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Artistic License: Fashion Inspired by Andy Warhol


Fashion Inspired by Andy Warhol
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For this week’s Artistic License, I’m paying tribute to the American pop artist Andy Warhol. Some of you recommended that I take a look at Roy Lichtenstein, which I did, with great enjoyment. That got me inspired by pop art, and I ended up focusing on Warhol because his paintings were the ones that inspired me the most. His timelessly American themes and Starburst-candy colors translate delightfully into adorable summer outfits.

The pop art movement took place primarily in the 1960s, and it is easily distinguished by its use of images, objects, and themes from popular culture as subject matter. Pop art is characterized by impersonal artistic representations and an element of irony. As you probably know, Andy Warhol was one of the most iconic figures of American pop art (along with Lichtenstein), and his images are still prevalent in pop culture today.

Here are three outfits inspired by some of Andy Warhol’s most famous Pop Art creations.

Mickey Mouse

Andy Warhol - Mickey Mouse

Tank Top – Forever 21, Shorts – American Eagle, Necklace – Anna Lou, Shoes – Dodo’ Le Parisienne, Hair Clips – 1 | 2 | 3

Pop art takes its inspiration from images of American culture, and I would say that Mickey Mouse ranks among the best-loved of such images. He is the central theme of this outfit, as he was in Warhol’s 1981 painting (aptly titled “Mickey Mouse”).

The cheerful colors on the tank top reminded me of popsicles on a hot summer day, so I paired the tank with classic denim cut-offs for that perfect summer look. Each of the three different hair clips conveys a slightly different feel — the Marc clip unites a vintage American brand (Disney) with a modern one (Marc Jacobs), while the flower clip adds a girlish detail to an otherwise tomboyish outfit. Or you can pair the polka-dotted bow with yellow flats for a clever allusion to Minnie. What’s more ironic than wearing your boyfriend on your shirt next to a broken-heart necklace?

Marilyn Monroe

Andy Warhol - Marilyn Monroe

Shirt – Topshop, Jeans – Tilly’s, Necklace – GirlProps, Headband – Miss Selfridge, Tote – Tilly’s, Shoes – Keds | Forever 21

I took Marilyn Monroe’s vivid pink pout as the main inspiration for this outfit, and then replaced her face with one that’s super hot right now — the Red Queen from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, who surprisingly bears striking similarities to Warhol’s Marilyn.

Baggy cropped tees offer a refreshingly different silhouette after the winter’s long tunics, and wearing them with fitted bottoms, like skinny jeans or a high-waisted bandage skirt, will flatter most body shapes. The necklace and dotted headband are actually allusions to Lichtenstein’s characteristic comic-book style, while the Red Queen tote adds the element of contemporary pop culture. Wear this outfit with classic Keds for a casual, street-chic vibe, or try it with shiny bow-tie flats if you want to evoke more Marilyn.

Flowers 1964

Andy Warhol - Flowers 1964

Dress – ModCloth, Tights – Topshop, Flats – Fred Flare, Hair Clips – Dorothy Perkins, Necklaces – 1 | 2 | 3

The floral subject matter of this painting couldn’t be simpler, and the color scheme is likewise straightforward, but there’s something about the work’s composition and the haphazard white lines that throws you off-kilter. With this outfit, I wanted to replicate the appearance of sedate minimalism coupled with unexpected details that create a sense of puzzlement and curiosity.

Straight rows of black flowers add edge and structure to this otherwise ethereal summer dress, while a bold belt introduces color and accentuates the classic A-line silhouette. Sheer black tights with a provocative back seam are retro and sexy; wear them with red jelly flats to match the innocence of the white summer dress. (Hint: try shiny black heels for an evening look.) Wear red hair clips for a direct Andy Warhol reference, then choose a whimsical necklace for silliness and fun.

What do you think?

Warhol’s paintings are pretty simple and straightforward, so I did a lot of extrapolation with these outfits. Do they work for you? What other fun motifs do these paintings remind you of? I didn’t realize until I started writing this post how prevalent pop art remains in our culture today — I bet every single one of us owns at least one clothing item or accessory that’s derived from pop art.

