We know that the Impressionists themselves were inspired by 19th-century fashion designers like Charles Frederick Worth and Madame Roger, but how could these paintings then inspire the fashion designers of today? That’s exactly the challenge that exhibition curator Gloria Groom posed to six designers-in-residence (and two alumni) of the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street. They each chose a painting from the exhibition as a starting point and then created a contemporary ensemble influenced by it.
Check out the video above to learn more about what sparked the designers’ interest—for example, it wasn’t the spectacular dresses in A Ball that inspired Katelyn Pankoke, but the vibrant red curtains in the background of the painting—and get an insider look at their process.
You’ll also get to see the winning ensemble by designer Shelby Steiner. She chose Bartholomé’s In the Conservatory, the only painting in the exhibition for which we have the actual garment that was featured in it. She created a three-piece look in which she combined textiles and patterns—hand painting every single stripe and dot—and created an original mirrored plaid digital design that not only evokes the garment, but also the windowpanes of the conservatory and the flowers inside.
If you’d like to see the garments in person (which we highly recommend), visit the 7th floor of Macy’s on State Street before September 29. We guarantee that you’ll see the corresponding paintings in a totally new light.