Don Ashby, Reuters A Spring 2009 look from Gianfranco Ferré and the Sydney Opera House

Some may say that fashion and architecture are as far apart as it can be, but I believe these two are some of the closest related majors here at Otis College of Art and Design. The use of materials to create an article of clothing is similar to the outer appearance of the architectural building. The structure of a garment and how it flows on the wearer's body is similar to how a building is structured, whether it appears rigid or organic, based on people's perceptions.

It is surprising to learn that top designers such as Tom Ford and Gianni Versace started their design education within the world of architecture. Fashion design and architecture are some of the most fast paced jobs in the design field. For a fashion designer, it is easy to create over ten collections consisting of around 10 - 20 looks, and an architect can have over fifteen big projects, both within the span of one year. Their massive workload, unfortunately, can cause them to not only lose their creativity in their own work, but can lessen their inspirations. For designers, getting inspirations from other design fields is a large part of their own design. Not until recently, architects have been designing stores for luxury brands such as Rem Koolhaas's designs for the Prada Store in New York, and architects are slowly combining their own designs with the aesthetics found in fashion designs.
Vintage Versace Jacket
Without any research on fashion, it is easy to identify a vintage Versace garment anywhere in the world. The signature logo of the Versace’s Medusa head can be seen throughout the garment, where the Greek pattern covers the entirety of the clothing. These early design decisions can be seen in the Versace Mansion in Miami, Florida. The trademark Versace Medusa head logo is the centerpiece outside in front of the mosaic pool, where the backsplash is covered with 24-karat gold Greek patterns.

The famous fashion brand, Prada, and well known architect, Rem Koolhaas, have a close relationship within their fields, bridging the gap between fashion and architecture, and bringing them even closer than they already are.

Rem Koolhaas is a Dutch architect who studied architecture in both London and New York. In 2000, Rem Koolhaas was given the Pritzker Prize, which is compared to winning the Grammys, but for architectural achievements. Eight years later,
Versace Mansion in Miami, FL
he was named one of the top 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. Prada is an Italian luxury fashion house specializing in ready to wear fashion garments, accessories, shoes, luggage, perfumes, and watches, and the brand was founded by Mario Prada in 1913. The fashion brand is well known throughout the world and have various flagship stores in New York, Paris, and London. But what makes the two giants want to work together? The answer comes from how the two approaches their designs. As Rem Koolhaas thinks about his architectural design, he imagines it being a wrapper for activity; simply a metaphor for fashion. While for Prada, their recent past collections have taken inspirations from an architectural perspective, developing garments with more structured silhouettes.

Interior Perspective, Prada Flagship Store in NY
Designed by Rem Koolhaas
The interior of the Prada Epicenter Store in New York, designed by Rem Koolhaas, has a strong influence on the type of architecture Rem works on and the sophisticated type of fashion design Prada is known for. Rem describes the interior space as being wave-like while multitasking as seating, display, and a performance space as it dips into the building’s basement. There is tracking located on the ceiling of the building that acts as display a display case, exhibiting shoes and other garments to give the space a museum type of feel.

What Rem Koolhaas has designed is simply a space that grabs the attention of any shopper that comes into the store. The interior of the Prada store is not only displaying the clothing of Prada, but it is also an art installation. Every single design aspect of this Prada store has some type of function and purpose, similar to a painting; the focal point of the painting draws the attention of the viewer in and slowly lets the viewer’s eye glide throughout the painting. This is exactly what Rem Koolhaas has done with the Prada store. There are multiple points of interest throughout and it lets the customers roam freely around the space.
Dress designed by Gianfranco Ferre

Another pioneer in the mixed world of fashion and architecture is designer Gianfranco Ferre. He first entered the world of design after graduating from Milan University in 1969 with a degree in architecture. During that time, the chances for an architect to succeed were very slim. He was trying to figure out a career for himself and the closest path to architecture was fashion. He says, "Architecture is, after all, a search for solution of form, shape, and color and so it is with fashion." I strongly agree with this quote. Architecture and fashion are two entirely different mediums, but I believe that architecture is just a larger scale of fashion. What I mean by this is that architecture and fashion design are both created to contain the human body, the only difference being the scale at which it is displayed. The two mediums both have to do with shape, space, and how it interacts with the environment.

In the beginning of Gianfranco's career, he was highly criticized by how stiff his designs were, and again after he completely changed his collection for the Spring and Summer. The garments are anything but stiff; they are made of soft fabrics that flow off
Dress designed by Gianfranco Ferre
the body. Using fabrics such as light wool, silk, and gabardine, Gianfranco was able to achieve this effect with his clothes. Even though his designs transitioned from stiff to loose, the character that the stiffness introduced from the previous design was not lost but instead used to show the movement of the body through the loose fabrics.

Architecture and Fashion Design collaborations are being seen more frequently in recent years. As the two different worlds manage to blend into each other, the design inspiration is infinite. The ideas from one another only push the envelope of what is possible and what might happen in the future.



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