By and  on April 14, 2014

The inspiration. It’s the starting point for most collections, the seed that germinates into a designer’s creative direction for the season. It’s also a way to peek into the designer’s mind and work process, a point made effectively by the “Dries Van Noten: Inspirations” exhibition, which opened to rave reviews at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs during Paris Fashion Week. Fashion history is filled with fascinating examples, both literal—like Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian day dress—and more abstract in the designer’s execution, as in Marc Jacobs’ memorable fall 2005 collection, dark and brooding and loosely inspired by Violet Parr of Disney’s The Incredibles.Here, three of fall’s more interesting designer journeys.NARCISO RODRIGUEZInspiration: Sixties German minimalism, the graphic bronze sculptures of Lynn Chadwick, plus the book cover of Jessie Dumont’s I Prefer Girls, a work of Sixties lesbian pulp fiction, featuring an image of two women in a suggestive, if not risqué, pose—one in a body-hugging red dress with matching lipstick. “I found this cover in a vintage archive and loved every aspect of it, most of all, how bold she looked in red and how shapely her silhouette was,” says Rodriguez.Execution: The first three looks—including the sleek red coat that opened the show—“embody that silhouette and shapeliness, even though they are a bit more relaxed,” Rodriguez explains. They were indeed vampish, though more subtly so.RELATED CONTENT: Narciso Rodriguez RTW Fall 2014 >>NEXT: Valentino >>

VALENTINOInspiration: Women of the late-Sixties Roman art scene, including Carol Rama, Carla Accardi and Giosetta Fioroni. “We are Roman. To us, the city is a consistent source of inspiration,” says Maria Grazia Chiuri. “This season, our inspiration came from the unconventional women whose works were deeply rooted in a moment of great change, a revolution in the Italian culture…these women, these artists, they were rule-breakers. They expressed their need to exist and not just appear.”Execution: Pop Art patterns, including the colorful optical dot in vertical patterns on a slim leather jacket, for example, as well as oversize floral prints, commedia dell’arte diamond patterns, stripes and other geometric shapes. “The unique images of these artists and their enduring, significant and universal themes gave us an essence of purity, the pleasure of change, and we tried to create each outfit as a work of art, timeless,” Pierpaolo Piccioli adds. “The textured surfaces—printed, decorated with intarsia and embellished—express the collection’s kaleidoscopic character and vital unpredictability.”RELATED CONTENT: Valentino RTW Fall 2014 >> NEXT: Antonio Marras >>

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