The Fashion Show as a Festival of Gesamtkunstwerk


  • Leszek Sosnowski Jagiellonian University in Kraków



Karl Lagerfeld, Fashion Show, Festival, Work of Art, Gesamtkunstwerk


Fashion affects all areas of individual and social life, transcending mere clothing. Hence it can serve as the subject of technical, historical, artistic, and philosophical reflection. The subject of the present paper encompasses the philosophy and aesthetics of a fashion show – especially several of Karl Lagerfeld’s last projects, which can be treated as total works of art uniting several different artistic fields within their frameworks. The idea of a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art, is applied nowadays to almost every multimedia phenomenon. Such widespread use of this term seems arbitrary; nevertheless, all works related to multimedia pop culture can be called total works of art. This applies to music concerts from the 1960s, such as those of the Beatles, and contemporary theater and music performances, such as those of Lady Gaga.


Franke, Susannah. AnOther,

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. New York: Crossroad, 2004.

Häni, Susanne and Harald Szeemann, ed. Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk. Europäische Utopien seit 1800. Aarau/Frankfurt a.M.: Verlag Sauerländer, 1983.

Linh, Pham. “Chanel Airlines,”

Marquard, Odo. “Gesamtkunstwerk und Identitätssystem.” In Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk. Europäische Utopien seit 1800, edited by Susanne Häni und Harald Szeemann, 40–9. Aarau/Frankfurt a.M.: Verlag Sauerländer, 1983.

Möbius, Helga. Woman of the Baroque Age. New York: Abner Schram, 1982.

Roberts, David. The Total Work of Art in European Modernism. New York: Ithaca, 2011.

Stansfield, Ted. “Chanel Gets Ready For Take-Off with Airport-Themed Show.” Daze (October 6, 2015),

Szerb, Antal. The Queen’s Necklace. London: Pushkin Press, 2013.

Ursprung, Philip. “What Happened to the Gesamtkunstwerk? The Love-Hate Relationship Between Art and Architecture.” In Two Minds: Artists and Architects In Collaboration, edited by Jes Fernie, 16–29. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2006.

Wagner, Richard. Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen, 10 vols. Leipzig: Fritzsch Verlag, 1907.

Zweig, Stefan. Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman. New York: Viking Press, 1933.




How to Cite

Sosnowski, L. (2020). The Fashion Show as a Festival of Gesamtkunstwerk. ZoneModa Journal, 10(1S), 255–263.