Art x Fashion: Fashion inspired by history’s most stunning gowns

Fashion and art have always worked hand in hand like a hall of mirrors. When one creates something, the other reflects it. For centuries, art and fashion have danced with one another. Creating memorable images in either fabric or paint form. When I chose to venture into art and fashion in the first “Art x Fashion” article, the comparisons made between the artwork’s and the clothing was based on colour, print, pattern, etc. Now, the comparisons are based on some of the most stunning gowns ever painted throughout history.

Ann Demeulemeester x Thomas Hudson

Ann Demeulemeester fw17 by Sebastien Meurnier | “Portrait of Lady Frances Courtenay, wife of William Courtenay, 1st Viscount Courtenay” by Thomas Hudson | Photo: Vogue Runway

Until recently, black was a coloured reserved for mourning, not elegance. So when it came to finding a gown that matched today’s modern obsessions with the shade, a deep dive into the world of classical art was the only way to go about it. Luckily, I stumbled upon Thomas Hudson‘s beautiful painting “Portrait of Lady Frances Courtenay, wife of William Courtenay, 1st Viscount Courtenay” which showcases its main subject wearing a beautiful black gown. The sheen on the black fabric, white ruffled collar, and sleeves was mirrored by a look that walked the runway at Ann Demeulemeester this season, which featured a black dress and white shirt. The two gowns almost look like doorways. One leading to the past, the other, the future.

Loewe x Giovanni Boldini

Loewe fw17 by Jonathan Anderson | “Madame Charles Max” by Giovanni Boldini

Powder blue, not only was it named the colour of the year last year (along with rose quartz) It has steadily filtered its way through everything from fashion, to home decor, and even car colours. What sets this colour apart from other blues on the lighter spectrum is its softness, its cleanliness, its elegance, and it’s ability to remain an extremely dominant colour without looking juvenile. At Loewe, a stunning powder blue gown came down the runway looking like a clown in the wind. Immediately Giovanni Boldini came to mind. The effortless brush strokes of the blue dress in Boldini’s “Madame Charles Max” look as light as air, mirroring the billowing blue gown on the runway.

 

Calvin Klein x Thomas Cooper Gotch

Calvin Klein fw17 by Raf Simons | The Lady in Gold by Thomas Cooper Gotch

Gold is one of those colours that will always be associated with royalty. It represents the thrown, the sun, wealth, extravagance, and the God-given right to rule a kingdom. In Thomas Coop Gotch‘s painting “The Lady in Gold,” we can see how gold plays a vital role in creating an elegant and domineering atmosphere. Not only is the dress itself a beautiful hue of yellow gold, the entire painting itself is painted in various hues of warm yellow. Giving the woman in the painting a sense of sheer importance and status. At Calvin Klein, A stunning gold coat walked the runway. The gold fabric and cleave PVC overlay looked made the garment look like liquid gold. Twisting and swirling onto itself. Truly a modern take on an old royal favourite.

 

Gucci x Frans Verhas

Gucci fw17 by Alessandro Michele | “The New Bracelet” by Frans Verhas

Call it lilac, periwinkle, or lavender, or aubergine, but no colour can match the unbridled intensity of purple. Which screams “look at me!” regardless of which hue is being shown. In Frans Verhas The New Bracelet,” a soft lilac jumps out from the canvas against a neutral background. It’s clear that the intention of the painting was o put the gown itself into focus while letting the background fade away. And what a perfect colour to do just that. However, at Gucci, this purple gown was one of the only colours that was featured entirely by itself. The dominant colour creates a mesmerising look that needs little more than a lustre in the fabric itself to stand out. Just like Frans Painting, this Gucci dress captures the eye and lets the background fade away.

Chika Kisada x William Ross

Chika Kisada fw17 by Chika Kisada | “Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg” by William Ross

What do you think of when you think of pink? For me, I see candy, extravagance, sugar, delicateness, and power. Now, most people would agree with candy and delicateness, but why power and extravagance? It’s simple, pink is one of the strongest colours on the colour wheel. It gives off an intensity without ever experiencing any muteness in its hues. Whether it’s baby pink or fuschia, pink lights a fire unlike any other colour on the spectrum. In William Ross‘ “Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg,” we can see that even though the pink chosen for the gown is the softest imaginable, it still draws the eye to it. Dominating everything around it in the painting. This is also the case with this stunning pink dress at Chika Kisada aw17. The mix of bubblegum pink and dusty rose creates levels of excitement and interest in the dress. Pulling your eyes towards the harness on the model’s chest, and drawing it all the way down to the train.

