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Lost for Autumnal Wardrobe Inspo? Art History Can Help.
Fashion houses have predicted that this autumn’s wardrobe is going to be filled with long knitwear...
Art Stuff 21 Sep 2021

Why not let art history guide your A/W wardrobe this year?

Here comes A/W 2021. Fashion houses have predicted that this autumn’s wardrobe is going to be filled with long knitwear, over-the-top clubbing clothes to compensate for 18 months of lockdowns, and vivid monochrome. Also on the cards are floral coats, suits, and a focus on logos. 

We’re firm believers in the advice that if you’re lost for inspiration – turn to art history. We’ve collected 6 paintings from the last 150 years to inspire you’re A/W wardrobe. From hats to fur coats, these glamorous women have us seriously itching to change up our style now that the colder months are approaching.

Mary Cassatt – Automne, 1880


Image via globalgallery

Shawls and patterned jackets are due to be this season’s must-haves, and how beautiful is this autumnal coat that Mary Cassatt painted her sister Lydia in? Cassatt’s work gives us a wonderful insight into the lives of women during the Victorian era, which was largely restricted to the domestic sphere. 

Frida Kahlo – Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky, 1937

Image via artsandculture

Painted as a gift for Leon Trotsky for his birthday, this self-portrait is often referred to as ‘Between the Curtains’. Kahlo wears a luxurious broad scarf which we definitely want to replicate this autumn. We also love matching the flowers in your hair to your skirt colour. Trotsky and Kahlo had an affair but she made this painting for him after it had ended, and he hung it in his study. 

Amedeo Modigliani – Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne, 1918

Image via wikiart

This is one of Modigliani’s many portraits of his partner Jeanne Hebuterne. We love the idea of wearing a wide-brimmed hat after summer, and the dark colour gives it such a chic edge. Four years before this painting was made the artist’s drug and alcohol habit ramped up and his solo show in 1917 was supposedly so scandalous that it was closed just a few hours after opening.

Marie Spartali Stillman – Beatrice, 1896

Image via arthur

This portrait shows Beatrice, the heroine of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, known for her quick-wit and feistiness. It’s great to see female artists painting other women who went against the grain of what society expected of them. We love her fur-trimmed dress and translucent shawl – mixed fabrics and layers are a dream combo. 

Gustav Klimt – Frederike-Maria Meer, 1916

Image via Wikipedia

While this may look like an incredibly groovy pattern for a coat in 1916, it’s actually Frederike-Maria’s fur coat turned inside out. She was very proud of this coat, which was designed by the Viennese Workshop, who also designed her patterned dress. We’d love a coat this gaudy. 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler- Arrangement in Black, No.5, 1881

Image via wikimedia

How glamorous is this black gown and white fur coat combo? Imagine the event you’d go to in this outfit on a crisp early winter evening. This painting shows Valerie Susan Meux (Lady Meux) who was briefly an actress as well as being a barmaid and sex worker before marrying her husband, Sir Henry Meux. 

Author: Verity Babbs

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