Viennese Modernist art and the works created by the Wiener Werkstätte are still a rich seam of inspiration for the creative industries, more than 100 years after their heyday – including in fashion. The most recent examples come from Viennese designer and creative director of Fay, Arthur Arbesser; top Swiss label Akris; and Viennese label Sightline.
“Vienna’s influence on me is extremely strong: a certain austerity, clear, precise lines and a kind of discipline, mixed with some softness and lightness.” Arthur Arbesser, a Viennese designer based in Milan who is creative director of Italian fashion label Fay, continues to draw inspiration from the city of his birth. In 2018, he has created the Arthur Arbesser X Vienna capsule collection for Vienna Tourist Board.
“Viennese Modernism was focused on the essential. Not a single stroke or detail too many; a confident elegance that is just as modern today as it was back them, and reduces our taste to its essence – perhaps even more than it did 100 years ago,” says Arbesser.
The fabrics for the collection are from Austrian textiles manufacturer Backhausen, who once supplied Wiener Werkstätte as its main customer. “Some designs by Koloman Moser have been produced in wool and silk for the first time; the result is radiant, soft to the eye and beautiful,” the Viennese designer enthuses. Arbesser presented pieces from the mini collection in his 2018/19 autumn/winter show in Milan on February 21, 2018.
Top Swiss label Akris also recently drew inspiration from Viennese Modernism. Its autumn/winter 2018 collection, presented in Paris in March 2018, is dedicated to Vienna around 1900 and the city’s visionary salonnières including Alma Mahler-Werfel and Berta Zuckerkandl.
Viennese photographer Dora Kallmus, alias Madame d’Ora, is also honoured in Akris’ designs.
Akris, Tuchlauben 8, 1010 Vienna
Vivien Sakura Brandl, a Viennese designer with Japanese roots, reinterpreted colour woodcuts by Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel for the newest designs for her Sightline label. The works by Jungnickel are part of the collection at the Albertina in Vienna.
The painter and graphic artist worked at the Wiener Werkstätte and is known primarily for his depictions of animals – his work included the design for an animal frieze for the children’s bedroom in the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, for which Gustav Klimt also created designs.
Sightline, Kirchengasse 24/5, 1070 Vienna
Viennese Modernism has infiltrated fashion design over the decades. Designers Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood have drawn inspiration from the movement’s forms and lines, and continue to do so. Gustav Klimt’s work is also frequently referenced in the world of fashion.
Under the title Beauty and the Abyss. Klimt.Schiele.Wagner.Moser., Vienna is celebrating Modernism and four of the era’s chief protagonists in 2018, all of whom died in 1918. During the anniversary year numerous exhibitions explore how artists, scientists, architects and countless others shaped fin-de-siècle Vienna.