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Novella Team Selects Their Favourite Looks From The F/W ’17 Collections

Fashion is a defining trait of our individuality. It allows us to express what we as humans feel on the inside, on the outside. Fashion has a way of changing out moods for the better and for the worst; in the same way, a beautiful dress can make you unimaginably beautiful but the wrong fit or colour could turn a dream into a nightmare. But that’s all easily fixed by throwing on your favourite sweater or pair of jeans.

If you’re anything like us here at Novella, you’ll know that style changes just as fast as a person’s day can. Luckily this season’s collections didn’t hold back on giving us new looks and styles to help transform and change ourselves into whatever and whomever we want to be. Here are some picks from the Novella team’s favourite fall/winter 2017 collections.

Drew Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Photo Credit: Vogue Runway. L to R Burberry, Gucci. Neil Barrett, Acne Studios

Burberry

For his second See now, buy now collection for Burberry, Christopher Bailey drew inspiration from British sculptor Henry Moore. Bailey’s asymmetrical cut cable knit sweaters for both women and men were definite standouts from the collection.

Gucci

Love it or hate it, Alessandro Michele’s new Gucci continues to not disappoint. Yes, on the runway the looks can seem a bit severe, however, picked apart there is something in the collection for everyone. This coat reminds me of a coat my mom wore back in the 70s which had an astrakhan collar. I would secretly put on my mom’s coat to play dress up. My love for fashion started at a young age and Gucci’s F/W ’17 brought back great memories.

Neil Barrett

Keeping with nostalgia theme, designer Neil Barrett drew inspiration from 80s music from The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Echo and the Bunnymen which was the soundtrack to youth. The collection was filled with precision tailoring and leather jackets that paid homage to the era but still modern for today. What I love most of the about this look and everything from the collection, Barrett has a way of creating chic menswear that allows the person wearing the clothes to appear effortless but still look well put together.

Acne Studios 

Looking back at all the collections, there were a lot completely wearable clothes sent down the runway and less over-the-top experimentation. With the constant musical chairs taken place at the major houses and the current political climate, this was not necessarily a bad thing. For fall, Acne Studios focused on menswear wardrobe staples and played with proportions.  I picked a more slim look from the collection and I could I totally see my rocking this outfit to any event.

Chris Zaghi, Fashion Editor

Photo Credit: Vogue Runway | From L to R: Cedric Charlier, Palmiers Du Mal, Who Is It?, Walter Van Beirendonck

Cedric Charlier

If anyone has ever met me personally, they’ll know exactly how much I love powder blue. Every time I see the colour, I’m transported to an alien world of white fluffy clouds, clear skies, a warm breeze, and a bed of powder blue flowers all around me. So you can image my utter delight when I laid my eyes on this head to toe powder blue outfit. It looks bright, comfy, and light as air. And the edition of the bright peek of lemon yellow adds that tiny break in colour that the outfit needs to come together.

Palmiers Du Mal

I’ve never been one to enjoy formal wear. Just the thought of having to wear a blazer, or worse, a full suit, makes me cringe. Luckily men’s fashion is changing in such a way that what once deemed unfit for a more formal occasion, can now be worn as an alternative to the suit. At Palmiers Du Mal, a summery alternative to the traditional suit is presented in the form of a relaxed pant and a silky-velvety single buttoned shirt that has all the flair of a wealthy South American millionaire, without the hassle of a tight pant and blazer.

Who Is It?

One of the greatest joys of working in the fashion industry is the plethora of different places you can find extremely well-made garments that suit anyone’s personal style. A perfect example of this is Who Is It? a brand that hails all the way from Ukraine, making it’s at Kiev Fashion week. Now some may think it’s a bit ridiculous to stray so far from the fashion capitals to find something to wear, but that’s where I see the beauty of it all, the beauty of finding something special in a place you’d least expect it. Another reason why I chose an outfit from Who Is It? comes down to the fact that I’ve just never really been one to lean towards dressing myself in a pristine fashion. I like my clothing to be a little light-hearted and casual, and that’s exactly what Who Is It? gives their customers. A slightly kitschy take on today’s trends.

Walter Van Beirendonck

Now, this is no way the most wearable piece of clothing, but just take a moment to look at it. Take it all in. The scarf, the hat, the suit, the giant hands. The entire thing makes absolutely zero sense, but that’s the beauty of it! Wearing this would be like wearing a surrealist painting. Dali and Magritte would be so proud of me as I walked down the street swinging my massive fabric hands around willy-nilly.

