corresponding fashion-related imagery including mannequins and cuttings from fashion magazines, as seen in Conroy Maddox’s The Cloak of Secrecy, 1940 and André Breton, Jacqueline Lamba and Yves Tanguy’s Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse), 1938.

This in turn led the fashion industry into braver, more unsettling territory. Designer Elsa Schiaparelli worked with artist Salvador Dalí to create a wide range of clothing including skeleton and lobster dresses, while photographer Man Ray transformed fashion photographs into works of art.

Surreal approaches to fashion have continued to this day with flamboyant characters like Leigh Bowery, Isabella Blow, Björk and Lady Gaga. They can also still be found across contemporary catwalks as demonstrated by designers Gareth Pugh, Philip Treacy, Viktor & Rolf, Comme des Garçons and many more.

As the following pages demonstrate, students at Galashiels have gained a solid understanding of the relationship between Surrealism and fashion which has greatly influenced their designs.