Stitching Style & Structure
Exploring Fashion & Architecture
Four years ago, I embarked on a journey from Montreal to Florence to pursue a Master's in Luxury Business at Polimoda. Little did I know that this journey would be much more than just an academic pursuit. Mostly because my daily walk to the university was a source of enchantment as I was captivated by Florence's rich history and mesmerizing architecture.
One of the privileges of attending classes at Polimoda was the chance to study in Villa Favard. Built in the early 19th century, this historic villa has served various purposes throughout its existence period, from being the residence of the noble Favard family to a military hospital during World War I. Since 1963, it used to be a school of economics and currently serves as the headquarters of one of the world's most prestigious fashion schools. It's fascinating to see how this architectural masterpiece has been repurposed over time and to study fashion within the walls of such a rich historical landmark.
Beyond the confines of Villa Favard, Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance, steeped in artistic and cultural expression, with famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo calling it home. It was one of the main reasons why I chose to pursue my degree in Luxury Business in Florence. The city's architecture, from the ornate facades of historic churches to the grandeur of its palaces and museums, is a testament to this legacy.
Fashion and architecture may appear to be two distinct fields yet they have many similarities at their core. At the heart of both industries lies the art of design. Designers in both fields use a diverse range of materials to create structures and garments that are visually appealing, functional, and cater to the needs of their intended users. Additionally, they both strive to strike a balance between form and function. Architects create buildings that are not only practical but also aesthetically pleasing, while fashion designers create clothing that is fashionable and at the same time comfortable and practical to wear. Ultimately, both fields aim to produce products that serve a purpose while also being visually appealing.
In both architecture and fashion, the selection of materials plays a critical role in the design process. Designers must carefully choose the right materials, taking into account various factors such as durability, texture, color, and cost. This attention to detail is essential for producing designs that meet the necessary standards of functionality and aesthetics.
Finally, collaboration is a key component of both architecture and fashion. Designers in both fields often work with other professionals to bring their ideas to life. Architects collaborate with engineers, contractors, and builders, while fashion designers collaborate with textile manufacturers, pattern makers, and seamstresses. Through such collaborations, these professionals bring together their expertise to create designs that combine functionality and aesthetics.
Architecture and fashion both create visually striking and functional designs that enhance our lives in various ways. They are not only similar but influence one another profoundly which is why my experience studying abroad has left an indelible mark on my educational, personal and professional journey. In ways that has sparked my curiosity to explore fashion designers who push creative boundaries through their ability to draw inspiration from architecture such as Rei Kawakubo, Virgil Abloh, and Maria Sole Ferragamo...
Find out below!
Rei Kawakubo, known as the "architect of clothes," takes a thoughtful approach to her fashion designs, drawing inspiration from various sources, including architecture.
Kawakubo's garments often feature exaggerated proportions, angles, and careful attention to construction and detail. The silhouettes emphasize structure, shape and form. It is her approach to fashion that reflects the influence of architectural design and demonstrates how the two fields can come together to create striking works of art.
Virgil Abloh, the founder of Off-White and ex-artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection, background in architecture influenced much of his work in fashion design. More often than not, he has incorporated architectural elements in his work.
Moreover, Abloh has collaborated with architects and designers, such as furniture designer Vitra, to create unique projects. Their collaboration resulted in a limited edition chair inspired by the ready-made objects of Marcel Duchamp and the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. These collaborations demonstrate how architecture can enhance and influence fashion design, as showcased by Abloh's work.
MARIA SOLE FERRAGAMO
Maria Sole, the founder of SOLE Studio, draws inspiration from her bachelor degree in architecture and fashion design from Central Saint Martin. Her jewelry brand focuses on longevity, dynamism, versatility, lightness, and provocation. SOLE Studio's signature pieces use illusion and contrast to create the appearance of voluminous, heavy precious metal pieces while being made from lightweight and practical leather.
The flagship store, designed by Milan-based architectural firm FONDAMENTA, embodies SOLE Studio's guiding principles of illusion, mobility, playfulness, and love for organic and architectural shapes. The store functions as a jewelry store and an experiential space that showcases the architectural designs of SOLE Studio.