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When Arty Met Selly

When Arty Met Selly

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The rise of the pop culture-inspired fashion collaboration

Above: BC (3549), 2011 | Photo by Robert Wedemeyer, Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio

Over the past decade, we've seen more and more style mavens teaming up for strategic partnerships -- or "collaborations," to use fashion parlance. The benefit therein is undeniable: When a cool kid like Alexander Wang pairs off with a superstore like H&M (Alexander Wang x H&M hits stores November 6), it's obvious that both parties will reap the rewards. But while the most common of these alliances have been between high-end brands and mass-market retailers with a global reach, an interesting subset of the collaboration has emerged this season: one that emphasizes fashion's ongoing love affair with the arts.

Movies, music, and the visual arts have always served as major influences for designers, and now a trio of hookups proves that this romance is far from over. Belgian tastemaker Raf Simons recently called on his friend, the Los Angeles-based artist Sterling Ruby (above), to create the paint-flecked, oxidized prints featured in his critically applauded fall/winter 2014 collection.

On the cinematic front, the e-commerce site Mr. Porter is releasing an exclusive 60-piece assemblage of bespoke tailoring pieces that will mirror the costumes in the comic book-inspired spy flick Kingsman: The Secret Service, out in October. Meanwhile, that jaunty hat-loving polymath Pharrell Williams continues his path to world domination with a flashy, flavorful new retro collection with the streetwear brand Adidas Originals. Whoever said that art and commerce don't mix clearly never saw the singer's hand-painted Stan Smith sneakers.

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Photo credits: Courtesy of Raf Simons.

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