It comes as no surprise that the creative world has many intersections and sometimes unexpected overlaps; from film and literature, to poetry and music. For paintings and fashion, this overlap has seen the birth of fantastic creations including Alexander McQueen’s affinity with the Elizabethan imagery and flamboyantly desirous ruffs and Versace’s love of Pop Art and artist Andy Warhol.
The Garden of Earthly Delights (c.1495-1505) by Hieronymous Bosch influenced contemporary designers the likes of McQueen and Zandra Rhodes. With its depiction of Heaven, Hell, and Adam & Eve, the humanist approach to religion and mankind in this painting became the inspiration of Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli’s spring collection in 2017.
Designer Cristóbal Balenciaga was heavily influenced by the Spanish Renaissance and was fascinated by members of the royal family and the ecclesiastical attire of the clergy, for example Fernando Niño de Guevara (1600) by El Greco, which became a notable contribution to his 1954 collection that utilised the accented collar of the Cardinal’s cape for his bombastic coats that threw away the rulebook on maintaining rigid waistlines thus transforming women’s fashion as it had previously been known. He was also conscious of the generation of women who were returning to the workforce and therefore wanted to create pieces that were more comfortable, loose-fitting, and stylish.
Venus in Front of the Mirror (1615) became a vision of feminine ideology for world-famous Dolce & Gabbana, who were inspired to recreate a similar aesthetic in their fall/winter 2020 collection. In fact, they were so keen to portray a true likeness to Rubens’ work that they used a diverse range of women in curvier sizes as models for the photoshoot.
Impressionist artist Claude Monet was known for his naturalistic landscape paintings that offered vibrant colours for petals, and hushed greens for an earthy yet romantic feeling. His paintings became a source of inspiration for Christian Dior, who used the aesthetic and colour palette of Monet for his Haute Couture collection in 1949. His Miss Dior dress acts as a mirror image of the floral patterns of Monet’s work, and he even went as far as to embroider thousands of real petals into the dress to make this work of art as true to his inspiration as possible.
Moving on to more contemporary artistic movements, Piet Mondrian was famous for ‘De Stijl’, which focused on geometric shapes and lines combined with block colours that were a stark contrast to each other, for example Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow (1930).
Designer Yves Saint Laurent perhaps one the most accurate reinventions of this painting with his dress that is quite literally called The Mondrian Dress, that makes no changes to the original piece apart from the medium it’s being printed onto. The dress itself was iconic during the 60s where both the style of dress and the moving away from softer palettes and tones became the new aesthetic. Though each dress varied ever so slightly, this symbiosis of art and fashion meant that there would be no mistake as to where he found his inspiration from.