Textiles: Architecture Research

The rounded arches of the main entrance.

Brief: Architecture to inspire garment drawing/fashion design/garment design.

Designers that are inspired by architecture:

  • Alexander McQueen
  • Vivienne Westwood
  • Comme des Garcons
  • Yohji Yamamoto
  • Future Systems
  • Frank Gehry
  • Zaha Hadid

Task One

Identify visual elements that give you scope to achieve the brief. Five to six pages of primary and secondary references.

  • Structure a big thing in architectural fashion. Not generally floaty and organic.
  • Changing the silhouette of the body form
  • Need to reference modern and older buildings

Primary and Secondary Research

V&A, London

The Rotunda Chandelier by Dale Chihuly. Wow!

The entrance hall it hangs in is spectacular too.

According to V&A website, the Grand Entrance was built 1904-9. It's design is inspired by the Classic Revival style of 16th century France.

This style was all about showing off and making a space look as grand as possible. The use of polished marble and stone helps to achieve this. Clean and uniform lines which follow a pattern and are very standard. Structurally there are massive pillars, archways and a dome top it off. Layer upon layer of detail to look at before you reach the light that streams in from the top of the dome. Pretty awe inspiring.

Natural History Museum, London

I still remember my first visit to the Natural History Museum. Vivid memories of the dinosaur of course, but also the building. I still love it, but never researched it...

The Waterhouse building - designed by Alfred Waterhouse, it opened in 1881. Good bit about it on museum website. Other interesting elements for fashion brief other than what you can see in the pics:
  • Great example of Romanesque architecture.
  • Above the grand staircase Waterhouse use glass and iron in the roof. He left these elements on show on purpose because he wanted visitors to see the beauty of the material he had used. 
  • The ceiling of the Central Hall has detailed paintings of plants on panels.

The Earl of Doncaster Hotel

Built in 1938 in the Art Deco style.

My Christmas treat with work this year - afternoon tea at The Earl. Have never been in, but heard that it had recently been refurbished so was looking forward to seeing. Due to my liking for watching Poirot I've absorbed plenty of art deco style over the years.

The afternoon tea was so rubbish - just kid's party food in a tower rather than on paper plates. The decor too was a bit disappointing - for me it just didn't hang together properly somehow. But, there were elements I really liked so not all boo:

  • Stepped design around the door.
  • Use of stainless steel, marble offset against black. 
  • Monotone colour scheme.
  • Use of curves offset against sharp straight lines.
  • Uniform design of features with rhythm to them.

  • Chandeliers great - didn't really rate the rest of the interior. It lacked elegance somehow.
  • The tubes in the big chandelier that hung over the bar was fantastic. As soon as I saw it I wondered if this kind of design inspired the designers of flapper dresses. Mind thinking about how I could use clear plastic, heat it up and curl around needles as I did to make beads. 
  • The black and white chandelier is interesting in shape - designed into a dress it would completely alter the silhouette.

Cast, Doncaster

  • New performance venue in Doncaster, opened in September 2013. Funky design. It has a seventies vibe - luxurious but not posh.
  • Main space: Rich colours. Burgundy, orange, red. Opulent. The use of colours close together on the colour wheel it is not overwhelming and knits together. Lots of textures on walls by building up layers of wood painted different colours and slightly offset against each other.
  • Reception is more contemporary in neutral colours with red used as accent. The box office is decorated with shiny copper which again is curved and layered in a funky way and this more industrial material is offset against floaty organic shapes that reach floor to ceiling across the atrium at the front of the building.

Textiles session - 10 January

Got the sketch book out and looked in detail at the elements of the buildings above that inspire me. Whilst I had ideas (see sketchbook) I want to push it a bit more and look more closely at buildings which are usually ignored.

From this research I want to do: different kinds of buildings:
  • Derelict, crumbling buildings - playing with decay over a still recognisable form, but worn in places.
  • Farm outbuildings -like the way they are patched up with whatever materials are around the yard. As they weather, the textures become really interesting.
  • Industrial buildings - not conventionally beautiful or inspiring, but again the use of corrugated metal and lots of flat featureless surfaces is worth exploring.
  • Building sites - with scaffolding and unfinished walls.
I also need to look at the work of artists inspired by architecture. Will record this in my sketchbook, but put links on here to sources for pics and stuff.

Found great resource: http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/documents/skinbones_exhibition_guide.pdf
Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture - from Skin and Bones in 2008, Somerset House, Embankment Galleries.

Commes des Garcons

Alexander McQueen

Frank Gehry


Yeohlee Teng

Information below from: http://yeohlee.com/collections/


Yeohlee sought inspiration for her Fall 2006 collection from the architecture of Italian Rationalism, 1926-43. Though it is more often referred to as Fascist architecture, the reality is that this revival of classicism, blended with machine age aesthetics and a later infusion of baroque opulence, had less to do with the totalitarian regime of Mussolini than with the then prevailing ideas of modernity

YEOHLEE draws inspiration from an infatuation with the work of Robert Mallet-Stevens and the awe-inspiring engineering of suspension bridges, particularly the flawless rope bridges that have three support cables held up by the stays. The collection is comprised of a wide range of fabrics in contrasting weights, from white gossamer cotton to black double face wool.

