pursuits of architecture and fashion share many preoccupations – line, form,
material, movement, aesthetics and the human scale, to name a few. As
February’s catwalk shows get underway, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on six
fashion designers inspired by architecture.
When the late textile designer Bernat Klein relocated from Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders in the 1950s he commissioned celebrated architect Peter Womersley to design his home. The resulting house – a modernist single-storey triumph with rural views – proved a source of inspiration for Klien, informing his vibrant mohair and tweeds for fashion houses such as Christian Dior and Balenciaga. The house was also used for shows, proving a chic location for in-vogue designers to show their latest designs.
Yves Saint Laurent
The legendary fashion designer once said: “a visit to Marrakech was a great shock to me. This city taught me colour.” But it wasn’t just Moroccan culture that inspired his shift to a bolder fabric palette: he was also endlessly influenced by Jardin Majorelle, the botanical garden which he and his partner Pierre Berge bought in 1980 to save from demolition. With the garden came a villa (aptly renamed Villa Oasis), a cobalt blue and terracotta building surrounded by cacti and towering palms, which the pair turned into their home.
It’s no secret that that designer and filmmaker Tom Ford has long held an appreciation of extraordinary architecture. As well as his own roll-call of homes – which have included a Tadao Ando-designed ranch in Santa Fe and, currently, a New York townhouse by architect Paul Rudolph that once belonged to his hero, Halston – he set his first movie, A Single Man, in LA’s iconic 1948 Schaffer Residence. The house was the vision of John Lautner, one of the most important architects of the 20th century.
When avant-garde designer Pierre Cardin had his first big fashion hit with the bubble dress in 1954, it marked the start of his trademark space age-like geometry. Nearly 40 years later he bought the Palais Bulles, a futuristic summer house on the French Riviera designed by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag, as a complementary showcase for his work. Of the otherworldly structure he once said: “In the nomadic life I lead, in my search for the absolute, as crazy as it is marvellous, no other place offers me the depth of sustenance and support that I feel in the Palais Bulles.”
“I like the simplicity and spaciousness of Le Corbusier,” stated Rei Kawakubo, founder of Japanese label Commes de Garcons, in a rare interview in 1995. Obvious aesthetic parallels can be drawn between the two: her loose-fitting black silhouettes of the 1980s appear at times more like structures that frame the body, simplifying fashion into abstract form, texture and colour – much like the great modernist architect did in his buildings.
When once asked to name an architect who influences his fashion designs, Phillip Lim cited the late Mexican Luis Barragán, and specifically his eponymous 1948 home and workshop in Mexico City. Like Lim, who has a reputation for eye-popping shades, the architect was best known for his brightly coloured buildings: in this case, featuring a yellow entrance hall and a vestibule bathed in hot pink light.