Klimt''s overarching presence in today's fashion.
How have the designs for this year's New York Fashion Week been influenced by this great artist, nearly a century after his death?
I have been admiring the designs from Fashion Week for the past week in order to satisfy my own curiosity. For better or worse, I consider fashion one of the many "branches" of modern art, or one of its several manifestations. I have been wondering for days now, struggling to figure out why some particular pieces, designs, patterns, and color combinations brought me so much pleasure to look at. Surely, some thing one naturally likes and I am quite familiar with the feeling. But sometimes things bring about feeling of nostalgia not easily placed at a moment's notice. In this particular case, I knew it was the latter. No simple attraction could explain why these clothes gave me such warm and familiar feelings.
The revelation came a day later, at a moment when I ran across two of Gustav Klimt's paintings. These particular works brought about the sudden recollection of many of his other paintings. I instantly made the connection and felt a certain relief at finally figuring it all out. I was especially thankful for the "apparitions" as they brought me back to my original source of pleasure, Klimt's paintings. Life has mysterious ways of clarifying many things in serendipitous coincidences and bringing you back to things you truly love.
Gustav Klimt is undoubtedly one of the great masters of color, pattern and texture. He painted the female body and landscapes with the same passionate vibrancy and painstaking detail. His brilliance in creating texture is easily visible in the actual brilliance of his paintings. Rarely do paintings look so ethereal, so bathed in luminescence. His mastery in the combination of many colors, at times muted and monochromatic and other times daringly vibrant, his signature, unmistakable shades of yellow and orange, his circular, block, and swirl patterns which, though differing from one another share the one singular, recognizable Midas touch.
No wonder, then, that more than a century after the peak of this artist's career, Klimt's versions of beauty, seductiveness, and harmony continue to dominate the modern art and fashion world.
For a selection of Gustav Klimt's paintings, visit The Red List.
For his work to not be merely influential but to take such strikingly concrete forms as dresses, patterns, overall presentation in the Fashion Week runways is as fascinating as it is difficult to believe. We cannot know whether Klimt's influence is intentional on the part of the designers. We do know, however, that it is quite striking.
The influence of entire paintings - everything from the color combination, amount, and placement as well as overall texture - is visible in Altuzarra's beautifully iridescent dresses. This was one of my favorite collections.
Wes Gordon has borrowed from the texture detail of Klimt's paintings and reproduced it in a more subdued black and white version on his shirts.
Diane Von Furstenberg's dresses are designed with an almost identical pattern of colors as Klimt. While DVF's signature piece is always the wrap dress, what makes this one exceptionally beautiful is this particular color pattern and combination.
Thakoon owes its golden autumn colors of the dress below to this surreal Klimt painting of a forest in the fall. Further below, you'll find that the soft purple and sparkly black of Thakoon's pieces are reminiscent of the portrait of a fashionable lady by Klimt.
Prabal Gurung, another favorite collection of mine, borrows entire palettes and patterns from Klimt's paintings. As does Tome, further below with "The Three Ages of a Woman".
Edun's designs seem to be simplified, black and white versions of the Klimt's more colorful paintings below. The patterns and diagonal slits in the paintings and dresses are eerily similar.
Suno's color palette and designs are visibly inspired by Klimt's rare more pastel-colored works below.
I was reminded of Klimt's painting "Portrait of Emilie Floge" in each of the three favorite pieces from Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, and DVF below.
The flower details and the cutout design as well as the overall color amount ratio between the block of color versus the touches of flower patterns in the DKNY dresses closely follow the painting "The Sunflower" below.
Nonoo and Lacoste use this beautiful shade of deep blue-teal straight out of Klimt's color palette.
The fall colors of golden yellow and burnt orange are signature Klimt.
The pattern of the Creatures of the Wind dress cannot be based on anything other than Klimt's "The tree of Life".
For more NYFW collections, look over my selections here.