Its Architecture Couture Darling…

(Fig.1) Architectural fashion at its finest. Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times, Don Ashby, sir Norman Fosters Hearst building echoed in a spring 2009 look from Gareth Pugh.


Within this blog post, inspired by our fashion and architecture lecture with Meline Goode, I will be highlighting how fashion designers have been ever so influenced in their designs by the growing, edgy approaches to architecture. Dominant fashion names such as Chanel, Hugo Boss, and Rick Owens are just a few of the many fashion designers looking at architecture to keep up with the vastly changing fashion world.


“Fashions latest muse is architecture” – Nick Remsen

Before we get into the couture darling, watch Chanel’s Haute Couture fall 2014/2015 show, see if you can see how Karl Lagerfeld may have used architecture as inspiration for his couture designs.

I am overly excited to be able to talk about my two favourite passions, fashion and architecture. From building to bedroom, fashion designers are striving more towards architecture for their inspiration than ever before. Karl Lagerfeld is a key figure in the fashion industry, and he has took a noticeable shine to incorporating architectural elements into his couture clothing, a stunning example of this was highlighted in his Emirati resort 2015 show in Dubai, where many of the looks embellished motifs of the grand Burj Khalifa skyscraper.

(Fig.2) Chanel Couture, embellished with motif’s of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Designers are who they are through inspiration, so it is no wonder that so many fashion designers have taken to architecture to think about what will be featured on their next big runway. Karl has integrated the great Burj Khalifa in two ways within this couture piece, the obvious is the glistening embellishments which sit perfectly around the rim of the tunic, and the second is the fit and flow of the outfit, which expands at the bottom and gradually becomes tighter at the top, just like the building. The colours of the outfit also mimics the view of the Burj Khalifa at night, with thousands of little lights making the outline of the building stand out beautifully.


Lagerfield humorously dubbed his Chanel Fall 2014 couture collection as “Le Corbusier goes to Versailles!” And the show did indeed hold some of the odd, wacky attributes in which would be seen in a Le Corbusier rendering.

The whole fashion is architecture movement is admittedly new and we should expect to see the trend grow increasingly within the next few years, as whilst buildings appear to be getting bigger and better, fashion designers believe, so should couture! Keeping up with architectural advances will ensure that fashion designers are too, keeping up to date with changes in society.

Mary Katrantzou, a Greek fashion designer currently living in London, took a very clever approach to interpreting interiors into her very first stand alone runway in 2011. Katrantzou took a lot of initial inspiration from the photography of Helmut Newton and Guy Boardin, she found that within their photography they focused just so much on the interiors around the models as they did the models themselves. She wanted to embody this technique within her fashion but in a whole different way, by putting the interior onto the model. Okay so arguably this isn’t so much buildings and architecture, but Katrantzou’s work does fit in perfectly with what I am trying to accentuate which is the influence of one design world on another, and how interior design and architecture are giving fashion designers the opportunity to work in completely different ways. Katrantzou printed images from Architectural Digest and World of Interiors for her pieces, as these images provided a great vintage feel which again was influenced by the late work of Helmut Newton.


If you are inspired by the work of Mary Katrantzou have a look at more of her work within the Vogue fashion show finder.

Rick Owens, an American fashion designer from Porterville, California, has too looked towards architecture and also brutalism in his case, to inspire his couture designs; It is from these influences that he has adapted a radical Avant-garde aesthetic within much of his work. Owens 2014/15 ready-to-wear catwalk show ‘The Faun in the Concrete Jungle’ was exclusively inspired by the historic modernist, architect, and designer Marcel Breuer, a key figure within the Bauhaus Art School. Owens was inspired by Breuer’s use of concrete, curved blocks, and distinctive square blocks characterizing the brutalist aesthetic. To transform this into fashion, Owens worked with concrete tones of tan, grey and green, dressing the models in pale white dusty make-up to reflect the dryness and harshness of concrete.

Akris Albert Kriemler is another fashion designer whom takes to fusing architecture into his fashion designs, he looks at structures and cities for inspiration. Kriemler is a Swiss fashion designer, competing amongst the top fashion designers in the world. The designer incorporates cities into his shows through his clothing and also within the interior theme of the shows, creating a rather successful abstract, Art Noveau mood. For the Akris Resort collection he took inspiration from the city of Chefchaouen, a city where the landscape is predominantly blue, and full of remarkable architecture.

The link between architecture and fashion is much closer than I thought, in fact, what’s to say that soon architects wont be influenced by fashion designers! To become eclectic, and experienced, we must look towards things we wouldn’t expect would contribute to us, as the best wonders are hidden. Designers such as Karl Lagerfield and Rick Owen would not have the unique quality and fame they have today if it wasn’t for their inspiration. The study of fashion and architecture has honestly captivated me, I will be focusing on this topic in more detail in the future, following up the movement of fashion designers towards architecture in the contemporary world.


  1. Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times, 19.11.15,
  2. Burj Khalifa inspired couture, 19.11.15
  3. Mary Katrantzou, architectural digest, 19.11.15,
  4. Architectural,
  5. Rick owens fall 2012, 19.11.15
  6. Akris Resort 2015, 19.11.15,





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