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Spring 2014 Trend: Back to Art School

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This spring saw fashion return to its Art School roots, with a plethora of designers taking on inspiration, from Warholian pop art hues to urban graffiti, to create their own masterpieces on the catwalk. Enticed by these spray paint and brush stroke prints, the bold graphics and the eye catching embellishments, we're packing our pencil cases and portfolios and heading back to art school. 

Chanel SS14

Images courtesy of Vogue

Lagerfeld's 'Chanel Art Exhibition' set the tone this season, proffering iconic paint palette prints in an opulent art gallery setting. Inspired by an antique German painter's chart, the paint swatch print was strewn across lightweight chiffon skirts and dresses. Repeating the print throughout a series of dresses allowed Lagerfeld the opportunity to play with silhouettes, experimenting with sloping necklines, billowing cape shapes, cinched waists and flowing hemlines edged with lace. These were accompanied by Chanel's signature tweed miniskirts, trimmed with pearls, ribbed ankle socks; spray painted rucksacks featuring the trademark double C, and, of course, there were A3 portfolios and sketchbooks. In case spectators had missed the message of the collection, Jay Z was on hand, rapping about Picasso and the Mona Lisa. For us this was Lagerfeld at his best, brimming with creativity and humour. 

Celine SS14

Images courtesy of Vogue

Phoebe Philo waved goodbye to her signature minimalism this season, and instead embraced bold graphic prints and vibrant bursts of colour. The daring prints began as sweeping brushstrokes in monochrome and popping primaries, which were almost the antidote to Lagerfeld's dainty paint swatches. As the collection progressed, prints became smaller and almost leopard print in appearance, with an art attack of abstract shapes splashed across skirts and dresses. The bold prints were juxtaposed by airy feminine silhouettes; bright t-shirts were teamed with a lightweight midi, sometimes pleated, sometimes sheer and netted. The energy of Celine's collection was undeniable and irrepressible, the perfect combination for spring/summer. 

Prada SS14

Images courtesy of Vogue

Miuccia Prada has never been one to shy away from the opportunity to turn a season on its head, and that's exactly what she did in SS14. Armed with a colour palette that packed a punch, strong silhouettes and a touch of classic Prada sparkle, Miuccia was poised to deliver her feminist statement. This collection certainly drew the eye, with embellished bras worn over shift dresses and sweatshirts, and sports themed leg warmers teamed with bejewelled sandals, Miuccia stating, "if you wear clothes so exaggerated and out there, people will look, and they will listen." The venue for the show was packed with murals, which were reimaged onto the dresses and handbags of the collection. As ever, Prada's collection was hard to define - part grown-up elegance, part athleticism, and part art student. Trying to pinpoint and analyse the myriad references and inspirations for this whirlwind collection would be near impossible, but we're more than happy to sit back and appreciate its ingenuity. 

Hiroko Nakajima SS14

Images courtesy of Fashion Scout

Hiroko Nakajima, a recent graduate of Central Saint Martins and currently one of Vogue's 'Ones to Watch,' explored the concept of 'wearable art' in her SS14 pieces. Titled 'Empty', the collection utilised bold graphic lines to create the illusion of origami-esque folds, allowing the wearer to become one with the ensemble; merging life and art. The bright and sugary colour palette was reminiscent of Sixties pop art, a notion enforced by the use of almost cartoonish black lines that covered the garments. Hiroko effortlessly fused elegance, modernity and culture - the clever use of graphics and artful philosophy has more than justified the title of One to Watch as far as we're concerned. Love. 

Words by Nikki McMullen

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