Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Clothing and Shelter, two out of the three basic human needs. The expansive fields of architecture and fashion can be distilled to those two words; however, it is not as simple as it seems. The myriad facets of these subjects affect us in all aspects of our lives, be it in a social, economic, or cultural way.
“Fashion is architecture. It is a matter of proportion.” – Coco Chanel
Architecture and fashion have been affecting the way we live, the manner in which our societies form and flourish ever since civilization came into existence. Society as a whole is influenced by what is around it – the context in which it is growing.
Defining architecture as just the physically built environment limits the immensity of the subject greatly. Over the years, it has influenced us and how we see the world. Similarly, just saying fashion is a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and in a specific context is not enough.
Architecture and Fashion are progenies of art. Ignoring the obvious differences between the two, architecture and fashion have an immense deal in common with each other.
Two words. Design and Creativity. These are the essence of both domains. Both include imagination, art, visualization, creativity, and skill with problem-solving being the plinth of both fields.
World-renowned architects like Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Luis Barragan have dabbled their feet in the expansive field of fashion - either by creating a footwear design of their own or just simply by providing inspiration.
Zaha Hadid and Fashion
Zaha Hadid, the British-Iraqi mastermind, known for her impressive futuristic designs, has not only been a virtuoso in architecture but also contributed to the fashion industry by joining forces with the biggest names in the fashion world. These include Charlotte Olympia, Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Fendi, and Lacoste.
The Louis Vuitton Icone Bag
The Louis Vuitton and Zaha Hadid collaboration resulted in the reinterpretation of the iconic LV Bucket Bag. Hadid and her team focused on the functionality of the bag as a container. A white bag with the signature LV logo patterned all over, it has an interesting hot pink center which provides an eye-turning contrast. This piece of art curated by the architect showcases her trademark style- a fluid form and curving facades.
Breaking the mold of the monotonous, Hadid has stamped her seal on this already iconic LV bag and left behind a legacy not just through architecture but in design as a whole.
Adidas Superstar is one of the world's beloved and recognizable shoes. An already unique collaboration with American singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams, Adidas has decided to kick this collection up a notch by collaborating with Zaha Hadid as well.
Hadid's interpretation of this collection puts her own twist on it by adding lines that curve starting from the base of the tongue over the edge of the soles. She created shadows and added depth to the shoe, which was missing in the original design.
‘She's always been one of the most talented architects of our time and history, in my opinion, with the shapes and the kinds of structures that she transcribes from her imagination. I think that Zaha's designs are just like her buildings, they augment reality forever.’ - Pharrell Williams
Swarovski, an Austrian jewelry brand worked with Zaha Hadid to create the Celeste Necklace and Cuff in 2008.
The necklace was made using blackened pure silver with precious stones such as white topaz, black spaniel, and smoky quartz.
This statement piece was a testament to her love for organic forms. Looking like a single curve enveloping the neck, the necklace looks almost snake-like. It embodies fluidity and creates a dynamic form, much like Hadid's buildings. It is safe to say her jewelry takes clear inspiration from her architectural design, and vice versa.
Frank Gehry and Fashion
Known for his immaculate design philosophy, Frank Gehry is not only the architect of some of the eminent attractions such as the Guggenheim Museum, Gehry Residence, Dancing House, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. His style is described as beautifully chaotic, with audacity in his buildings being the outstanding factor. His collaborations in fashion also showcased his out-of-the-box style.
Tiffany & Co.
Gehry has collaborated with the American luxury jewelry retailer, Tiffany & Co. on a number of their collections. Together the unconventional architect and the distinguished jewelry company have come up with designs that are fresh, unprecedented, and spontaneous.
They created six distinct jewelry collections- namely the Orchid, Fish, Torque, Equus, Axis, and Fold collections. Each of which showcased Gehry's intense passion and exquisite skill.
Nothing about Lady Gaga is boring. So why should her fashion choices be? Called the 'walking art piece', Gaga wore a hat designed by Gehry to a benefit event at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
Francesco Vezzoli, an artist friend of Gehry approached him to help him design a headpiece - which later has famously come to be known as the 'Gehry hat'.
“Since I’ve never designed a hat before, I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to walk,” he said. “I did have an idea that involved people with sticks holding it up, walking behind her. I didn’t know how far I could go with this thing.” -Frank Gehry
Finding Inspiration from Architecture
Fashion finds inspiration from everything. The synergy created between fashion and architecture, especially, is incredible. The essence of architectural marvels can be seen worn by models on the runway time and again. Big fashion powerhouses like Balenciaga, Chloe and, Dolce & Gabbana have often seen hinting at architectural influences.
The Balenciaga Spring 2008 collection took heavy inspiration from the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain. Designed by Frank Gehry, the building has a metallic finish with sharp edges which was reflected in the runway collection.
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana is an eminent Italian luxury fashion house founded in 1985 by the two Italian designers - Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
The Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer collection of 2012 was inspired by the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims, France.
Raf Simons, designer for Dior for the Haute Couture Fall 2014 is a man of the present. The inspiration for the line came from the interior of Esterhazy Palace, Hungary.
With a focus on intricacy in these modern designs, every piece in this collection resembled the beautiful and dainty architecture of the palace.
Architecture is how the person places herself in the space. Fashion is about how you place the object on the person. - Zaha Hadid
All in all..
The interrelation between fashion and architecture is unmistakable. More and more fashion designers are looking to their physical surroundings to find inspiration. Both architects and fashion designers are constantly looking up to each other for a healthy influence which ultimately affects their design in a more fruitful and fulfilling way. The world of design is constantly evolving and with it the designers, be it of garment or building, must develop too to achieve a more innovative tomorrow.
Learn more about Parametric Architecture.