Recently I had the pleasure of seeing an exhibit on Alphons Mucha, a Czech painter of the Art Nouveau movement who painted in the late 1800’s until his death in 1939 and worked much . He especially took interest in the matters of nationalism for a sovereign state. While much could be said about his life and work and I would love to look into it more, I found his work to be both indicative and predictive of the fashion styles during and after the time of his painting.
From the Belle Epoque period in Paris where women were still corseted but thinner silhouettes and the exotic flairs of feathers and adornment came into fashion, much like the Art Nouveau style. Mucha’s women reflect this sense of exotic, natural, and wispy beauty while hinting at a future of freer and more loose clothing. His art seems to work within the fashion institution of the time by both affecting it, as his posters became immensely popular at the time, and being influenced by it in the depiction of beauty, fashion, and clothing in his artwork.
Certainly a phenomenon worth noting about Mucha. Now the question for another time is how do artists today take on and influence fashion and beauty images today?