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Modern art is working its way back into fashion yet again! Some of the hottest items appearing on the runway and in our favorite retailer's stores this season feature bold geometric patterns. These patterns are no longer limited to tops and accessories, skirts and pants have also been taken over by this trend. Floral patterns have also “sprung up,” appearing on maxi dresses and skinny jeans. Both pattern types clash in a delightful way when paired together. The color palette of this trend is much cooler than the neon bright hues of last year, so there is little worry of looking garish.

Art Deco

The newly released remake of the 1974 The Great Gatsby, set in the Roaring 20's, has inspired the fashion world to take a look back at some of the styles and trends of the now distant pastYou might be wondering why I mentioned modern art in the beginning. Aren't we living in “modern times” technically? Well, in layman's terms, yes. However I'm referring to a specific time in history. Art history to be exact. Collectively, movements in “modern art” began in the late 1860s and continued into the early 1950s.

Each decade had its own concerns, but the main signifiers of modern art were simplicity, line, and flat color. These traits of modern art grew from a boredom of the conventional practices in art at the time, especially painting. A few of the most influential movements are as follows: Impressionism, German Expressionism, Abstraction and Cubism, De Stijl (that is, The Style), and Abstract Expressionism. Architecture, design, and fashion were also affected by those movements.

Art and fashion are more closely connected than one may think! Spring and summer fashions this year have been heavily inspired by Art Deco. Art Deco was an art movement during the mid 1920s through the 1930s. It was a mix of various styles of the time, most notably cubism and abstraction.Stripes, diamonds, lines, and symmetry. Technology also played a role in the development of the style and it influenced the clean lines and sharp edges of the patterns.

The floral patterns, surely those aren't from the same time period too? Actually they are. Now of course, floral pattern wasn't invented during the 1920s. However, the arrangements and types of floral patterns I'm seeing in our trends today remind me of the wallpaper patterns of British graphic designerWilliam Morris. Morris began designing floral wallpapers in the 1860s, but the patterns were popular well into the 1920s. In fact, Morris' UK based company is still in existence, recreating his designs in textile and wallpaper. If I haven't led you too far down the rabbit hole yet, how would you feel if I told you that both Art Deco and William Morris' floral designs were pulled from styles originating in Japan?

The Floating World

Perhaps the most inspiring object admired by the European world in the 1850s other than Chinese ceramics were Japanese woodblock prints. The prints were in a style called ukiyo-ewhich means,“pictures of the floating world.” The images of these prints depicted scenes of theater or urban living. The style was referred to as “the floating world” because of the content of the images. Scenes of leisure and pleasure rather than daily life were recognized as unreal but fantastical. The simple lines and flat, bold color in the prints were markedly different from the oil paintings and prints European artists and designers were producing at the time.

Movement after movement burst into life after artwork inspired by Japanese prints and furniture. One of the most infectious of theseArt Nouveaumade it's way into the United States mainly as architecture and design in the early 1900s. Art Nouveau was one of many movements which gave birth to Art Deco, and also inspired William Morris' wallpaper designs.

Something New...With a Twist!

Let's hop into the Delorian and travel back to 2013. Now that you've seen the origins of these super cool styles, how do you wear them? Like me, you've probably been told never to mix patterns under any circumstance. That rule is now out the window! The right way to mix pattern without looking like a clown (or that you got dressed in the dark) is to wear two different sizes of patterns. For example, a crop top with thick diagonal lines could be paired with an embroidered skirt.

I don't like to match tops and bottoms by using the same color, so I instead match colors by their compliment. A compliment color is the hue located directly across from a color on the color wheel. Red and green, yellow and violet, orange and blue are all compliments. Color matching by compliments is a good way to maintain continuity in an ensemble while offering enough variety to keep it interesting.

Choosing the correct length of skirt or cut of top will also help you wear these new trends well. Mid-length skirts have made a tremendous comeback this spring and are flattering on almost every shape. Another great thing about these trends is that they are super comfy. Many of the styles are derived from the relaxed look of the 20's flapper dress, perfect for staying cool when the summer temps rise.

Resources:

www.target.com/p/merona-women-…

www.hm.com/us/product/12278?ar…

www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/fash…

www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/fash…

www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles…

www.william-morris.co.uk/histo…

www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/jpon…

www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/ukiy…

www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/artn…


I wrote this essay as a part of a blog series I worked on over this past summer while interning at smartlivingnetwork.com (hellolife). This entry was about some of the origins of the "new" fashions that were trending over this past summer. 

This is a published work, it may not be used without proper credit.
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