French fashion designer Pierre Balmain used to have a popular saying. “Nothing is more important in a dress than its construction.”

People think that architecture and fashion are vastly different disciplines. Fashion is more associated with softness and fragility–an ephemeral thing. Meanwhile, architecture is something rigid and monumental–powerful in its permanence. But these disciplines are just two sides of the same coin. Regardless of their differences, both disciplines shelter the human body in some way. Both disciplines also give people a way to express themselves. Both are applied arts and require use, too. For both, the design needs to be comfortable, functional, and usually affordable. Over time, there have been fashion designers who have become architects with their designed garments. At the same time, architects became fashion designers with garments inspired by the curves or sharpness found in their architecture.

Here are a few designers with memorable fashion pieces inspired by architecture.

Konstantin Kofta

fashion and architecture
The Arxi backpacks make use of sculptural leather to highlight baroque architecture’s intricate details and curves.

Konstantin Kofta is a Kiev-based designer who’s become a household name in fashion thanks to his innovative leather accessories. Though showing unconventional forms, they’re pieces that are functional and wearable. Among his notable works are the Arxi backpacks. These backpacks take the shape of baroque architecture and carry the same intricate flourishes. The grey fabric used also mimics the characteristics of concrete, giving them a more solid look.

Charlotte Olympia

fashion and architecture
Hadid and Olympia’s collection is a pair of heels of perspex with rose gold accents. A transparent clutch bag also features the fluidity of Hadid’s architecture. Photo courtesy of Zaha Hadid Design

Charlotte Olympia Dellal is a UK-based footwear designer. In 2011 and 2015, she was the winner of the Accessories Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards. In 2015, she met the “Queen of the Curve” Zaha Hadid, and collaborated with her on a luxury fashion collection. Together, they created a pair of high-heeled shoes and a clutch bag that reference Hadid’s signature sculptural style. Hadid also has her own accessories brand called Zaha Hadid Design. Here, she has works completed with other big names in the fashion industry such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Donna Karan.

Yue Shi

fashion and architecture
Yue Shi’s Mini Coliseum bag is only 16cm wide but fits all the essentials. Photo courtesy of Yue Shi.

Yue Shi is a luxury handbag designer based in Sydney, Australia. Combining his eye for design and digital skills, Yue Shi crafts statement pieces inspired by various subjects. From mythical creatures and powerful animals to architecture. His most recent pieces revolve around the latter. These are inspired by Australia’s own wide array of beautifully preserved classic architecture.

Related read: Architecture and Fashion: Yue Shi’s Architecture-Inspired Bags

These are just a few of the talented designers from different corners of the world. Regardless of which type of architecture they’re inspired by, it shows that artistry and technique are elements that both architecture and fashion have in common.

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