Drafting A Finer Silhouette

If Spring 2008 fashion month was an ode to the paintbrush, Spring 2009 nodded directly at the drafting board. Architecture was all over the collections, from Proenza Schouler’s literal interpretation of New York’s famed Chrysler Building—in the form of a silver lame jumpsuit—to subtler references like the caged booties at Yves Saint Laurent, which reminded some of the Beijing National Stadium (known informally as The Bird’s Nest).

It makes sense that designers would use sharp, solid structures as inspiration in a fashion cycle where textiles are nipped close to the body and precise, origami-like folds play an important role. At Balenciaga, Nicholas Ghesquiere used minuscule pleats around the collar bone, shoulder and upper arms to comfortably constrain the wearer close to her core—much like a building depends on its core to stand straight.

For his first showing in Paris, Gareth Pugh pushed his futuristic-Victorian-Goth look down the runway with court jester-like accordion necklines and 3-D pleats jutting out that emulated Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House. Meanwhile, Christopher Kane cited Planet of the Apes as his main source of inspiration, but the 3-D scallop edges on several garments seemed to take cues from wooden shingles on a seaside shanty.

Even in Milan, where the desire to evoke prettiness often supersedes the importance of staying on-trend, Dontatella Versace managed to rise above that sentiment with her short, graphic lampshade skirts and metallic strips of fabric, which were folded and lined up diagonally across the body like a set of stairs.

Of course, fashion can influence architecture. One must look no farther than Zaha Hadid‘s Chanel Mobile Art Museum, whose shape was inspired by the brand’s classic quilted bag, for proof.

—Jessica Arthur




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