Natasha Grodzinski, Contributing Writer

Photo credit: Vogue Runway. L to R: Area, Roksanda, Gucci, Nina Ricci

Area

Area first came on my radar back in 2016, when their Pre-Fall campaign for that year was released. The campaign, shot by Charlotte Wales, featured soft lighting with highlighted sheen on jewel detailing. It was glam, and it was all over the Twitter. Since then, I’ve looked forward to seeing what Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg put out under the brand. Their use of vintage silhouettes with elegant touches makes them a favourite in my books, and I adored their F/W ’17 collection. These are the type of clothes I wish I could wear all the time.

Roksanda

In all honesty, I haven’t paid too much attention towards Roksanda in the past, most likely because I usually find myself been in a Burberry-induced haze. Their recent collection, however, really grabbed my attention. I liked nearly every look they sent down the runway, particularly with how Ilincic used voluminous shapes and draping to create the ultimate cold-weather looks. I had a difficult time picking a favourite design from the collection but finally decided on this one, mainly because I want that coat so badly.

Gucci

I can’t really talk about the fall collections without talking about Gucci. We’re living in a Gucci world where the brand has found a resurgence in popularity and is a favourite amongst almost everyone I’ve talked to about their current favourite houses. Their F/W ’17 collection was quite interesting – to me, it felt almost like a “Gucci meta” collection. The self-awareness of the designs showed a play on consumer expectations and over-the-top patterning and accessorising. The show itself was such a spectacle of fashion and so weird that I barely remember what the venue looked like, or who saw in the front row. This look, in particular, stuck out in my mind, with the playful combination of colours and use of the classic Gucci tee, which we now see coming back into popularity in a huge way.

Nina Ricci

Nina Ricci’s collection was probably one of my favourites from PFW. It was so beautifully done, so well styled and had that Europe-in-Autumn romance vibe that is a bit difficult to articulate, but so easy to recognize when it is seen. I loved the use of colour and the clean tailoring done on the jackets and trousers. The point I’m trying to get at is I want everything from this collection, so if anyone from Nina Ricci is reading this, please hook ya girl up.

Claire Ball, Editorial Contributor

Photo Credit: Vogue Runway. L to R Yeezy, Balmain, Saint Laurent, Moschino.

One of my favourite ready-to-wear looks from this season was of course in the Yeezy Season 5 collection… shocker! Everyone knows I am a tomboy at heart. I am always drawn to boyish style like hoodies and baseball hats. I have never been much of a girly girl in my style, and this look made all my childhood tomboy dreams come true. The sweatshirt and hat with the hunting camo patterned pants and boots give me all the feels. I really identify with the tomboy look that the Yeezy collections always pull off so well. Yeezy always gets me.

The Balmain collection really stood out to me. The theme seemed to revolve around wild animals. There was a lot of animal prints and textures, as well as a lot of strong colours and shapes that together produced a sort of animal kingdom on the runway. One of my favourite looks pulled together a vintage looking wolf t-shirt layered over top of a long sleeved camo-style shirt and paired with a mini skirt and super-high boots.

This Saint Laurent was probably one of my favourites this season. The collection brought the sass to the runway. Designer Anthony Vaccarello’s sophomore show was a collection of my after-dark wardrobe dreams. All of the black velvet, shiny dark leather, deep v-necks and strong shoulders are what makes this collection feel dangerous. It’s strongly feminine without being overly romantic. I just love YSL.

I oddly fell in love with the mail packaging look Jeremy Scott gave the Moschino collection this season in Milan. Cardboard camel colour with packaging logos, stamps, and shipping tape really intrigued me. The reduce, reuse, recycle message was a different take on the logo-mania that has been infiltrating the runways. Nevertheless, Jeremy Scott has somehow found a way to make UPS delivery boxes simultaneously witty and chic.

Liat Neuman, Fashion Contributor

Photos: Vogue Runway

Loewe

One of my favourite looks is the patchwork dress from Loewe FW17 collection. The designer knows exactly how to express femininity in a retro-contemporary kind of wayThere is something extraordinary and sophisticated, yet defiantly wearable about this maxi shift dress. The relaxed silhouette along with the earthy hue and the matching mustard bag, evoke a modern feminine look with a touch of vintage feel.

Stella McCartney

The designer knows how to juggling between masculinity and femininity elements. Here is my favourite piece from FW17. I adore the retro conical bras underneath the structure top and the high waisted oversized pants. The sharp tailoring against the relaxed fit button delivers a strong message of confidence yet sexy femininity.

Proenza Schouler

The collection gives a whole new meaning to ‘Minimalist Elegance ‘. The abstract prints, the one sleeved that expose a bare arm and the mixed of textures, there is no denial that daring and minimalism can go hand by hand and complete each other perfectly and create this bold approach.

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The old is the new trend

The theory that history tends to repeat itself can’t be denied when it comes to fashion. Think about all the pieces that you used to wear in your youth that are currently having their glory moments again. Appreciated designers and coveted brands have already seen the potential in bringing back successful pieces that have proved themselves in the past. This strategy is also known as retro marketing, and it’s all about taking advantage of nostalgia for the past to make current items more attractive and meaningful to the customer.

For Fall 2o16, it will come as no surprise that observing the new collections will feel like déjà vu. Be prepared to let your youth memories cycle back into your life again. Here’s a list of the old pieces that become new again:

enzil-mcneelance-in-1993-wearing-adidas-gazelles
Photo: Denzil McNeelance (1993)

Levi’s Mom jeans

One of the biggest  trends of the season is “mom jeans,” those high waisted denim jean with the back pockets, embodied by the the iconic Levi’s 505These jeans were a huge success during the 80s and early 90s and considered a must-have staple.

As a current fashion staple, “mom jeans” got a fashion forward update. Levi’s released a new collection of vintage inspired jeans, called the Wedgie Jean, which showcase all the assets of the feminine body- waist and hips- and balances between the cool attitude and sex appeal vibe. Levi’s made these jeans from a low-stretch denim, promising to highlight all your best assets.

levis-mom-jeans
Photo: Nicole Alyse, ASOS

Gazelle sneakers

Another item that you probably cherished in your childhood was the tri-striped, suede Gazelle which was recently brought back by Adidas. The leading sportswear brand evaluated the potential of the nostalgic style and decided to relaunch the Gazelle heritage sneaker with legendary model and Gazelle-lover, Kate Moss.

The sneakers were originally made in 1963 as professional soccer shoes. Their popularity grew high during the 90s and we surely believe that they will instantly be adopted by all street style lovers and  fashionistas.

adidas-gezelle
Photo: J.Crew, Michael Adams

Dr. Martens

Dr Martens, the iconic grungy shoes with the heavy sole boots and the yellow stitching, are returning back directly from the 90s. Whether they’re seen on the Prada and LouisVuitton runways, or on the streets, Dr. Martens allows you to channel your Seattle neo-grunge spirit. We highly recommended giving them a lady-like twist (think feminine skirt or dresses) so blurring the line between masculinity and femininity will be done perfectly.

urban-outfitters-dr-martens
Urban Outfitters

 Cavin Klein slip dress

Riding on the 90s wave, another throwback piece is having a fashion revival: the slip dress. Kate Moss in her silver Calvin Klein slip dress will remain forever etched in our memory, so no wonder the silky feminine piece has emerged back into our wardrobe without a blink.

In our modern life, the slip dress lends itself enormously well to the art of layering. You can simply wear it in any way or style. Our suggestion, for the cooler days ahead, is to balance between coziness and femininity by layering it with a t-shirt underneath and a bomber jacket on top, or pairing the silky fabric with a soft oversized cardigan.

slip-dress
Photos: Vogue Italy 1995, Journelles, Calvin-Klein SS16

Tracksuits by Juicy couture

Get ready for a big comeback directly from the 2000s, the tracksuits. The velour athletic set has a serious style statement this season and has already been seen on the catwalks of fashion houses like ChloeBurberry, Gucci and Loewe. The tracksuit originally appeared with Juicy Couture as part of their signature style and it was only a matter of time until the tracksuits made their way back into our lives. Celebrities were caught wearing them off duty back in the 2000s. Britney Spears and Paris Hilton owned one in every colour, while Jennifer Lopez showed up with the bright pink short version in her music video.

You can embrace the sporty look however you choose: with loafers, trainers, ankle boots, or even with strappy heels. Tracksuits also look amazingly stylish with tailored pieces, but keep in mind that  confidence and a cool attitude are fully required here.

tracksuit
Numero Mag, Chloe, Cosmopolitan, Juicy Couture