The Fashionable Art of Fashion + Art, Part 1

Fabulous art + fabulous fashion have always been intertwined. Fashion has played the muse to countless famous artists + fashion has forever taken inspiration from art. The sheer amount of work from both sides of the art/fashion spectrum makes a comprehensive post on the subject nearly impossible. Entire posts could be written on individual artists or fashion designers and their "collaborations" together so we apologize for any glaring gaps or left out information (like the fact that we won't even delve into the world of jewelry).

We'll start this "little" visual adventure with the fantastically imaginative collaboration between Elsa Schiaparelli + Salvador Dali. Their two most iconic works being:

the 1937 lobster dress

and the telephone compact.

While the Dali/Schiaparelli collaboration was a partnership between 2 living + working artists, much of the intermingling of fashion + art comes from fashion designers taking inspiration from the art of the past. While much of contemporary fashion has been taking its cues from Medieval + Renaissance art (such as Dolce & Gabbana, Carven + Alexander McQueen) --

2012 Carven/Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights

Dolce & Gabbana, A/W 2013/14

-- much of the fashion inspiration of the 1960's - 90's was derived from iconic 19th + 20th century art + artists. The easiest overview, kind of a mini art history lesson, is this line of wool knit dresses produced by Goldworm in the late 60's.

Monet | Monet | Gauguin

Van Gogh | Matisse | Miro

Many of these artists' work is now public domain so their paintings ungracefully decorate the surfaces of t-shirts, tote bags umbrellas + mouse pads from back alleys to the Met Gift Shop. It takes a talented + gifted designer, however, to take these works + truly transform them into something new. While a chronological approach might make a better approach to fashion history, we've found it easier to just give brief glimpses into specific artists, their work + the inspiration designers have culled from those iconic works.


Van Gogh's Sunflowers, 1888

Yves Saint Laurent, S/S 1988

Van Gogh's Irises, 1888

Yves Saint Laurent, S/S 1988

Rodarte, 2012

Rodarte, 2012 with Van Gogh's Starry Night


Matisse's La Gerbe, 1953

Matisse's The Snail, 1953

Yves Saint Laurent, 1980

Yves Saint Laurent, 1980

Matisse's Blue Nude (II), 1952

Vivienne Westwood Toga dress, 1982

Matisse inspired Valentino silk jacket


Georges Braque + his bird

Yves Saint Laurent + his "bird," model Carla Bruni wearing a Braque inspired dress

Braque's Les Oiseaux, 1953

Yves Saint Laurent's S/S 1988 Haute Couture collection was almost entirely based on iconic works of art, ie. the aforementioned Van Gogh jackets. A large portion of this collection, however, was inspired by the work of the influential French painter, Georges Braque.

Yves Saint Laurent runway show, S/S 1988


Yves Saint Laurent, 1988

Yves Saint Laurent, 1979

Jil Sander sweater

80's Picasso inspired sequin jackets


Mondrian's Composition with Red and Blue, 1930

And now onto what are arguably the most famous + iconic pieces of art-meets-fashion -- Yves Saint Laurent's 1965 series of Mondrian dresses.

YSL again revisited Mondrian with a new interpretation as part of his artist-inspired S/S 1988 collection.

Not to be outdone, Franco Moschino added his own whimsy to this Mondrian-inspired jacket + dress, 1990s

While not from the hand of Yves Saint Laurent himself, this vintage 60s nod to YSL + Mondrian is still a fantastic find. It's currently available in our webstore at www.bustownmodern.com.

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful, insightful and informative. Thank you