Loud and bold – those are the words we would use to describe Andy Warhol. However the American artist’s fashion sense was everything but.
Even if you know absolutely nothing about art, you know something about Andy Warhol and his association with art rock band The Velvet Underground.
He was just not that kind of person that can fly under the radar, not particularly because of his strange looks, which he himself has often described as “plain”, but because of how he treated art as a social commentary. Big words for what may seem like a bunch of soup cans on a canvas.
Andy Warhol began his career as an illustrator, heavily involved in fashion drawings for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar. By 1962, he launched his first solo show, consisting of 32 canvases screen printed with his notorious soup cans – a fine commentary on American consumerism and mass production.
In 1966 he produced a series of films and multi-media events he titled The Exploding Plastic Inevitable in conjunction with art rocker Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.
Shortly thereafter he delved into the world of fashion with the Souper Dresses. These were paper garments meant to quite literally be disposed of, becoming a commentary of advertisement, fast fashion and consumerism of the sixties carefree culture. Although these may sell as precious collector items in 2022, back in the day they were easily affordable by sending a 1 dollar cheque to Campbell’s soup company. Oh how times have changed.
Similarly to Salvador Dalí, who created iconic collaborations between artists and high-fashion, Warhol worked closely with some big and bold industry names such as Halston or Diane Von Furstenberg. Despite passing away due to medical complications at the age of 58, Warhol’s legacy withstood the passing of time and his iconography has inspired many big names throughout the years. Moschino, for example, was all about the logo-mania in 2015, which undoubtedly takes cues from Warhol’s use of consumerism for art.
“Fashion wasn’t what you wore someplace…It was the whole reason for going.”Andy Warhol
With all this extravagant use of colour, advertisement and fast consumption, it is perhaps surprising to look back at Andy Warhol’s personal style, which was nowhere near as eccentric and loud as the artist himself. Warhol opted for slim shaped suits in black or navy, leather jackets, a silver wig and pale gaunt features. All in all, he was bold and distinctive in monochrome, which is perhaps why recent fashion has emulated some of the artist’s greatest fashion and imagery choices in recent years. Let’s run through some of those.
Andy Warhol – The Grey Hair Trend-Setter
His iconic wigs, always in some shade of white-ash grey are one of the most distinct features of Warhol. In recent years, particularly in 2011 after Jean-Paul Gautier’s grey haired catwalk models, grey hair has become the next big thing in the world of hair. Where did you see it first though? Warhol.
The Clear-Brimmed Glasses
The most juxtaposing of accessories: the clear brimmed glasses. In equal measures discrete and bold, Andy was always wearing some variation of these hipster-looking essentials.
All Black Everything
Perhaps the first person to emulate the Matrix in fashion was Andy Warhol, always dressed in leather jackets and an all-black-everything attire which resembles the queue of Berlin’s Berghain on a Friday night.