Fashion as Art

Often we limit our definition of art to paintings and sculpture, but it is so much more, and it is wonderful to be exposed to it in an unexpected way.

In a stunning exhibition of Oscar de la Renta’s designs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, clothing is art influenced by nature, art history, diverse cultures and the women for whom de la Renta designed.

IMG_0014It was easy to see the influences in his work.  What he saw in Spain colored the way he saw clothes throughout his career.

IMG_0018He was drawn to the bright colors of Spanish art and the decorative elements of bullfighting attire.

IMG_0030When I spotted this coat, there was no question that the inspiration was Russian.  At one time I had a coat reminiscent of this design.  It was red with black embroidery and fur trimmed collar, cuffs and hem.  Oh, how I loved that coat and held on to it for years after it no longer fit!

IMG_0033Who knew that de la Renta was an avid gardener and that this interest would find way into many of his designs?

A quote read, “A garden is probably the most spiritual and pure of joys.  It’s a communion with nature and beauty in the most simple and fundamental form.”

IMG_0032Those words made it easy to appreciate his use of natural elements to create breathtaking designs.

IMG_0023As beautiful and romantic as de la Renta’s designs are, I could not imagine myself in most of them, that is until I got to these, reflecting an Eastern influence.  I am a gal who loves flowing, unstructured clothing that leaves me feeling free.  Any one of these would suit me, but I’m especially drawn to the white and the whimsey of the black.

IMG_0041I loved the attention to detail, the sensitivity to fabric, the use of embellishment in de la Renta’s work, but the real take away from this exhibit is how varied art is.  One just has to find his/her own way of expressing it.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


47 thoughts on “Fashion as Art

  1. Love this article. I recently covered how art was making its way into fashion this season – the bags are adorned – pop by and let me know what you think (not quite de la Renta!) Thx BW

  2. It’s only recently this crossed my mind. I would ask myself, why am I so drawn to pretty pieces and feel like I should have them in my wardrobe as if I am collecting art? Well, I guess because I was! and I still am. Great post x

  3. Art is all about interpretation without that we’d never see the designs we see today, of course fashion is so highly skilled but not many recognise the level of detail and work ethic needed for a solo piece.

  4. Beautiful article, let’s share our contents. ciao

  5. Great writeup.. I enjoyed it so much😘😘.. Keep it up..
    Please check out my new post it’s also on fashion..

    1. I think de la Renta viewed himself as an artist with special sensitivity to textiles and the body as sculpture.

  6. Totally agree with you. Did you come to Paris for Dior’s exibition?

    1. No but I would have liked that.

      1. I would wear the crap out of it! Even if it was just to go to the supermarket lol

  7. artsandhobbies2006 January 25, 2018 — 8:00 am

    Cool! To me some of those pictures look like steampunk (only with less gadgets)!

    1. Steampunk…. that’s a term new to me.

    1. Thank you. With such beautiful creations, it was easy.

  8. Beautiful outfits

  9. Absolutely beautiful pictures! I would love if you checked out my blog, I am new to this all! I would love some of your feedback! Thank you in advance! Keep up the amazing work! 🙂

  10. T H E R E A L H A L S E Y December 24, 2017 — 7:49 pm

    Fashion is beautiful, i feel like people should frame their art sketches because it takes skill to be able to draw out that figure and then to cover that figure with clothes. Talent.

    1. De la Renta would agree with you as he said all his designs began with drawing.

  11. Wow😍 Amazing exhibit.

    Also It would mean a lot if you’d check out my fashion blog ❤️ Thanks!

  12. Interesting read. I posted my last blog post about fashion and art and what I think about the fashion industry. If you don’t mind checking it out and tell me your thoughts? Thanks. You so lucky!

  13. Very cool!!

  14. Art for sure. Back in 2009 I found an Oscar de la Renta dress at Goodwill for $19.97. I thought my daughter would like it so I bought it. Although we could not find the exact dress on his site some that were similar were in the $3900-4500 range. It fit my daughter like a glove and she enjoyed wearing it for a couple dressy events. It is made of silk with pheasant feathers on the trim. My post about the dress with photos is from my photobucket days so all the photos in the post are blacked out…ugh. I love the Russian influenced one and can imagine what yours looked like. Happy December to you!

    1. What a lucky find! I’m amazed at some of the treasures I come home with from Goodwill.

  15. Marcia Fennell Gardner December 1, 2017 — 9:10 pm

    Lulu…I love/loved this exhibit also! Wish it was larger…WOW. The fabrics. The embroidery. The embellishments!
    I knew and modeled for this FABULOUS designer early in his career. A kind, generous and cultured man.

    1. You are the second person who mentions having modeled for de la Renta and both of you have very kind things to say about him.

  16. A visual treat! Thanks so much for sharing.

  17. I don’t blame you for hanging onto that coat. It sounds spectacular! What a fantastic exhibit to share with us!

  18. I would have loved seeing this exhibit. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I’m going back for a second look as I was totally overwhelmed and want to pay more attention to details.

  19. Beautiful! Thanks for the preview of what we’ll see next month during our visit to Houston!

    1. The exhibit continues into January and you won’t want to miss it.

  20. Linda, how interesting were his creations! Beautiful photos of his art!

    1. What I particularly loved was his use of material.

  21. I saw this exhibit in San Francisco and loved it!! You have captured it so well.

  22. entertainingwomen November 28, 2017 — 2:45 am

    Many years ago, Oscar de la Renta would occasionally find his way out here to the prairie. During that period, I spent time as a professional model. Oscar would do a grand benefit runway show, and I loved walking the ramp in his magnificent designs. In addition, Oscar would conduct seminars for different groups. Now he brought his original designs for these seminars, and they had all been created on his studio model, Lulu. As it happened, I was exactly Lulu’s size, and I was the model who wore his designs for these seminar events. It was a wonderful time, and I’ll always remember the generous and kind man who was Oscar de la Renta, a true gentleman and a genius of design. Thanks for bringing back some sweet memories. CherryKay

    1. Thank you, Cherry Kay, for sharing this story. I am envisioning you on the runway in one of his stunning creations and the thought makes me smile.

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