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  • Writer's pictureClaudio Fibonacci

The Influence of Robert Mapplethorpe on Fashion: A Debt Owed?

Does Fashion Owe a Debt to Robert Mapplethorpe?

The Influence of Robert Mapplethorpe on Fashion

The life, work, and singular persona of Robert Mapplethorpe have been immortalized thoroughly over the years. There have been a handful of documentaries, a biopic, and various writings that have explored his impact on art and culture. But one aspect that often goes unnoticed is Mapplethorpe’s influence on the world of fashion.

Mapplethorpe’s Style Legacy

  1. Mapplethorpe was an unsung style icon, known for his distinctive and daring fashion choices.

  2. His signature look, including a motorcycle jacket, leather trousers, Western boots, and a leather sailor cap, has become iconic in the fashion world.

  3. His exploration of BDSM culture in his work also left a lasting impact on fashion, inspiring designers to push boundaries and challenge norms.

Fashion Designers Inspired by Mapplethorpe

Many designers have found inspiration in Mapplethorpe’s work, incorporating elements of his aesthetic into their collections. Here are a few notable examples:

Ludovic de Saint Sernin

De Saint Sernin collaborated with the Mapplethorpe Foundation for his New York Fashion Week debut, drawing inspiration from the artist’s identity and vision as a queer man.

Carolina Herrera

Herrera honored Mapplethorpe in her collection by creating motorcycle jackets in his honor, showcasing his impact on her personal style and design ethos.

Raf Simons

Simons partnered with the Mapplethorpe Foundation for a collection at Pitti Uomo, featuring photographic prints of Mapplethorpe’s work on each outfit.

Sebastien Meunier for Ann Demeulemeester

Meunier’s collection captured the romantic sensibility of Mapplethorpe’s work, paying homage to his life at the Chelsea Hotel.

Nicolas Di Felice for Courrèges

Di Felice’s collection included nods to Mapplethorpe’s personal style, incorporating bicep straps and leather belting as a tribute to the artist.

Proenza Schouler

Reflecting on Mapplethorpe’s impact, Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler highlighted the artist’s influence on his creative journey and the power of pushing creative boundaries.

Alessandro Michele at Gucci

Michele’s work at Gucci often reflects the kinkier side of fashion, drawing inspiration from Mapplethorpe’s iconic style and imagery.

Jonathan Anderson

Anderson, an avid collector of Mapplethorpe’s works, incorporates elements of the artist’s fetish-y leatherwear into his designs.

Michael Kors

Even designers like Michael Kors have paid homage to Mapplethorpe’s style, as seen in his outfitting of Shawn Mendes for the Met Gala.

In conclusion, Robert Mapplethorpe’s impact on fashion is undeniable. His daring exploration of identity, sexuality, and culture has inspired generations of designers to push boundaries and challenge conventions. Through his work, Mapplethorpe continues to shape the fashion landscape and serve as a muse for creative minds around the world.

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