Glenn O’Brien, an excellent writer and close friend of Jean-Michel Basquiat, once wrote: “He [discovered] expensive European suits but [treated] them like coveralls, splashing them with the colored shrapnel of his paintings, treating Armani like Dickies, Versace like Sears”.
A tribute to the unique sense of style that the American artist possessed, Basquiat used to paint without paying the slightest attention to what he was wearing and he happened to do it wrapped in a wonderful Armani, Versace or Dior suit, perhaps just back from a night spent at Studio 54.
Passionate about fashion and able to mix, in a completely involuntary way, classic and expensive items with pieces found in flea markets or small vintage stores, he was able to put together haute couture and friperie.
Jean-Michele Basquiat had a very peculiar attitude and elegance that made him an iconoclast of the 80s.
The resulting interest and curiosity for the fashion world led the artist to turn his attention to the Japanese fashion, which at the time saw the arise some of the most influential designers of all time such as Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, the triad that forced European fashion to a complete revolution and a disruption of many aesthetic canons of the time.
The founder of COMME des GARÇONS who was fascinated by Basquiat’s ability to convey and make his artistic personality stand out through the clothes he wore, so much so that she asked the American writer and painter to walk the catwalk for her Spring/Summer 1987 collection.
At the time Jean-Michel Basquiat was at the height of his notoriety, two years earlier he had appeared on the cover of the New York Times Magazine and his association with Andy Warhol represented the New York aesthetic.
The SS 87 show of COMME des GARÇONS took place in Paris and Basquiat “went on stage” with his unconscious elegance and natural nonchalance that made the entire audience silenced.
He wore two suits quite similar, one was composed of a gray double-breasted jacket slightly open on the chest, pants cut above the ankle and a pair of black shoes Mary Jane with buckle, the other was identical but with a classic double-breasted jacket and a bow tie, only this time there were no paint stains.