Keep the ideas for new posts coming, guys! I already have more than enough to work with, but when it comes to ideas, the more the merrier. We’re due for a literary post next week; I’m still brainstorming, but as of right now I’m thinking magical realism. What do you think?

Posted on on May 4, 2010 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , , , , , ,

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19 Responses to “Artistic License: Fashion Inspired by Andy Warhol”

  1. 1
    May 4th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I’m liking this post… Andy Warhol is awesome; he was so interesting and inspiring. While I find the actual clothing aspect of this post to be nice but not great, the accessories are what really do it for me. I love all of them!! The bows, and unique necklaces, and bright colored shoes. Well done!

    <3 the dress darling.

  2. 2
    May 4th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Love the attitude that comes across in each outfit..emulates a bit of each icon I think. The dress for Flowers is adorable!

    As a possible suggestion, even though it isn’t art necessarily, dance and different styles each have their own unique personality to them that could be fun (the very elegant waltz compared to the fierce tango)…however, I’m a dancer so that’s a bit biased. Or possibly art from different regions, like Spanish/Latin American art or Islamic-influenced art. There are some beautiful outfits that could be inspired by each of those things

  3. 3
    May 4th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Andy Warhol is the most famous pop artists and i love how you incorporated his art to fashion. Absolutely fantastic. :)

  4. 4
    May 4th, 2010 at 6:22 pm


    I love this. Great interpretations of Warhol’s work!

  5. 5
    May 4th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Aw, the Mickey outfit is adorable. I had this great Mickey sweatshirt I used to love wearing when I was a kid. And outfit #3 is awesome too- I could definitely see Regina Spektor rocking that. On a side not, thanks for not including an outfit based on Campbell’s Soup.

  6. 6
    May 4th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    AWESOME! I love these new posts that are art inspired :)

  7. 7
    May 4th, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Great post and great ideas!

  8. 8
    May 4th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Andy Warhol is one of my favorite artists, I got to see some of his prints at my school’s gallery . I love Flowers 1964 :)

  9. 9
    May 4th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Great collections, crisp style and inspirational designs.
    Love Flowers 64.

  10. 10
    May 4th, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I love these “inspired by” posts! I really like how you pick a theme/item, all the outfits look like the art work!

  11. 11
    May 5th, 2010 at 5:34 am

    love the last outfit!
    great post

  12. 12
    May 5th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    While each outfit in absolutely fantastic and adorable and each one has one aspect that matches the painting, I don’t think the first two outfits emulate the Warhol painting you referenced all to much. The third one does. I can suddenly see someone walking down the street in it and think, “Warhol!” I don’t get that with the other two. (In fact, the first one looks like something that might be inspired by a summer trip to Disney than a Warhol painting.)

    I totally agree with Dominique. I’m flipping for the mustache necklace and outfit one and two flats like crazy! XD

    Well, I’m looking forward to next week anyway! I like these posts!

  13. 13
    May 5th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I love how much thought you put into each outfit. The irony of the Mickey Mouse outfit was absolutely genius. Keep up the good work!!

  14. 14
    May 5th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I blogged about the fashion of people that used to hang out in Warhol’s factory a month or so ago…its so neat to get inspiration from his art though! So creative, well done!!

  15. 15
    May 5th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I absolutely hate Andy Warhol, but I like the outfits a lot… I’m torn!

  16. 16
    May 5th, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Ohhhh, love the first outfit. Very childish yet trendy. Love the third one as well but dress looks like a tunic to me, not sure I would wear it with non-opaque tights.

  17. 17
    May 7th, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    I just wanted to comment and say that Wal-Mart has shoes just like the original Keds now too, and for only $9 in Canada, not sure how much they are elsewhere! They’re so unbelievebly comfortable. The only bad thing is they don’t come in half sizes, but still way worth it!

  18. 18
    June 5th, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    I really dislike Warhol, but i love all the outfits.

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