Wearable Art

fashion in art, art in fashion

Nineties supermodel Karen Elson opened Anna Sui’s fashion show this week in a romantic gold-tinged tunic, her wavy flame-haired tresses crowned with flowers, like she was stepping out of a John William Waterhouse painting. Which I guess was the point. Sui, always drawn to bohemians, was inspired this time around by the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of Victorian rebels who yearned for the more emotional, classical, and aesthetically pleasing art of Raphael and Michelangelo. Romantic silhouettes edged in gilded lace, hooded cloaks, and embroidered Orientalist garments all recalled the PRB’s (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) Renaissance infatuation, but also Sui’s own rocker chic. And not only because the Pre-Raphaelites have a lot in common (aesthetically) with Sui’s flower children. Sui may not be the most innovative designer, but she’s always resolutely, unquestionably herself. Which is an increasingly rare thing.

Images: "Ophelia" by Sir John Everett Millais, from the Tate; “The Soul of the Rose” by John William Waterhouse; “Ophelia” by John William Waterhouse; “The Lady of Shallot,” by John William Waterhouse, from the Tate. All Sui pics from style.com

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