Yeohlee’s Fall 2005 takes inspiration from a recent trip to Mexico City and the simple and pure shapes of Luis Barragan’s architecture. This is realized through geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles, triangles and circles. Tiers of fabric, cut-outs, ruching and frayed edges – achieved by ripping the fabric instead of cutting it – are recurring design elements.

Gareth Pugh


Sandra Backlund



Sandra Backlund is a fashion designer with an exam from Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden. She
founded her own label directly after graduation in 2004 and has been working full time with her collection since then. The handicraft process has always been very important for her work. Sandra has been experimenting with a lot of different materials and techniques, but it is her three-dimensional collage knitting that is most significant.
In 2007 Sandra Backlund was the grand prix winner of Festival International De Mode & Photographie in Hyeres, Sandra’s work has recently been selected for exhibitions like “Hair Du Temps” at la Galerie d’art du Conseil General in France, “Paper Fashion” at MoMu in Antwerp and MUDAM in Luxembourg and “Swedish Fashion – Exploring a New Identity” at Fashion and Textile Museum in London and Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. In 2008 she was selected by Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia to be her protégé for the Protégé Project presented in Florence and again in 2009 for the Cittadelarte Fashion B.E.S.T project together with Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto. Except from her own line Sandra Backlund has also made some special knit wear pieces for other brands like Louis Vuitton and
Emilio Pucci.


Extracts from Blogs/articles about architecture and fashion:

Source of info below: http://tagtraeumerin.de/?p=65

It is often mentioned that fashion is closely related to art, but I think that the interconnection between fashion and architecture is sometimes even stronger. To illustrate this, I picked five examples from the spring-collections of 2008 and five famous, exceptional buildings from the 20th and 21st century.

Balenciaga & Guggenheim-Museum Bilbao (by Frank O. Gehry)

Emilio Pucci & Finca Güell in Barcelona (by Antoni Gaudí)

Alexander McQueen & Sydney Opera House (by Jørn Utzon)

Anne Klein & Unité d’Habitation in Marseille (by Le Corbusier)

Akris & Holocaust Memorial Berlin (by Peter Eisenman)
Click on the photos to view bigger versions. All runway-shots are from Style.

Cheatsheet on architectural fashion:

Source of info below:

Cheat Sheet | Architectural Fashion

w490 ImageHiroko Masuike for The New York Times, Don AshbySir Norman Foster’s Hearst building echoed in a spring 2009 look from Gareth Pugh.
Cheat Sheet is a cocktail-party primer guaranteed to boost your style I.Q.
What is Architectural Fashion?

  • Fabrics as a building materials, creating both hard and round lines.
  • Oversize proportions, exaggerated angles and swooshy layers.
  • Strong silhouettes with emphasis on structure, shape and form.
  • Major pleats, folds, pinning, layering, surface texture and three-dimensional designs.

  • Old-school masters

  • Pierre Balmain (1914-82) declared, “dressmaking is the architecture of movement,” believing “nothing is more important in a dress than its construction.”
  • With his structured approach to design, Gianfranco Ferré (1944-2007) was known as “the architect of fashion.”
  • Not uncoincidentally, both Balmain and Ferré held degrees in architecture.

  • w490 ImageDon Ashby, ReutersA Spring 2009 look from Gianfranco Ferré and the Sydney Opera House.
    The New Guard

  • In 2007, Derek Lam gave a nod to Frank Gehry’s IAC building as an influence on his fall collection: “Walking to work each day between Chelsea and the Meatpacking District I get to enjoy all sorts of views of Frank Gehry’s building, from which I got a lot of the impetus for this collection.” (Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz has also channeled Gehry’s soft lines, as pictured below.)
  • Last October, the 27-year-old avant-garde designer Gareth Pugh presented a collection of armorlike outfits (see top photo) — “a modern warrior,” he called the aesthetic — bringing engineered clothing to new heights.
  • The current Ferré designers, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, are carrying the label’s lineage into the future, with “the introduction of new, more fluid fabrics that enable the hard architectural shapes to become softer and more feminine.”
  • The Swedish designer Sandra Backlund doesn’t look at architecture for direct inspiration, but admits, “I am very fascinated by all the ways you can highlight, distort and transform the natural silhouette with clothes and accessories.”

  • w490 ImageDon Ashby, ReutersAn orange Lanvin dress from Spring 2008 and Frank Gehry’s Hotel Marqués De Riscal.
    Wear it this season

  • Slip into Moncler Gamme Rouge puffy jackets, Giambattista Valli’s voluminous gowns or Maison Martin Margiela geometric jackets.

  • Go deeper

  • Read interviews with Hussein Chalayan, Rem Koolhaas and others in Bradley Quinn’s“The Fashion of Architecture.”
  • Brooke Hodge shares hundreds of illustrations and dozens of interviews in “Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture.”

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