Design Under the Influence: Fashion Meets Architecture

Hello everyone! It’s Erika from small shop once again bringing you another edition of “Design Under the Influence.” Today’s topic is kinda fun: during this past New York Fashion Week, I read that Derek Lam’s Spring 2012 RTW collection was influenced by Neutra’s Kaufmann house in Palm Springs. Fashion meets architecture? I was intrigued, as you can imagine! So I thought I’d investigate it further. What I find really interesting is it appears that Derek Lam had to have been quite inspired by photographer Slim Aaron’s “Poolside Gossip” (below) and “Kaufmann House, 1970” (above) in particular. And when I went looking around at peeks of the house elsewhere, there definitely are correlations between some of the visual lines and materials of the architecture and surroundings, and Lam’s pieces and details. Let’s take a look:

I love the way Lam incorporated sunny yellows, aquas, and lacey white patterns into his collection, straight out of Slim Aaron’s iconic photograph “Poolside Gossip.”
These were views I had not seen of the Kaufmann House previously, but the deep burgundies and browns, and the various woods and angles of the house make for some really interesting lines and materials when translated to apparel.
The soft and sandy desert landscape provides the perfect backdrop for the rectilinear slats and shapes of the structures, skillfully interpreted by Derek Lam for his Spring 2012 collection.
So what do you think? Does Lam’s homage to this iconic house do it justice? According to Lam, a California boy, he was envisioning “Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack crooning by the piano and Angie Dickinson lounging by a crystal-blue pool. Mid-century louche and luxury.”
One last thought about the true origin of influence and inspiration: I had the amazing opportunity to visit photographer Julius Shulman at his house a few years ago (he has since passed away), and he brought up an interesting point about the fact that quite possibly, his photograph made Neutra’s work famous (and other mid-century modern architects at the time). And you could argue further that Slim Aarons’ photographs have done the same more recently. Join me at my blog today as I discuss this and share a few photos of our meeting!

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