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.
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?
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.
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?