Art Inspires Fashion

For years art and fashion have gone together hand-in-hand, even when fashion was overlooked as a form of art. Fashion is one of the purest forms of artistic expression and designers often turn to famous, widely known works for inspiration. Examples of the connection between art and fashion are presented in the slideshow below.

The “Mondrian” day dress by Yves Saint Laurent

“Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow” by Piet Mondrian.

Seen above is the 1930 painting of “Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow” by Piet Mondrian. Piet was famously known for bringing the idea of color blocking to life by using vibrant primary colors, separated by thick black lines and blocks of white. In 1960, Yves Saint Laurent released a cocktail dress that was seemingly identical to Piet’s painting. This sparked the start of color blocking in the fashion world.

YSL archive photo of model wearing Mondrian cocktail dress.

The “Masters” collection by Louis Vuitton

Painting of the “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci.

Created in 1503, the “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci has been famously recognized all over the world. In 2017, Louis Vuitton released a collection of bags, small leather goods, bag charms and shawls featuring the classic painting. Each bag illustrates the painting on the front, in addition to adding a pop of color on the side, handles and attached keychains.

“Mona Lisa” bag part of the Masters collection by Louis Vuitton.

Versace Pop Art collection inspired by Andy Warhol 

“The Marilyn Diptych” painting by Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s iconic silkscreen paintings of Marilyn Monroe have made an everlasting impression on not only the art industry, but the fashion industry as well. The bright colors bring the art to life and leave an artistic impression, making the clothes stand out. In 1991, Gianni Versace released a collection for Spring/Summer fashion week featuring outfits printed with famous Andy Warhol works. In 2018, Donatella Versace paid homage during SS fashion week for the 20th anniversary of her late brother’s death by archiving some of his most iconic ’90s prints, including the Monroe-inspired pop art.

Iran Shayk wearing Versace Pop Art collection.

Rodarte S/S2012 collection inspired by Vincent van Gogh

“Starry Night” painting by Vincent van Gogh 1889.

“Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh was painted in 1889 and represented the dreamer in all of us. While van Gogh was a mentally unstable, impoverished man who was unrecognized for his works during his time, he was above all a dreamer. Fast forward to 2012, dreamers was exactly the tone that Rodarte was trying to portray in their SS collection. Dresses covered in whirling stars flooded the runway in addition to creations representing other van Gogh paintings.

Model wearing Rodarte’s “Starry Night” inspired dress for the S/S2012 collection.

Elsa Schiaparelli’s Lobster Dress collaboration with Salvador Dali

“Lobster Telephone” by Salvador Dali.

Salvador Dali created the “Lobster Telephone” in 1936, combining two unlike objects into one. This surreal creation was an example of the strong sexual connotations that Salvador Dali used in many of his works. Shown above, the genitalia of the lobster is placed right where the mouthpiece of the telephone is located. In 1937 Elsa Schiaparelli used Dali’s works as inspiration to create a dress. This dress was deemed controversial at the time and received a lot of negative feedback.

Elsa Schiaparelli’s Lobster Dress 1937.

“Allegory of Love” collection by L’Wren Scott

Portrait of Johanna Staude by Gustav Klimt.

Johanna Staude was born in Vienna in 1883. She was a young model who sat for Gustav Klimt. This painting was created in 1917, shortly before Klimt died in 1918, however it was never finished. In 2013, L’wren Scott debuted a seemingly identical dress during fashion week, which was inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting. The colors of the dress, the complexion of the model and the added black boa are examples of the inspiration that Scott sought from Klimt.

Model wearing L’wren Scott “Allegory of Love” collection 2013.

Vincent van Gogh’s “La Mousmé” in Alexander McQueen

“La Mousmé” by Vincent van Gogh.

Created in 1888 by Vincent van Gogh, “La Mousmé” was inspired by “Madame Chrysanthème,a popular novel written by Pierre Loti. The novel tells a story of a French man’s affair with a Japanese girl, who van Gogh used as a muse for his painting. His work uses stylistic devices like the carefully modeled face and the vigorous linear patterns of bold colors. In 2013, Jessica Chastain sat for Vogue wearing Alexander McQueen. The pose, the outfit and the flowers are examples of strikingly similar features representing van Gogh’s “La Mousmé.”

Jessica Chastain posing for Vogue in Alexander McQueen.



Olivia Cleary

Fashionista. Aspiring plant mom. Slightly obsessed with JFK.