A peek into fashion history will paint a vivid image of just how pivotal relationships between a designer and their muse can be for a brand. Often models, there have been a variety of inspirations for designers that have propelled their brand to the next level.
For Hubert de Givenchy, it was Audrey Hepburn for whom he designed the memorable little black dress she wore in the wildly successful classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. They met during the shooting of the movie “Sabrina” and remained friends for over 40 years where he designed numerous garments for her movies, red carpet appearances and even for her nuptials in 1969 to Andrea Dotti. In fact, Audrey claimed Givenchy’s clothes to be “the only clothes in which I am myself.”
Another iconic designer-muse duo is Yves Saint Laurent and model Betty Catroux who met at Chez Regine, a nightclub in Paris in 1967. Over their 35 year friendship, the two collaborated numerous times as the model’s androgynous look was a perfect match for Saint Laurent’s designs including the illustrious Le Smoking Tuxedo, a pantsuit that became a massive symbol of female sexual empowerment in the late 60s and into the 70s.
A little more recently is the powerful connection between Marc Jacobs and director Sofia Coppola. The two met when Jacobs was just starting out at Perry Ellis, where he had just produced a grunge collection that garnered him a lot of heat at the time. Their friendship resulted in countless collaborations on campaigns and collections and Coppola almost exclusively wears Marc Jacobs to major events. Jacobs was quoted saying about Coppola “… I was drawn to her manner, her behavior, her life, her ambitions and creativity.”
All of this is to say that designer and muse connections are prevalent, influential and I think a new iconic duo is in the making. Jonathan Anderson, creative director of his own brand J.W.Anderson and creative director of Loewe, has recently done a number of collaborations with actress Taylor Russell. Primarily known for her work in “Bones and All”, Russell opened Loewe’s S/S 2023 show in September of 2022 and since then, she has been working closely with Anderson. Russell was named a global ambassador for Loewe in November of 2022. While this ambassador status likely contributes to the nature of their relationship, I believe that Anderson and Russell have that magical designer-muse connection as seen in the sentiments “I’ve never been so inspired by someone. It was the start of a very special friendship and I just thought, she has to open the show” which echo the similar sentiments of previous designers and their muses. Keep a look out on the horizon for more collaborations from these two and hopefully, more beautiful and captivating collections for years to come.
Words Faith Phillips
Armour Magazine Season 30 — F/S 2023