THE DESIGN STUDIO: Inspiration
When designing clothing, one must have inspiration. It can come from many sources, but it is fundamental to the design process.
Without inspiration, there would be no art to your creation. Like all art forms, it is what opens up your mind to new ideas and translates into more vibrant ideas. Inspiration can come from many places, and the purpose of this post is to show you a few areas where we tend to look when designing clothing.
One of the places that I go to be inspired is the local art museum. Here, I can find many different sources of inspiration is art pieces throughout history. It just so happens that our museum has an extensive collection of early modern European art that has vibrant colors and textures. There is also a vast array of antiquities with beautiful renditions of the human body in space. These are important because they inform the way that clothing will look and feel as well as what it will be like when translated into three dimensional space.
I love the way that this piece shows the human body in motion. It is not a pose that you see daily or would need to consider as the ideal posture for a garment, but it does demonstrate the limits of motion that would be needed for a piece. It also has detailed and (mostly) anatomically correct musculature. While I make clothing for a female form, I still like to see the extent of the musculature and how they present themselves on the surface of the skin. It informs the line of a garment.
The next piece that caught my attention was a courtly lady from the Rococco period in France. My photo does not do it justice but if you look at it in person, the detail of the dress is so fine that you can tell it is heavy velvet with a lame overlay. The dog even looks like you could reach up and pet it. I also love the deep cobalt blue hues contrasted with the striking red. This is not a didactic explanation on art though so I will leave that be.
I found another painting of a courtly woman from France in the same gallery where I was struck by the softer blue hues of her dress (again with the red). The intricate detailing and embroidery of the center fold and hems would have taken a painstaking amount of time and had to have done by hand. It harkens to the great detail of craftsmanship that is Haute Couture.
In both of these images, the women are regal and poised. They exude elegance and grace and when designing garments, I strive to make it so the women who wear them are a more beautiful version of themselves. To follow in the footsteps of the great Monsieur Dior:
Inspiration need not come from art alone.
Many couturiers take their inspiration from architecture. To continue on the theme of my visit to the art museum, I found this coffered ceiling particularly beautiful. The detail of the rosettes and the delicate petals interlaced with the classical architecture of the space brought to mind new ways of juxtaposing delicate floral work with stronger, more dominating lines.
The beauty of architecture is that it surrounds us. You do not need to go to a museum to be struck by its beauty. This is similar to other forms of inspiration. To return to Monsieur Dior, nature offers truly the greatest inspiration. Floral details, as seen in this architecture photo or the below peonies, can inspire an entire collection or a new theme on which to play with ideas.