Merchants of Style: Art and Fashion After Warhol
Looking at Andy Warhol’s legacy as maker and muse, this book offers a critical examination of the coalescence of commerce and style.
Merchants of Style explores the accelerating convergence of art and fashion, looking at the interplay of artists and designers, and the role of institutions—both public and commercial—that have brought about this marriage of aesthetic industries. The book argues that one figure more than any other anticipated this moment: Andy Warhol. Beginning with an overview of art and fashion’s deeply entwined histories, and then picking up where Warhol left off, Merchants of Style tells the story of art’s emboldened forays into commerce and fashion’s growing embrace of art. As the two industries draw closer together than ever before, this book addresses urgent questions about what this union means and what the future holds.
Praise for Merchants of Style: Art and Fashion After Warhol
"If you wonder how we got to the point of so many new artist-designer collaborations, Degen’s recent history is a great place to start. As the professor and chair of art market studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Degen examines fashion and art through a business lens, and suggests that Andy Warhol and the advent of Pop art are what led to contemporary art’s unabashed union with commerce. In the introduction, Merchants of Style traces the rise of couturiers whose genius was likened to that of artists, as well as those in Surrealist circles who collaborated across disciplines. It moves from there to a post-Warhol age in which elite consumption forever changed, and luxury conglomerates are inclined to open their own art museums and foundations."
— Stephanie Sporn
"'Art was assumed to be profound; fashion was dismissed as frivolous,' the professor of art market studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology writes. Documenting the historic relationship between fashion and fine art—Salvador Dalí’s window displays at the New York department store, Bonwit Teller, for example, or Jean Cocteau’s evening jacket design for Elsa Schiaparelli—Degen then argues that Andy Warhol and his legacy definitively changed what had, until then, remained somewhat separate aesthetic industries. From artist-designed handbags like the 2017 Jeff Koons collaboration with Louis Vuitton to the luxury brands that have opened art foundations, this is a fascinating read on the shifting economics of culture for anyone interested in the intersection of contemporary art and commerce."
— Nathalie Atkinson
"A fascinating, informative, and incisive look at the intersection of art and fashion—from Saint Laurent and Warhol to Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby."
— Kate Betts, author of "My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine"
“Wonderfully researched, written, and documented. Highly recommended for anyone interested in a well-researched history of fashion, art, or both.”
— Don Thompson, Nabisco Brands Professor of Marketing, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, author of “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark”
"Merchants of Style is a major achievement. Degen demonstrates in stunning detail how art, fashion, and commerce began to interweave so tightly as to become a single entity, and in doing so, provides what will no doubt endure as the most incisive historical narrative for explaining the last four decades."
— W. David Marx, author of "Status and Culture" and "Ametora"
“An astute exploration of the merging of culture and commerce. Degen brilliantly explains how a new generation of artists and fashion designers have expanded the conceptual parameters of art.”
— Jeffrey Deitch, art dealer and curator, director of the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery
“Dives deep into the intertwining of art and fashion; from artist-designed handbags to luxury goods corporations appropriating the symbolic aura of art. A fascinating account of two apparently dissimilar, but in fact highly symbiotic worlds.”
— Georgina Adam, editor-at-large of the Art Newspaper, author of “The Rise and Rise of the Private Art Museum”