Fashion Designers Looking at Art for SS 2014

There is a very specific angle when looking at contemporary art that some galleries, collectors, curators and critics love to see: brand new art that reinvents old art.  It's quite common to hear at any given time in art circles: What's the inspiration behind it? Where did the colors come from? Is it Matisse? Are those bodies reminiscent of Rembrandt's? Well, fashion designers are also almost always looking at art and creating collections whose foundation is deeply rooted in a specific artist, movement or art period. I decided to look at fashion collections that are actually out in the stores right now because I personally wanted to check the pieces and verify the actual connection. After some research, this is what I found:

PRADA 

 On the left: one of Prada's color saturated coats.  On the right, some of the artists' murals who collaborated with Miuccia for this collection. From top right: Miles “El Mac” Gregor; Gabriel Specter and Stinkfish

On the left: one of Prada's color saturated coats.  On the right, some of the artists' murals who collaborated with Miuccia for this collection. From top right: Miles “El Mac” Gregor; Gabriel Specter and Stinkfish

So much has been written about this collection, some of it accurate, some it so wrong. The original inspiration that Miuccia had for this collection came from the great Mexican Muralists of the 20th Century: Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco.  However, for a contemporary reinterpretation and fabric reprint, Prada went after street artists who have worked on striking murals and asked them to create some portraits specifically for this collection. Gabriel Specter, who is based in Brooklyn, Angeleno Miles “El Mac” Gregor who is not only an incredible street artist and muralist but also a phenomenal hyperrealist  and Colombian graffiti artist Stinkfish, are some of the highlights of this art-inspired and simultaneous artist collaboration. 

CHRISTOPHER KANE 

 Kane's organza and embroidered-sequined top on the left and Georgia O'Keeffe's orchid on the right

Kane's organza and embroidered-sequined top on the left and Georgia O'Keeffe's orchid on the right

Kane might not be completely forthcoming on his inspiration for this collection but it is so obviously rooted on Georgia O'Keeffe's works.  The flowers in Christopher's clothing are lush and perhaps less erogenous than O'Keeffe's works, however they feel equally sexy.  This is one of the most compelling collections I've seen lately.  Some of the pieces can be found here

DVF LIMITED EDITION POP WRAP 

For the 40th anniversary of the iconic wrap dress, DVF came back with another collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation. In a way, the organic mix of these prints mingle so well in part because Diane and Andy were friends and knew each other since the early 1980s. Diane captures the perfect free spirit of that era and exactly what Andy would have liked: dollar signs splatter all over the hem of a long wrap dress. Brilliant.

CHANEL 

 On the right, a dress from the Chanell SS 2014 collection, on the right, three images taken at Art Basel throughout the years. 

On the right, a dress from the Chanell SS 2014 collection, on the right, three images taken at Art Basel throughout the years. 

Karl Lagerfeld said that this collection was completely inspired by art.  "Art is everywhere!" he said alluding to the proliferation of art fairs, galleries, art collaborations, public art installations and more.  I think he is right and he captured the overwhelming wave of contemporary art that the world is experiencing with this wonderful kaleidoscopic print. 

PRABAL GURUNG 

 On the right: an image from Prabal Gurung's 2013 New York Fashion Week runway show.  On the left, a photograph by Bert Stern of Marilyn Monroe's last sitting

On the right: an image from Prabal Gurung's 2013 New York Fashion Week runway show.  On the left, a photograph by Bert Stern of Marilyn Monroe's last sitting

I recently met Prabal and was quite interested in listening to the inspiration behind his SS 2014 collection.  Moved by Bert Stern's "Last Sitting" where the acclaimed photographer captured a fragile Marilyn Monroe who died shortly thereafter, Gurung used image takeouts of this famous photo shoot that were in his inspiration board as a starting point.  After that, he combined his ideas, colors, prints and brushstrokes with red roses. The result is a successfully smart, beautiful and feminine collection.