Coco Chanel herself once said: “Fashion is architecture – it is a matter of proportions.” And who are we to argue with the greatest? And we are not willing to; in fact, we totally agree with this statement. Architecture is and has always been a great source of inspiration for a lot of fashion designers. Some are influenced by historical places and medieval churches, others by ultra modern skyscrapers and innovative building materials.
Lately, a lot of young designers seem to seek inspiration in architecture all over the world. We collected a couple of brilliant examples:
The most recent example would be Albert Kriemler and Sou Fujimoto’s collaboration. They took part in The annual Wallpaper* Design Awards (it is an award that highlights outstanding work in architecture, fashion and design). In 2016 the collaboration of Akris Creative Director Albert Kriemler and Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto for the Akris Spring/Summer collection was distinguished as ‘Best Alliance’. Kriemler created an entire collection inspired by Fujimoto’s buildings.
Albert Kriemler and Sou Fujimoto for the Akris Spring/Summer Collection 2016
This white dress (Look 36) was inspired by Fujimoto’s Pavilion on the art island Naoshima in Kagawa, Japan, and appeared on Wallpeper*’s February cover.
Vivien Chong graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2013 and presented her graduate, hand pleated collection inspired by Steven Holl’s architecture, whose work masterfully plays with light and shadow. She also found her inspiration in magnificent, modern art sculptures by Alyson Shotz.
Vivien Chong, PLEATING ARCHITECTURE, 2013
Iris van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer, who once interned at Alexander McQueen, and now she has become a famous person in the world of fashion. Iris never stops her innovative experiments with materials and techniques. ‘Sculptural’ is the word she uses to describe her work. Van Herpen is also fascinated by body in movement, therefore, movement and body’s reaction to a piece of clothing and vice versa is a key in her designs.
In 2008 she presented REFINERY SMOKE collection, inspired by industrial smoke (both beautiful and poisonous).
Iris Van Herpen, REFINERY SMOKE, 2008
Famous ‘cathedral dress’ is a part of Herpen’s MICRO 2012 collection which was inspired by pictures that science photographer Steve Gschmeissner took using Scanning Electron Microscope.
Iris Van Herpen, MICRO, 2012
Same year HYBRID HOLISM collection hit Paris Haute Couture Week. This time the designer found her inspiration in Philip Beesley. It refers to Hylozoism, the ancient belief that all matter is in some sense alive. Fashion might be partly alive and growing too.
Iris Van Herpen, HYBRID HOLISM, 2012
Philip Beesley, Hylozoic Series: Sibyl, 2012
Another designer from the Netherlands, Winde Rienstra, uses innovative technologies and is hugely inspired by various architects. Rienstra herself describes her designs as ‘fashion meets architecture’. Her clothes exemplify her fascination with space and beautiful buildings.
Winde Rienstra, Reflections in Facets, 2012
Croatian designer Matija Čop created a whole collection inspired by shapes that can be found in gothic architecture. Particularly, she has found her inspiration in St. Jacob’s cathedral in Croatia. The elements of her designs are assembled to create sculptural shapes that reference the arches and domes; they can be reconstructed.
Matija Čop, OBJECT 12-1, 2013
St. Jacob’s cathedral, Croatia
We started with a Coco Chanel’s quote, let us finish with another one. “Fashion is everywhere, is everything”, – she said. We agree. Fashion is everywhere. Everywhere is fashion.