Paris Hilton, the iconic pop culture princess of the early 2000s, made waves with her party-centric image, love for little dogs, and a collection of unforgettable graphic tees. From her infamous “got blow” tank top in 2001 to the bold “Queen of the Universe” shirt in 2003, Hilton embraced Y2K fashion with a commitment to being as extravagant as possible (via W Magazine). Graphic tees, a staple of the early 2000s, are making a comeback alongside other nostalgic elements, including super low-rise pants, such as those available at Urban Outfitters, and Britney Spears’ famous “Dump Him” shirt on Amazon.
However, a new trend is taking the spotlight— the art fashion trend. It provides a modern avenue for expressing personality without relying on concise statements like “Don’t Be Jealous” or “Dude, Where’s my Couture?” (via i-D). Renowned designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Dior have delved into this style, while even mainstream retailers like Target showcase the fusion of fashion and art. Netflix’s “Emily in Paris” also flaunts this trend, notably with Mindy’s Maison J. Simone embellished maxi from the first episode of Season 3.
Here’s your comprehensive guide to the art fashion trend before you embark on flaunting a Van Gogh-inspired dress of your own.
The Fusion of Artists and Fashion Houses
According to Ida Petersson, the womenswear buying director at Browns in London, “Our customers respond incredibly well to pieces that tie into the art world.” The beauty of art fashion extends beyond galleries and museums, supporting painters and illustrators in unique collaborations. Prada, for instance, joined forces with eight female cartoonists in their Spring 2018 collection, unveiling comic book-inspired bags, blazers, and tops (via Who What Wear). Similar pieces can be found at Reformation and Dolls Kill.
Celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski and Ariana Grande have played pivotal roles in popularizing this trend. Ratajkowski showcased a Carrie Bradshaw-style newspaper-print dress at New York Fashion Week 2022, while Grande’s Met Gala appearance in a Michelangelo-inspired dress remains an iconic fashion moment.
Designers like Paloma Lanna of Paloma Wool and Stella McCartney have collaborated with visual artists, emphasizing a shift from traditional fashion concepts to artistic exploration. Louis Vuitton’s recent collaboration with Yayoi Kusama, a renowned contemporary artist known for her use of polka dots, further exemplifies this fusion of art and fashion (via Harper’s Bazaar).
Breathing New Life into Famous Paintings
“Wearing art is a way of showing that you’re in the know,” notes Ida Petersson. Art-inspired fashion allows individuals to express their personality, akin to the Y2K graphic tee trend. Professional stylist Sandra Okerulu predicts a continued surge in the popularity of art-inspired fashion throughout 2023.
The trend of incorporating famous paintings into fashion is not new. Nearly a decade ago, Vogue reported on the “Art Sock” trend, and today, you can find famous painting-inspired socks everywhere, from Walmart to Etsy. Designers like Ariel Adkins of Artfully Awear incorporate centuries-old paintings into handmade styles, offering a unique way for individuals to express their love for both art and fashion.
Whether it’s a “Starry Night” tee shirt, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” pearl earrings, or a designer “Birth of Venus” corset top, art-inspired fashion is evolving and capturing the imagination of fashion enthusiasts worldwide.