By Nicole Cheung

Literature is in Fashion's Blood

Throughout history, literature has not only been a source of inspiration for writers and readers alike, but it has also influenced the world of fashion. From iconic characters to memorable scenes, literature has captured the imaginations of designers and fashion lovers, leading to some of the most iconic and timeless looks in fashion.
One of the most prominent examples of literature inspiring fashion is the classic novel "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book is set in the 1920s, an era known for its glitz and glamour, and the characters are often seen dressed in luxurious and extravagant clothing. The film adaptations of the novel, particularly the 2013 version, brought the fashion of the 1920s back into the spotlight, inspiring designers to create collections that paid homage to the era. The flapper dress, with its beaded details, fringed hemlines, and drop-waist silhouette, became a staple of the season, and the menswear-inspired looks, such as tailored suits, bow ties, and fedoras, also made a comeback.
Another example of literature inspiring fashion is the beloved children's book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll. The book's whimsical and fantastical elements have inspired countless designers over the years, with characters such as the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts serving as muses for various collections. The Queen of Hearts, in particular, with her bold red and black color palette and her playing card motifs, has been interpreted in many ways, from avant-garde designs to more wearable pieces.
Literature has also inspired fashion through its portrayal of powerful female characters. The iconic character of Holly Golightly from Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" has become an enduring style icon, known for her chic little black dresses, oversized sunglasses, and statement accessories such as pearls and tiaras. The character of Jo March from Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" has also inspired fashion, with her tomboyish yet feminine style of blouses, skirts, and boots.
Gallery View - The Romantic Mind courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
In addition to specific characters and books, literature has also influenced fashion through its themes and motifs. Gothic literature, for example, with its dark and moody imagery, has inspired fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen and Rick Owens, who often incorporate elements of the macabre into their designs. Shakespearean literature has also been a source of inspiration, with many designers drawing from the plays' romantic themes and elaborate costumes.
In conclusion, literature and philosophers has been a powerful source of inspiration for fashion designers throughout history. From iconic characters to memorable scenes, literature has influenced some of the most iconic and timeless looks in fashion. Whether it's the glitz and glamour of the 1920s or the fantastical elements of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," literature continues to inspire designers to create fashion that captures the imagination and makes a statement.


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