Architecture and fashion have been in creative conversations for decades. Fashion and architecture have always been tightly knitted as they originate from the same root—Art. Fashion is a wearable art while architecture is an inhabitable art. Architecture is stagnant and rather permanent while fashion is a hype that storms in and out as quickly.
When viewed in isolation, they appear to be two distinct artistic forms, but when these two fields collide, the outcome gives rise to an impressive idea. Architects and fashion designers follow similar work principles, geometry, and balance to create form, structure, and design lines. This admiration flows both ways.
Sophisticated structures have been the muse for various fashion designers. The fusion of architecture and fashion is widely known as Architectural Fashion and informally referred to as Wearable Architecture. Architectural fashion has been a style for many to experiment with ever since the outspoken appreciation of architectural works. The fashion hall-of-fame influenced by architecture includes exaggerated proportions, swooping angles, and attention to construction. Strong silhouettes are achieved with a particular emphasis on structure, shape, and form. Fabrics are often manipulated as a building material through pleating, folding, twisting, and layering to create a three-dimensional, architectural look.
Architect turned fashion designer Pierre Balmain once said “Dressmaking is the architecture of movement.” Balmain wasn’t the only one who believed “nothing is more important in a dress than its construction.” Another fashion industry giant, Gianfranco Ferré, was known as “the architect of fashion” because of his structured approach to design. Each designer interprets their architectural inspiration to meet their expression of art. Below are a few of the exceptional examples of Architectural Fashion that made bold statements and lasting impressions on the runway.
Form Follows Fashion
Form follows fashion is more than a theory or a principle. It is an art blog that emerged from the brainchild of the Greek Architect, Viktoria Lytra who explores common grounds between the two artistic fields featuring various movements and styles. Her designs inspired by buildings have brought forth futuristic and aesthetic conceptual garments, jewelry, and shoes.
The two iconic examples of architecture and fashion as the Guggenheim Museum of New York and Hussein Chalayan in the Table Dress AW2000 have a prominent conical shape enveloping the complete look.
Baroque Architecture Backpacks
Designer Konstantin Kofta presents ‘arcs,’ a series of Baroque-inspired backpacks with architectural elements like column caps and flourishes. The main design material is leather which gives a realistic appearance with the stone-grey accessories. The elegant intricacy of design and detailing on the backpack gives it a concrete structure element feel.
Kofta states “Natural forms and curves apply to human architecture”. The curves give it the dramatic shape and decoration which is reflected in sculptural leather pieces to evoke sensual delight.
A design enthusiasts’ remarkably unique style has led to a range of customized architecture-inspired jewelry pieces with the approach of subtle styling. The materials of the pieces make them unique, ranging from concrete to metal and the design makes them architecture inspired.
High-quality handmade accessories inspired by structural elements and dynamic patterns ranging from minimalist to brutalist designs which are suitable for all tastes. Jewelry pieces vary from neckpieces, bracelets, and brooches to earrings and finger-rings.
Shoe and Transparent Clutch Bag by Zaha Hadid Design
The late Zaha Hadid was known to dabble in the fashion world by bringing structural elements reminiscent into designing principles of the fashion industry. A platform wedge shoe and accompanying clutch bag are the limited-edition pieces released by Zaha Hadid Design with British shoe and accessory brand Charlotte Olympia.
The familiar combination of transparent Perspex and rose gold accents sport the familiar flowing forms as a signature of Hadid’s architectural legacy. This dream collaboration between the design teams gave a phenomenal epitome of Architectural Fashion.
Architectural Camouflage is a debut by architecture and design duo Snarkitecture which is a collection of apparel and accessories featuring prints. The prints of tile patterns, from hex tile, subway tile, and marble. The concept to blend in with the exposed architecture and material surrounding us. Not standing out is a fashion statement on its own.
Face Mask by zMask
With the focus on materials and wearable architecture, small-scale firm Los Angeles-based Zimarty made the bold and innovative fashionable face mask, named zMask which meets CDC guidelines for COVID-19. The design is inspired by origami design principles which allow an individual to express one’s personality and the faceted structure helps reduce irritation than a typical mask.
Fluid fashion has always been a contrast to rigid architecture yet the origin for the two is for one purpose only, i.e., a human body. These are a depiction of individual expression as they not only reflect the similarity of thoughts, ideologies, and cultures but also elevates aesthetics and appearances with a functional constraint.