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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Tokyo Fashion Week: The Highlights

Tokyo is a shinning jewel in the fashion industry that rarely gets the credit it deserves from the international fashion community. The fashionable people of Tokyo have always been at the forefront of trend creation. Over the last 20  years, Japan (and especially Tokyo) has inspired many of the world’s most interesting a colourful trends. For example, Japan was the birthplace of the now famous Harajuku and Visual Kei styles which have becoming worldwide phenomenon over and over again as trends are recycled and reshaped every year. Truthfully said,  Tokyo’s fashion scene is more of a culture than an industry. It’s different groups and cliques are easy to spot and gives the world a glimpse into the closets of Japan’s most fashion people.

Yohei Ohno

Photo: Vogue Runway

Yohei Ohno has just debuted his first collection at Tokyo fashion week, and what a wonderful surprise and triumph it was. In a world where fashion has begun to slowly care more and more about sales and appeasing the trend hungry social media hounds. It’s refreshing to see a new designer create a collection based deeply in design and beauty, rather than uninspired trend regurgitation for the masses. Yohei’s play on volume and futuristic design in evident with his space like quilted dresses and gloves, which paint the perfect picture of an 80’s SciFi blockbuster. Think high fashion blade runner!

Akikoaoki

Photo: Vogue Runway

Akiko Aoki created a fantastical fashion layer cake for her recent TFW endeavor. It was like witnessing a heavy snowfall blanket itself in layer after layer of white fluffy goodness, but the layers never blend together, which makes the Akikoaoki‘s snowstorm even more like able. Rustic design elements and modern flare merge together to beautifully express the designers vision; take the rustic dresses in soft country hues paired with Crisp black shirting and herringbone trousers for example. Another fun layer that was added to the collection are the almost comical dancer heels, which contrast the collection completely, but somehow make the collection even more young and appealing. The great thing about this collection is that even if you can’t find the beauty in the way the clothing is styled on the runway, each piece can be pulled apart and worn as a stand alone piece to make a simpler, but still impactful statement.

Growing Pains

Photo: Vogue Runway

Mademoiselle Yulia has been a star of the Tokyo and international nightlife scene for quite sometime now and from that, she’s grown into a fashion icon in her own right. So it comes to absolutely no surprise that Yulia was able to create a clothing brand that actually appeals to a high fashion audience. At Growing Pains fall 2017 show. Viewers were treated to a refined streetwear collection that looked more Prada than nada. The influence was clear. Military staples with slight fetish and streetwear twists. Latex skirts walked the same runway as military berets and aviator jumpsuits and created a fun costumey mishmash of authoritarian fetish wear that any lover of Instagram style could definitely get into.

DressesUndressed

Photo: Vogue Runway

Japanese style has a cleanliness to it that can only be compared to its fashion contemporaries in the west (think Sweden and Denmark) It’s in this clean sense of minimalist functionality that makes things simply beautiful. Think of the simplistic yet ornate beauty of the Kimono. Where a beautiful balance between ornate embroidered silk is offset but the clean lines and architectural design elements of Kimono’s construction. The same key elements can be found in In DressesUndressed‘s fall collection. The influence was clear. Stark clean lines were mixed with modern excess. The traditional 9-5 office uniform is transformed into a delicate yet excessive feat. An over-sized blue shirt is tucked into a skirt a black leather skirt to create a stunning 80’s wall street fantasy, while a long quilted diver coat is worn over a white shirt and tear away wide leg trouser, creating the perfect blue tint for the new woman’s power suit.

Hanae Mori Manuscrit

Photo: Vogue Runway

Designer Yu Amatsu took the helm at Hanae Mori Manuscrit with a daunting task at hand. How do you continue to produce collections for one of the most celebrated designers in all of Japan? Luckily, Yu did what every good designer tasked to take over a brand should do. He took the staple house codes (femininity, movement, softness, gowns) that put Mori on the map, and modernized them without completely altering the brand’s persona. For this collection Amatsu created a beautifully soft and feminine collection that doesn’t loose touch with what’s going on in fashion today. The collection looked classic but not doughty, timeless if you will. The two piece ensembles worked perfectly with with one another or as separate entities, which is always a plus design wise. But the true beauty of the collection came with the dresses. Each cocktail length dress looked soft to the touch, while the gowns moved in the most delicate and silkiest way. It’s safe to say that Madame Mori’s name is safe in the hands of Amatsu and the house of Hanae Mori will continue to prosper and influence future designers for years  to come.