<< back to Trends

How Art Has Inspired Fashion Throughout History


From intricate embroidery to bold print patterns, art has long been the catalyst for fashion designers throughout history. From ancient art history to the 20th century’s pop culture and beyond, many creative minds have used works of art as a source of inspiration when designing their fashion collections.

Although the relationship between art and fashion continues to evolve to reflect today’s societal changes, in this blog post, we’ll explore how different artistic styles and movements have had an impact on fashion trends throughout history.

5 Ways in Which Art Influenced Fashion

Pieces of art and styles have provided the world of fashion with inspiration for patterns, tones, and styles for centuries. In the sections below, you’ll learn about some examples that offer a comprehensive summary of the relationship between art and fashion

Ancient Art History and Madame Vionnet

One of the oldest examples of how art influenced fashion collections involves designer Madeleine Vionnet. This fashion icon was inspired by ancient Greek sculptures and paintings, which helped her bring to life her collections between the 1910s and 1940s. 

Her signature style included using materials such as silk crepe or jersey to create subtle contours that gently revealed and accentuated the body’s curves, in a way similar to how garments contoured subjects in classical sculptures.

Pierpaolo Piccioli and Hieronymus Bosch’s the Garden of Earthly Delights

Pierpaolo Piccioli – Valentino’s main designer – designed a spring 2017 collection that was heavily inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s iconic triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” His unique patterns, intricate beading, sophisticated silhouettes, and bold colours were both a homage to this masterwork and a reminder of what fashion can achieve. 

Dolce and Gabbana and the Baroque Style

The brand’s Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2012 heavily drew from the style colours, and patterns that were characteristic of a particular period during the 17th century: the Baroque era. The Italian fashion house used bold curves and intricate details to create Baroque-inspired gilded brocade gowns, dazzling floral patterns, and eye-catching silhouettes. 

Christian Dior and the Impressionism

The iconic fashion brand Christian Dior has been heavily influenced by the art movements of the 19th century. For example, when John Galliano was the fashion house’s creative director, Dior explored fashion pieces that were inspired by impressionist paintings, particularly Monet’s work. 

Galliano also incorporated such illustrations onto fabrics using silk screening techniques and used some of the most famous works completed during the Impressionist period as inspiration for the house’s collections. 

Mondrian and Yves Saint Laurent

The iconic Dutch painter Piet Mondrian has left his mark on art history by offering inspiration for simple yet powerful lines and bold colour schemes. His influence can also be seen in the work of French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who has been credited with shaping the contemporary women’s silhouette. In the 1960s, Yves Saint Laurent also designed cocktail dresses that evoked Mondrian’s abstract canvases, lines, and patterns. 

3 Strategies To Bring Art and Fashion Closer in Everyday Life

Fashion and art are deeply intertwined. Just like art has been used to express the culture of a certain era, we now use fashion to express our personal style.

For centuries these two forms of creative expression have worked together and provided inspiration for one other. However, letting your personal style be inspired by art might not always be easy. Below, you’ll find three strategies to bring art and fashion closer to your everyday life. 

Let Yourself Be Inspired by Art

A great way to get started is to take a closer look at the world of art around you. Visit an art museum or gallery and spend time exploring the paintings, sculptures and other artwork on display. You might marvel at established works from well-known artists, or spend time discovering lesser-known pieces from emerging creators. 

Alternatively, you may consider creating an art collection at home by selecting pieces of art from specialised websites like Singulart or Artsy. Start creating your at-home collection of unique art pieces. 

In any case, learning more about art can help you get started with creating a unique wardrobe that is inspired by artistic expression. 

Choose Designers and Styles That Remind You of an Art Period

Many fashion designers draw inspiration from classic art movements, giving familiar styles a modern twist. Alternatively, choosing to wear pieces that make you feel part of a particular period could be one way to bring both art and fashion closer to everyday life.

Research the Different Types of Art and Replicate Your Favourite Styles

Knowing about the different art movements is a great way to add an artistic touch to your personal style. For example, you can look up Impressionism or Rococo styles and recreate outfits that are inspired by these periods by using accessories, clothing pieces, or makeup techniques. 

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution you can take advantage of, learning about different art periods and how they influence current and past fashion trends can help you enhance your own personal style. Get started experimenting with different styles and garments today!

Images from the Christian Dior Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A

<< back to Trends