Regardless of anyone's opinion of Great Britain on the international stage - in any capacity - there can be no denying that we are among the world leaders in art and design. A benefit of being besieged by visitors over the summer for that quadrennial event is the Cultural Olympiad, an opportunity to show off the very finest of British arts and culture to the world, in the spaces before, during and after the Games.
As part of the London 2012 Festival is Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion. Led by the British Fashion Council/Bazaar Fashion Arts Foundation, iconic British designers have been paired with contemporary artists to collaborate on specially commissioned, unique works. These exclusive pieces will be unveiled at a VIP Gala fundraising event tonight, before going on display at that most glorious of venues, the Victoria & Albert Museum. The aim of the fundraiser is to provide bursaries to support emerging artists and designers, providing opportunities for future collaborations.
And the artist/designer pairings could not be more alluring: Hussein Chalayan + Gavin Turk, Giles Deacon + Jeremy Deller, Stephen Jones + Cerith Wyn Evans, Mary Katrantzou + Mark Titchener, Nicholas Kirkwood + Simon Periton, Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos + Francis Upritchard, Jonathan Saunders + Jess Flood-Paddock, Paul Smith + Charming Baker, and Matthew Williamson + Mat Collishaw.
Following its exhibition at the V&A, the pieces will be installed in the windows of Selfridges. An accompanying book has also been produced, with texts by Lucy Yeomans and Iain R. Webb. The book provides insights into all aspects the collaborative process, featuring proposals and sketches, exclusive photographs, specially commissioned portraits and a set of posters. Sure to be a highlight of 2012 in and of itself, this event is one of the first to celebrate Britain at its creative best.
Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion is at the Victoria and Albert Museum between 06 - 29 July, and at Selfridges from 30 July to 19 August.
Top: A preliminary sketch from Matthew Williamson + Mat Collishaw
Middle: from Stephen Jones + Cerith Wyn Evans
Bottom: Jeremy Deller + Giles Deacon