This Highbrow Trend Isn't Only for the Super-Rich

A girl stands looking at the camera in a white shirt bedecked with Matisse-like line drawings of nude women. The words “Getting dressed is choosing a companion for your skin” are painted in a Tracey Emin–style scrawl on the chest. This photograph is one of the most-liked posts on the Instagram account belonging to Paloma Wool, a small Spanish label that’s reached cult status precisely for its art-inspired clothing. The brand is one of many taking its cues from art gallery walls right now. Though it might not be the first time the worlds of fashion and art have collided, the spring/summer 2018 collections were so rich with examples that sitting on the front row was like a lesson in art history.

Ready? At Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri borrowed graphics of fire-breathing dragons and spiders from the French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle. At Marni, dresses and skirts were adorned with scrawls of nude women smoking, painted by David Salle in 1979. Prada’s set showcased eight women cartoonists’ work, which also made its way onto handbags, shirts and dresses; Calvin Klein’s tank tops were plastered with Andy Warhol’s “Tunafish Disaster” (1963); Coach’s T-shirts and handbags featured Keith Haring’s signature squiggles while Céline’s pleated white shirts and skirts were decorated with beautiful blue sketches of baroque sculptures. Phew.