There is a common artistic thread running through all our lives: our clothes. For most of us, fashion is a means of personal expression; for designers, clothes are an art form all their own. But what about when visual meets wearable, jumping off the canvas and onto cotton, spandex, silk … you name it!

These 5 designers have taken inspiration from fellow artists and turned their work into wearable visual art.


Designer: Isabel Marant

Isabel Marant’s latest collection of geo-chic patterns gains its singularity and sense of motion from artist Joan Miró. Miró famously said: “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.” This vision rings true in Marant’s latest endeavor and it is sure to turn heads with her eye-catching appropriation of Miró-inspired shape and graphic contrast.


Isabel Marant’s Artist Inspiration: Joan Miró


Designer: Valentino

This new look from Valentino is actually a bit of a throwback to none other than Valentino himself. The Spring/Summer 2015 dress is an update of a gorgeous ivory satin evening gown from 1968 sporting the same delicate hand-painted coral. The revamp omits the sleeves and a long swath of fabric from the bottom, but the essence of the dress remains feminine and artistic. The original gown was on display with 130 of the designer’s most iconic creations at Somerset House in London as part of the Valentino: Master of Couture exhibit in 2012-2013.


Artist Inspiration:  vintage Valentino design from Spring/Summer 1968

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Designer: Milly

Michelle Smith a.k.a. Milly turned to conceptual art for her Spring 2015 collection. Her designs lean toward two artists in particular: John Baldessari and Dan Graham, whose work is characterized by incorporating other forms, such as photography, video, and text, into their pieces. Their influence can be seen in the bold prints and colors that seem to have a narrative of their own.


Michelle Smith’s Artist Inspiration: John Baldessari


Designer: Alice + Olivia

Designer Alice + Olivia pays homage to another type of artist entirely: the illustrator. Their Spring 2015 designs have sprung from the pages of One Special Summer, the illustrated travel journal that Lee and Jackie Bouvier (who would later become none other than Jackie O) kept throughout the summer they spent traveling in Europe. The charm and whimsy of the book are reflected in this happy collection, bound to brighten even the drabbest day.



Artist inspiration: One Special Summer, illustrated by Lee Bouvier & Jacqueline Bouvier (later Kennedy Onassis)

Designer: Christian Dior

Christian Dior’s latest collection is strung out on lasers and slashback blazers. Translation? It looks a whole lot like David Bowie in 1973 – and we love it. Bowie is all over these clothes, and Raf Simons, the designer of the collection, has good reason for that. “He’s a chameleon, able to reinvent himself, but he’s also the materialization of something else,” Simons said of Bowie. “More than a man – an idea.” It is that artistic element of transcendence that Simons honors here, and from the wild ponytails to the famous red boots, it’s working.


Artist Inspiration: David Bowie