Sunday, 26 August 2012

Warehouse's Arty Prints: David Hockney and Ansel Adams Would Approve

After spotting an amazing canyon-print dress from Warehouse in one of the Saturday papers, I couldn't resist making comparisons between its design and that of David Hockney's Grand Canyon photo collage, and even his paintings of the landmark. Logging onto the website, I then tracked down another art-inspired dress that reminded me of legendary photographer Ansel Adams. As an art graduate I'm always chuffed to find major high street brands taking their cues from artists, and I thought I'd show you just how I made those connections.

Warehouse Canyon Dress
 [Images via Warehouse and Lalouver].
 The Canyon Print Dress (£70) is sure to make an impact.

I like that Warehouse has put such a bold print on the entirety of the fabric, not cutting into it with plain sections but allowing it to dominate. The horizontal bands are much like Hockney's intense collage, following the form of the wearer like his photos follow the canyon's shape.

Warehouse Canyon Dress - Hockney
[Images via Warehouse, Artnet (photo of the artist) and the National Gallery of Australia].
I'm guessing a little bit of Hockney inspired the designer.

What strikes me is how the multi-layered rock formations  and colour bands sit on one piece of chiffon but give the illusion of several pieces sewn together. You can see in Hockney's painting, A Bigger Grand Canyon (1999), that colour divides work well and help to illustrate the way that the canyon has different facets. There's also a warmth to the painting that translates to the dress - that fiery vermillion against a snippet of cool blue. Already I have a few locations in mind for creating an outfit post with this - either a dry river bed or an abandoned building - if only I can get saving up that £70...

Warehouse Ansel Adams Polaroid
[Images via Warehouse and Tumblr].
Poetic and with the lightness of a Polaroid.

A different cut to this Landscape Print Dress (£55) but still a big link to artistry, with this china blue and white print that reminded me of a teal Ansel Adams Polaroid photo of Yosemite Falls (1979). If you changed Adams' work to that same royal blue, I think the comparison would be even closer. I also love the pin-tuck in the waist band that makes the fabric kick out, like a waterfall.

Warehouse Landscape Print Dress
 There's also an element of Japanese artist Hokusai, but I'm more drawn to the photographic elements of the print.

The slight mullet hem brings this bang up-to-date and also helps to emphasise curves. The whole piece is lined to the hem, so don't worry about revealing your modesty.

Ansel Adams vs. Warehouse
 [Image via Weston Gallery, and close-up Warehouse].
This is an example of Adams' straight photography and how it complements the print of the fabric.

My final comparison shows how the delicate foliage and waterfall shot by Adams in Yosemite seems similar to the print on the dress. I don't know for sure whether the designer had referenced him directly, or even looked at his work, but I feel that there is a natural link there, and it's great to see that fashion is continually looking to the art world for its eye-catching prints.

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