Thursday, September 22, 2011

High Fashion Inspiration

I normally avoid the drama of reality shows.
That favorite Friday morning activity is catching up on Thursday night Project Runway.
I find the process of creating with limitations to be so inspiring and I'm a sucker for a good color mix or flawless execution of a design.

So, I often find myself perusing the fashion runway for inspiration on shape and color and I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.

I tried to pick a good selection of color combos that I saw popping up in all the designers work, and also to pick some of the more "wearable" fashions that us plebians would consider more accessible.
(notice I didn't use the word affordable!)

First up is a Fall 2011 design from Italian design house Etro.
Why this works:
My mother (artist extraordinare) always told me that the darker color should be on the bottom giving the eye a base or foundation and the lighter colors on top, it draws attention to the face and
it creates balance and keeps the design from looking too top heavy.
I'm going to agree. Especially on this look.
I love the flow of dark to light from the bottom up and the dark sleeves add a nice contrast without being too heavy.

In jewelry, however, you might want to work it backwards. Have the necklace fade to darker colors as it makes the turn around the neck, drawing the attention toward the focal pendant or bead which hands just below the face of the wearer, again drawing attention to the face.

In this design from Gucci, the palette is very understated.
Just two colors with a gray foundation to avoid overkill of the teal.
(Very Katherine Hepburn if you ask me.)
This is a great tip if you have a very intense focal pendant that is full of eye-catching color. Don't try to create a necklace that competes with the focal. Make the necklace simply a backdrop using a neutral color to really show off the brightness of the focal. 

This next one is Dior and my favorite color palette of the bunch.
This garnet, almost plum color is gorgeous on its own, but the lime green really adds interest to the whole ensemble.
I think that's a great tip, the next time your monochromatic design feels a little blah, try adding a pop of color from the opposite side of the color wheel for a little flash.
Also, if you'll notice, the designer has mixed finishes in this outfit, the sheen of the satin dress contrasted with the soft brushed wool of the coat.
Try mixing fabric beads with lampworked beads to achieve the same look.

Another Christine Dior features that same plum color mixed with a deep almost royal blue.
I'm really partial to tailored styles and I like the cut of this jacket.
This is another very simple color palette, but by keeping the colors both very dark and intense, the mix is pleasing to the eye and very balanced.
I think this would look good in a stripe, maybe of differing widths in a cuff.

This last design is from Pilotto and is a twist on the classic red/black color scheme.
In this dress, the red is a more muted softer rust and the white neckline is almost a soft gray.
By softening up your colors, you create a palette that is less harsh and more pleasing to the eyes.
I also added the deeper rust to the color palette for a little additional depth.

I hope you found one or two of these palettes inspiring and I think there's a lot to be learned about color and balance from these top designers.

Each of these photos can be found here as part of the Fall 2011 collection and I created the color palettes on my own to inspire you to try your own designs inspired by high fashion.

What are you inspired by these days?

Enjoy the rest of your week!


  1. Thank you! What a great article -I am totally inspired. I find myself once again with so many wonderful ideas...and little time ;)