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Fashion Inspired by Art: Georges-Pierre Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”


For this week in Fashion Inspired by Art, we’ll be discussing Georges-Pierre Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. I hope you all enjoy!

To the Point: About Georges-Pierre Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”

A sunday on la grande jatte georges seurat 1884 small
Georges-Pierre Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884 – 1886) via Wikimedia Commons | Click image to enlarge.

Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859 – 1891) is well-known for pioneering the art of pointillism, a painting technique that uses small, pure-colored dots to create an image. Although its aesthetics are very similar to impressionism, pointillism is much more planned and precise, rather than spontaneous. La Grande Jatte was created over the course of two years, and many early drawings and sketches were made in preparation for the final painting.

Seurat was also fascinated with color theory, especially with the ways in which one color could affect the perception of surrounding colors. For example, the green of the grass is made using multiple colored dots in close proximity to another; for example, he uses dots of yellow and blue to create the impression of dark green. His style portrays a mix of science (color theory) and art (painting style).

Although his techniques were very advanced for the time, Seurat painted La Grande Jatte at just twenty-five years old. He made the figures very stiff to represent what he believed to be the mechanization of modern life. While the calm setting and bright colors appear to represent a utopia, the picture actually represents what Seurat believed to be a dystopia, where people began to rely less on one another as a community.

Outfits Inspired by “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”

Structured Sweetheart

Seurat la grande jatte structure outfit
Nail Polish, Heels, Earrings, Skirt, Blouse, Ring, Umbrella | Hair and makeup photo via ELLE

This look is inspired by the structured, high-class ladies of La Grande Jatte, most notably the one in the forefront of the picture. Start with a structured, pink pencil skirt to create an orderly, clean silhouette. Next, add vintage details, like a quirky dog-print umbrella in place of a parasol and a pale pink cameo ring. To keep it girly, go for a collared polka dot blouse, pink lipstick, and bow accessories. This look is perfect for a rainy spring day, or even an interview at a fashion-forward business!

Color Theory Cutie

Seurat la grande jatte color outfit
Nail Polish, Rings, Pants, Blouse, Flats, Earrings, Necklace | Hair and makeup photo via ELLE

Follow in Seurat’s footsteps by creating an outfit based on color theory. Placing two opposite hues beside one another — for example, green pants and a red top — makes both colors appear to be more vivid and bright. Add complementing accessories, like pink slingback flats and multi-colored chevron rings, to enhance the brightening effect. Keep it feminine with some classic red nail polish and a pair of floral earrings. Finish the look off with shiny, sleek hair and a La Grande Jatte necklace for an opposites attract look!

Industrial Diva

Seurat la grande jatte industrial outfit
Ring, Tights, Dress, Backpack, Boots, Earrings | Hair and makeup photo via ELLE

Try out an industrial style with this “new world” look. The beginning of the twentieth century brought on a mechanical revolution full of new inventions (including the zipper!). Pay homage to the age of industrialization with a silver screw-shaped ring, laser-cut boots, and gear stud earrings. Keep up the appearance with a steampunk-inspired dress and whimsical tights. Add a pop of color with a fashionable and functional backpack and a bright red lip. The twentieth century never looked so good!

What do you think?

Have you seen or studied Seurat or this painting before? Do you like A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte? What do you think about pointillism? What do you think about the inspired outfits? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your opinions!

Posted on on April 3, 2013 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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12 Responses to “Fashion Inspired by Art: Georges-Pierre Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte””

  1. 1
    April 3rd, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    All 3 of these outfits are absolutely perfect! One of my favorite posts ever. I especially love the color combination in #2 – It never would have occurred to me to combine those shades, but it looks so fresh and vibrant.

  2. 2
    April 3rd, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I love this painting, love the musical even more! I adore these posts, I loved taking my art history classes so much. Any hopes of seeing the likes of Warhol, Van Eyck, Dali, Mondrian, Klee, Hopper, Pollock or any of the Pre-Raphaelites works?

  3. 3
    April 3rd, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    @Shelby I’m actually a Classical Studies minor, so my interests are personally much more aimed at classical works. I’m hoping to cover a lot of time periods and styles over the course of the next few months, especially some more ancient culture — you’ll just have to stay tuned to see what’s coming up :)

  4. 4
    April 3rd, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    That dress is amazing! I love it! and the industrial jewelry is super cool!

  5. 5
    April 4th, 2013 at 12:21 am

    I love the second outfit. The colors are beautiful. The style of the pieces are feminine and chic. The accessories make the outfit better. I love art and i frequent art museums and to see an outfit that mimics the work, its lovely. I can say, for sure, this is my favorite post. :)

  6. 6
    April 4th, 2013 at 6:42 am

    My friend is going to make me a necklace similar to the one on the picture with anne hathaway:-)

  7. 7
    April 4th, 2013 at 8:51 am

    so cute! wish i could have seen an outfit based on the “pointillism” style that the painting was done in though. It is a collection of dots put together! Maybe incorporating some polkadots would have been interesting! I love the outfits :)

  8. 8
    April 4th, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! I love hearing from you guys :)

    @Christina: I considered doing a pointillism outfit, but as polka dots can easily overwhelm any figure, from petite to tall, I decided to incorporate small details that mimic dots in each outfit instead. (You always want to wear your outfit, not have your outfit wear you!) This can be seen in the pattern of the shirt and shoes (#1), the shoulder studs & round pendant necklace (#2), and laser cuts in the boots and gear earrings (#3). If you want to go for polka dots, sometimes less is more!

    If you’re still longing for more cute pointillism-inspired accessories, check out this gorgeous multi-colored polka dot umbrella from Totes to keep your style on point during the rainy spring season!

  9. 9
    April 7th, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    So cool! My boyfriend and I live in a northern suburb of Chicago, and over spring break we took the train down to the Art Institute of Chicago, which has La Grande Jatte. It is so interesting to see in real life, and I would recommend everyone to see it in person (and to the Art Institute in general; they have tons of Impressionist and post Impressionist pieces that are so inspiring).
    I think out of these outfits, the second captures the feel of the painting more; it suits a cute laidback picnic at the beach kind of date, but I also love the third :)

  10. 10
    April 18th, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Wow, really amazing and cool dresses. I love this classical outfits.

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