The Armory Show Hits All the Right Fashion Notes

In Industry News, Runways, What's New by Lauren ParkerLeave a Comment

New York–The world-renowned Armory Show finished up Sunday, with 205 international galleries exhibiting thousands of pieces of 21st and 20th century art at Piers 92 & 94. A must-see for anyone interested in art, the show is increasingly drawing a fashion crowd. After all,  as shown on the recent runways, art has been one of the biggest influences on fashion lately.

So it comes as no surprise that an afternoon at the Armory show had us yelling (perhaps too loudly) “Mary Katrantzou’s digital photo prints!” when viewing Marc Quinn’s gorgeous flowers (above), or “Chanel! Spring 2014!” when we saw Alma Thomas’ primary colored paint daubs.

Whether fashion follows art or vice versa, remains up for debate, but take a look at some perfectly matched pairings. For more art images, check out our Instagram coverage at


Alma Thomas, “End of Autumn,” 1968, acrylic on canvas, 25″ x 25″; Chanel, Spring 2014

Karl Lagerfeld sent his Spring models down the Chanel runways with sketchpads, paint brushes and art portfolios, looking like the hippest, chicest art students you’ve ever seen. Handbags and apparel were covered with colorful dabs of paint that almost looked like tiny collages. This painting by Alma Thomas could have certainly been an inspiration.

Alex Katz, "Ada with Mirror, 1969, oil on masonite, 10: x 14"; Prada Spring 2014

Alex Katz, “Ada with Mirror, 1969, oil on masonite, 10: x 14”; Prada Spring 2014

Prada’s entire Spring 2014 show was filled with artistic elements, from art leather canvases that doubled as art canvases to fur coats with patchwork faces. Artist Alex Katz seems the perfect muse.


Ross Bleckner, “Untitled,” 2013, oil on linen, 72″ x 72″; Brandon Sun, Fall 2014

Ross Bleckner is one of the most popular contemporary artists (remember when an art collector on “Sex and the City” used his Bleckner painting to lure women to his apartment?) and if you’ve seen his work in person you’d understand.  Blurred photo florals are a hot trend in fashion now too, as evidenced by Brandon Sun’s Fall 2014 collection.


Matt Mullican; Mary Katrantzou, Fall 2014

Patches, signs and emblems are an emerging fashion trend, from pedestrian street signs to royal crests. British fashion designer Mary Katrantzou has recently moved on from her signature digital photo realism and created dresses from patches for her latest collection. Left, street sign painting by Matt Mullican uses black and white for graphic effect.


(Detail) Sol LeWitt, “Bands of Color in Four Directions (Vertical), 1995; Dries Van Noten, Fall 2014

Stripes are all over fashion now, from color blocked styles to more dizzying, optical prints. Designer Dries van Noten might just have taken cues from artist Sol LeWitt, who also has an ongoing show at the contemporary art museum MASS MoCA in the Berkshires.


Manolo Valdes, “Laurel,” 2012, aluminum, ed 1/9, 50″ x 38″ x 26″; Valentino Fall 2014

Butterflies are a major motif in fashion now, from jewelry to apparel. Left, an aluminum sculpture by Manolo Valdes. Right, butterflies land all over a Valentino cape from the Fall 2014 show.


Mel Bochner, “Oh Well,” 2013, oil on velvet, 63″ x 47″; Libertine Fall 2014

Words might jump off the pages of books, but they really resonate in both art and fashion when used in graphic form. From left: Luis Tomasello painting and printed coat by Libertine as shown at the most recent London Fashion Week.


Tomas Saraceno, 2014, “NCG 5457,” metal, iridescent acrylic, polyester, nylon monofilament, stainless steel thread, adhesive, 105 cm x 105 cm x 105 cm; Nicole Miller Spring 2014

Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome back in 1949, was onto something. Today, artists and designers are utilizing geometric forms in abstract ways to beautiful effect. Fashion designer Nicole Miller embellished her Spring 2014 collection with prism-like shards, while artist Tomas Saraceno’s iridescent sculpture lit up The Armory Show.


Richard Serra, “Mexico,” 2005, paintstick on handmade paper, 30 1/4″ x 40 x 1/2″; Celine Spring 2014

Black and white art is strongly influencing fashion as well, both in painterly forms and graphic cut-outs. While best known for his huge curved metal sculptures, Richard Serra’s paintings entice as well. Celine’s Spring 2013 show prominently featured bold black strokes, as well as other colors.

San Feinstein, "Untitled," oil on canvas, c. 1950, 48 1/4" x 44"; Just Cavalli Fall 2014

San Feinstein, “Untitled,” oil on canvas, c. 1950, 48 1/4″ x 44″; Just Cavalli Fall 2014

Abstract expressionist art was key at the Modern Art wing of The Armory Show and it’s found its way into fashion as well. From left, Sam Feinstein’s colorful abstract work seems to jump right off the canvas and onto the apparel at the recent Just Cavalli show.


Marc Quinn, “Aleppo Shore,” oil on canvas, 2010, 66″ x 99″; Mary Katrantzou, Spring 2012

And what about Mary Katrantzou, the clear leader of the whole fashion photorealism craze from a few years ago? While she’s moved on, she certainly deserves credit for keeping it going. While she immortalizes flowers in photo prints, however, British artist Marc Quinn does it with paints.


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