Art In Fashion - Metals & Materials

A collaboration between Oxford based Sculpture Artist, Rachel Ducker and Oxford fashion boutique, Olivia May Ltd

Whether you argue the case that fashion is art or not, one cannot deny the importance of art in fashion. Throughout history fashion has taken its inspiration from fine art. In fact, from medieval art to impressionism, cubism to street art and all periods in between, many of the fashion world’s elite have been heavily influenced by art. We only have to look at some of the recent runway collections to see evidence of this. Bill Gayton, Creative director of John Galliano, has said illustrator Aubrey Bearsley’s drawings have directly informed his collections.

It is not surprising then that the fashion boutique Olivia May, who prides itself in being the ‘the home of unique designers’, has teamed up with Oxford based artist Rachel Ducker. Amongst the esteemed designers carried by Olivia May is German fashion designer Studio Rundholz, with its emphasis on an extraordinary mix of materials, design and colour techniques, making it the obvious choice for this collaboration. The marrying together of Studio Rundholz’s metallic collection and the sculptural forms used by Rachel demonstrates once again the close relationship between art and fashion. The ability to experiment with finishes, materials and looks brings a new dimension to fashion and to sculpture.

Statement pieces from Studio Rundholz in heavy cotton fabrics, offering texture and structure have been hand dyed to create a clothing collection with a true ‘true metallic ‘finish. Since the foundation of the company and the creation of its first collection in 1993, the name Rundholz has stood for garments not subject to short lived trends, but instead ones that emphasise the individuality of the wearer.

In the same way the visionary art of Rachel Ducker, with her ability to bring sculpture alive through movement and materials has seen her create inspirational wire sculptures. With an accomplished background in life drawing and an appreciation of the human form, Rachel has given us something truly unique. The ability to capture the human body, whether it be slightest movement of the hand or fingers, the graceful movement of a dancer or the tilting of the head, we are presented with a piece of sculpture ‘energised in human form’. The clever posturing, latent movement and use of materials leaves the viewer with a tangible feeling of energy.

Combining metals with plaster adds yet a further dimension to the energy of the sculptures. The elongated dancer emphasises the graceful shapes and forms of the art. Rachel’s “The Fisherman” casting the net, a Rolls-Royce commission, creates an interpretation of the traditional fishing techniques in a wire sculpture form. The outstretched hands of a female figure or the Icarus falling figure abandoned with its gauze flames conjure up a living, breathing sculpture.

When presented with Rachel’s inspiring art it is no surprise Olivia May were driven to join forces with this collaborative photo shoot. Rachel’s generosity and enthusiasm, combined with her insight into the human form and works seamlessly with the inspiration of a fashion designer, demonstrating once again a true partnership between art and fashion.

For further information on the Olivia May Boutique please contact via or call in and see us at 31 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX1 2HU, or phone 01865 515336. To find out more about Rachel’s art please contact Rachel at

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known - Oscar Wilde

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