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What Is Art Nouveau? How Does It Influence Fashion?

Anupam Dabral | Apr 29, 2015, 10:02 IST
What Is Art Nouveau? How Does It Influence Fashion?
A model in Elie Saab SS14

We won’t be exaggerating if we say fashion is the best reflection of changing times. Whether it is art movements, art patrons or contemporary art forms that originated as a rebellion against traditional art, fashion has been inspired by everything. Art Nouveau was one such art movement that had an everlasting influence on art, architecture and food.

What is Art Nouveau? It was an art movement that swept the world of art and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th century. Art Nouveau was meant to free art of its outdated beliefs and help involve new techniques and forms that were more reflective of society. Traditionalists viewed arts such as painting and sculpture superior to craft-based decorative arts. This movement saw more artists and architects creating designs more appropriate to the modern age characterized by flowing lines. These included forms that resembled the stems and blossoms of plants as well as geometric forms such as squares and rectangles.


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  • Interiors of France Grand Palais2 of 3
    Interiors of France Grand Palais

    Why Was Art Nouveau Different? Art Nouveau is characterized by the use of long organic lines with moderate and dark colours. Mustard yellow, dark red, olive, brown, violet and blue are some of the most popular colours. The specific ornamental characteristics of this modern style were asymmetrical, rising and falling pattern of lines, which used to take the form of flowers, buds, insect wings, vine tendrils and other motifs inspired from nature. Some of the major artists involved in Art Nouveau were Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, American glassmaker Louis Comfort Tiffany, and English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. 


  • Models in Anna Sui AW 2015-163 of 3
    Models in Anna Sui AW 2015-16

    Its Influence On Fashion: American fashion designer Anna Sui often seeks inspiration from Art Nouveau. Her Spring 2010 and Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear lines had strong hints of Art Nouveau-inspired floral prints and organic designs. Another major designer inspired by the movement was Coco Chanel. Jean Lanvin, Leon Bakst (Russian costume designer), French fashion designer and art collector Jacques Doucet and French designer Paul Poiretare are also known for bringing Art Nouveau to mainstream fashion.


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