From Prada to Stella McCartney, 10 Art-Inspired Fashion Looks to Wear This Fall Season
The world's most beloved fashion brands are taking inspiration from artists like never before. Here are 10 items you can own right now.
The relationship between fashion and art has always spurred lively debate, but the two worlds have never been more closely aligned than they are right now. More and more designers are looking to the art world for inspiration, and the results are everywhere. Just look on Madison Avenue.
Raf Simons, the mastermind behind the reinvention of Calvin Klein who frequently incorporates art influences into his clothes, just commissioned the artist Sterling Ruby (a frequent collaborator) to redesign Calvin Klein’s New York flagship store on 60th Street and Madison. Across the street, Louis Vuitton has given over its boutique windows to deluxe bags and accessories designed by the art star Jeff Koons, emblazoned with famous Old Master paintings.
Not convinced? Just look at the new Fall/Winter Season fashions that have hit the racks around the world this month. From Valentino and Prada to Akris and Stella McCartney, the most acclaimed fashion labels are exploring the intersection of cutting-edge clothing design and art—and delivering chic new offerings in the process. Here are 10 art-and-fashion mashups to look for in stores this fall.
1. Valentino X Jamie Reid and Nathalie du Pasquier
Art makes statements, and for Valentino’s fall 2017 menswear collection, creative director Pierpaolo Piccoli worked with artist Jamie Reid, who coined phrases (“Beauty Is a Birthright: Reclaim Your Heritage”) that appear on sweaters, outerwear, and accessories. For the women’s side of the house, Piccoli worked with Memphis Group founders Nathalie du Pasquier and George Sowden to incorporate their school’s pastel colors and wild prints into gowns, dresses, and one notable patchwork fur overcoat.
2. Prada’s Tribute to Robert McGinnis
Miuccia Prada has a Ph.D. in political science, a distinction that has earned her house a reputation as producing fashion for intellectuals. That’s especially true of this fall’s clothes, which feature prints of the bombshells Robert E. McGinnis illustrated to grace the covers of a number of novels (and the movie poster for Breakfast at Tiffany’s).
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3. Missoni Echoes ACT UP
The house’s iconic zigzag print is perhaps one of the most famous exports of the Italian fashion industry. The family that runs this brand takes art collecting seriously, and just last year turned its Madison Avenue store into a bona fide gallery. This fall, its new collection features sweaters with knitted ankhs and the pink triangle used by the AIDS coalition ACT UP (designed by the art collective Gran Fury), both intended as symbols of inclusion and acceptance.
4. Salvatore Ferragamo Inspired by Serge Lutens
Few brands have as big a role in fashion history as Salvatore Ferragamo—after all, this is the company credited with inventing the stiletto. A recent spate of exhibitions at Florence’s Museo Salvatore Ferragamo put that influence on full display. Fulvio Rigoni, the brand’s creative director, found inspiration for this fall’s collection in fashion-friendly experimental filmmaker Serge Lutens’s “very peculiar and kind of surreal” TV campaigns for Jun Ropé in the 1970s.
5. Jil Sander Riffs on Minimalism
The byword at Jil Sander is minimalism, and that refers to the spare, clean look of both its men’s and women’s collections. But this fall, the Italian-based brand doubled down on that approach, eschewing references to specific artists in favor of allusions to the Minimalist movement itself. (The menswear was inspired by Independent People, a 1940s novel written by Nobel Prize-winner Halldór Laxness, and features a lot of raw textures and shades of gray.)
6. 3.1 Phillip Lim Vibes With James Turrell
James Turrell light installations not only informed the set for Phillip Lim’s fall 2017 collection, it also inspired at least one of the looks. The line, presented in a room with red Perspex walls and bright pink carpeting, has a t-shirt that references Turrell’s sun-and moon-inspired artworks. Other pieces in the color, meanwhile, share the great Light and Space artist’s color sensibility.
7. AKRIS Featuring Rodney Graham
There was a time when Akris’s sharp tailoring was the sole domain of successful working women looking for the barest suggestion of edge. Albert Kriemler turned up the volume for fall 2017 by printing imagery from a couple of coat-themed Rodney Graham installations on the backs of (what else) a few outerwear pieces.
8. Diane von Furstenberg Inspired by Gilles Larrain
Jonathan Saunders took his inspiration for DVF’s fall 2017 collection from Gilles Larrain’s influential 1973 photo book Idols, which was considered groundbreaking for its then-bold inclusion of transvestites. The offering’s bold use of clashing patterns and quirky styling is a nod to the flamboyance of Larrain’s subjects in the book.
9. Sonia Rykiel Looks to Niki de Saint Phalle
The work (and wardrobe) of the late artist Niki de Saint Phalle served as the inspiration for Julie de Libran’s fall 2017 collection for Sonia Rykiel. In particular, Libran turned to a series of paintings called “Les nanas aux pouvoir” (The girls in power) and used its vivid shades and bold shapes to inform the collection’s color palette, and generous proportions.
10. Stella McCartney Goes Back to George Stubbs
While some designers look to an artist’s full oeuvre for design cues, others need only look at a single work. For Stella McCartney, that work was English painter George Stubbs’s 1770 painting A Horse Frightened by a Lion. The image is actually printed on a gown, shirt, and trousers, but elsewhere its animal motif inspired the kind of clothes that a younger Queen Elizabeth might have worn to go hunting at Balmoral.
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