As I was looking through Harper’s Bazzar’s September issue and I came across a Calvin Klein fall 2017 ad. I instantly thought of Las Meninas by Velasquez (1656). It’s not surprising that fashion takes it’s influence from art and vice versa. It’s clever for a brand to advertise using references to themselves. Calvin Klein became a world renowned brand because of their controversial, sexy billboards, TV and magazine advertisements.
The art history concept of branding within branding is present. Notice how Velasquez is painting a royal portrait and includes himself in the work? Velasquez is branding himself as an accomplished artist by giving himself credit with the task of painting the portrait of the Spanish royal family. This trend continues with another piece, At the Moulin Rogue by Toulouse Lautrec (1895). Toulouse Lautrec includes himself in his own artwork as a man of the people. Lautrec was influenced by the night life in Paris and he responds by including what he see’s and himself interacting with the people in the night scene. Lautrec gives himself credit of his daily life inspirations. Velasquez and Lautrec include themselves as another way of branding themselves as artists.
This all relates back to the Calvin Klein fall 2017 ad campaign, in which the models are posing the new fall collection while a billboard of the past spring Calvin Klein season is in the background. As a reference to how Calvin Klein got famous while including the new vision of the brand under Raf Simons.
The decadence of sewn jewels on garments has made it’s mark in fashion. It was a trend that started with Queen Elizabeth with her pearled gowns and over time it became a symbol of wealth of women to wear their wealth because it’s clothing, an outfit wouldn’t be worn for several years they’d get new dresses with new designs, which means sewing more jewels in different places. The trend followed through many eras and appears on runway shows today, but what’s interesting about this trend is it isn’t consistent. It appears in one era and it disappears for a while and reappears again, being most prominent in the Elizabethan/Baroque, Rococo and Georgian era then disappears to a more practical form of a brooch to be reused on several outfits from the Victorian era and throughout the 20th century. Now it’s modern interpretation is reappearing now through designers like Balmain, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana.
Notice in the Elizabethan/Baroque era how the jewels sewn were one or two layers of gold string, pearls and a mix of precious jewels like sapphire, emerald and rubies. All pieces in few stones but in heavier, larger pieces to be apparent from a far distance.
The Rococo era expressed women’s femininity, behind all the bright pastels, ruffles, bows, lace and silks, jewels aren’t huge and have been replaced with rows of pearls. However, if all stones are no longer present, nothing replaces the timelessness of a diamond, it is said that Marie Antoinette had gowns with diamonds sewn in.
After the flamboyance of the era before, regency represents a period for women to have garments more true to their figures and high waisted empire gowns. The extravagance of beaded dresses isn’t a lost art with the aristocracy and royalty, smaller gems are sewn with rows of smaller pieces of diamonds and pearls or sewn threads of gold.
Eman Al-alami, wearing Point
Gucci Fall 2016
Gucci Fall 2016
Dolce&Gabbana Fall 2012
Balmain Fall 2012
Dior Spring 2000
Women of the Baroque, Rococo and Regency who wore those garments all used their garments to represent the wealth of their families or empires, none of their clothing were functional or used for most of their daily lives, it served a more ornamental purpose. The few modern interpretations with subtle past references show how beaded garments have made a point of interest for the 21st century in mainly for ready to wear collections of Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Balmain. It’s what gives women a hint of glamour and fun in their clothing of basic garments for everyday life. Ready to wear serves as function with quality because most women are working in today’s society, moving from place to place unlike walking, leisure and remaining in one place for most days of the month. However, it’s influence will always be a stamping point on couture for example in John Galliano for Dior in his spring 2000 collection all inspired by Marie Antoinette. What all these garments have in common, is it’s use of luxurious fabrics and technique of sewing the garment but its more practical materials for affordability for the upper middle class and higher classes, none of these jewels are genuine, they are all made of crystal, plastic and metal beads, therefore if these garments were to loose their function, no one would feel guilty to clean these artful pieces from their closets. Beaded garments whether the jewels are genuine or artificial is a never ending trend that enhance a woman’s love for shinier, finer and beautiful things in life.
The painting, “Princess de Brogile” by Ingres (1853), I confess is a masterpiece I have to glance at everyday. It reminds me of the importance of effortless beauty, in which I am in constant search of finding. In the portrait the hair is up, her calm/mysterious smile, posture and the richness of the blue and gold in her beautiful dress and jewelry. Ingres painted this woman with high photorealism qualities. It sparks wonder that makes me on how he managed to get the richness of her dress to be like a photograph. This is a painting I am highly passionate about.
Princess de Brogile, in my eyes has qualities in which I see myself wanting to achieve, the mysterious smile and high fashion quality. It’s highly sophisticated in my eyes to be able to stay calm while being happy. It’s always beautiful to be admired when spending more on an outfit. I love the hidden mystery of the hair being kept up, one can tell a lot about a woman if her hair is long or short. One can’t tell her hair length. I love her big eyes, because she’s looking at something but having thoughts. She’s looking with intelligence. It all comes together naturally.
It’s a shame that this painting was completed when de Brogile passed (some debate whether her sudden death was caused over alcoholism, no one knows for sure), this was a portrait was commissioned by her husband kept in his possession to keep her spirit, beauty and the love he had for her alive in his heart.
I think one of my greatest findings before the dawn of my adulthood (20) is finding and growing in my passion of the arts. Finding the comparison of it’s hidden messages to impact my life.
Spring 2016, hasn’t gotten any less fabulous due to the abundance of art influences of one fashion house. Gucci. Thanks to Alessandro Michele.
When I first watched the Gucci spring collection this year, I loved the amount of silks, floral motifs and ruffles. I thought of a fashionable traveler finding the ways with her map skirt to discover and pick up the fashions of Asia. However, to my discovery Alessandro Michele, put a lot more artistic influence than what meets to my eye.
Here is only ONE look and the list of inspirations it took make on the Gucci Spring 2016 catwalk:
Bomber Jacket- 1920s Amelia Earhart
The embroidery silk technique used in Japanese Edo era.
To read the original article from British Vogue, with more information written by Lauren Milligan (AKA Where I got my art facts from), click the link below: