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The bond between architecture and fashion

When architectural lines entered fashion and why some projectists became designers?

The bond between architecture and fashion  When architectural lines entered fashion and why some projectists became designers?

Milan is in turmoil: after a little less than a year, Design Week returns with the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone events. The links between architecture, design and fashion, although always obvious, became apparent when the world's best-selling collections were designed by designers with a degree in architecture, bringing into play the connection between design for the human body, functionality and contact with spaces and sociality expressed by the two disciplines. The late Virgil Abloh said in an interview that he founded Off-White precisely to continue doing architecture, applying the rules of the discipline to the world of fashion. Granfranco Ferré, on the other hand, was nicknamed "the architect", both because of his degree from Milan Polytechnic, but also because of the essentiality and geometry of his clothes, unforgettable the Palladio Dress that Ferré designed for Dior in 1992, an imitation of a Greek Ionic column. We have selected some architects who have influenced the work of designers, to the point that some of them have been called upon to design actual products.


Le Corbusier 

He is the architect who opened the doors to functionalism, simplicity and rationality and closed them to the trappings and excess of Art Nouveau. Can you think of anyone? Karl Lagerfeld decided to present Chanel's 2014 Autumn-Winter Haute Couture collection on a set replicating a Parisian flat designed by Le Corbusier. The collection was dubbed 'Le Corbusier goes to Versailles': along with baroque inserts, the clothes were inlaid with concrete mosaics, a key element of the new architecture founded by the Swiss architect. Le Corbusier is also a source of inspiration for Rei Kawakubo, designer of Comme des Garçons, who has made deconstruction his sole credo. Le Corbusier's modernism echoes in the abstraction applied by Rei Kawakubo to fashion's primary materials: texture, form and colour.


Zaha Hadid

She was one of the most famous archistars of the new millennium, although she left us prematurely in 2016. Zaha Hadid has been nicknamed 'the lady of fluid lines', not least because the sinuous CityLife buildings were designed by her hand. The influence and avant-garde ideas of the Anglo-Iraqi architect have also been passed on to fashion, so much so that the Spring-Summer 2016 collection of Milly, a brand born in New York in 2000, draws on the soft lines of the Heydar Aliyev Center, a cultural centre designed by Hadid in Baku. It wasn't long before we saw Zaha Hadid in the role of designer: in 2013 she designed Nova Shoes, futuristic silver shoes designed for the United Nude brand. This was followed by the reinterpretation of the Louis Vuitton Bucket Bag requested by the French fashion house from Hadid. 


Daniel Libeskind

Another deconstructivist, this time Daniel Libeskind, a Polish architect naturalised in the United States, inspired the knee-high boots covered in glitter presented by Yves Saint Laurent for the Fall/Winter 2017-2018 collection. The architect's work to which they refer is The Wings, ten metres high and made entirely of aluminium, consists of three sinuous wings intertwined with each other. In addition to their shape and supple lines, the Yves Saint Laurent boots recall Libeskind's sculpture in the teal and silver reflections that dominate the sculpture and mimic the flight of birds.


Carlo Scarpa

There is also an Italian among the architects who have inspired fashion. He is the Venetian Carlo Scarpa, whose Brion tomb in Treviso stimulated Rosie Assoulin's imagination for her Autumn-Winter 2015 collection. The designer was captured by the square, rectangular, triangular geometries used by Scarpa, so much so that she reproduced them on some of her clothes.


Rem Koolhaas

And then there is Rem Koolhaas, world-famous archistar and better known to fashion-system lovers as the Prada house architect. The bond between Miuccia Prada and the Dutch architect was consolidated by the design of Fondazione Prada and has continued over the years with further collaborations, such as the one that gave birth to the rooms made of resin, fur, marble and plaster in which the Prada Fall-Winter 2021 menswear show was staged. Like Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas also ventured into the world of fashion, remodelling Prada's famous backpack.


In the end it's a question of sizes, shapes and colours. In the end, those who manage to rework the idea launched by another creative person in the most effective way, regardless of the sector in which they work, amaze. In the end, Coco Chanel was right when she said: 'Fashion is like architecture: it's all a question of proportions'.