Building on Fashion

Modern Architecture VS. The Clothes We Wear

Modern architecture finds its way onto the runway as designers echo architectural elements as details on their clothes. Here, we take a literal look at the idea that fashion is a representation of the world we live in, and compare five structures from around the world with their fashion counterparts.



The Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum in Michigan, created by the Zaha Hadid Architects, features folds and pleats along the façade of the building, which results in a structure that changes as visitors move through and around it. A forward-thinking element of contemporary design, architectural pleats and louvres add visual depth and tonal contrast.

This Comme des Garçons denim hybrid skirt uses a simple knife pleat in the same way, adding texture to an otherwise minimalist basic. Originally intended for practical purposes, pleating enhances the silhouette, and allows the wearer more freedom of movement.



Hong Kong’s Shellstar Pavilion was designed by Matsys Architects to serve as a gathering place for the Detour Art and Design Festival, which took place in 2012. Lightweight and ultra-modern, the pavilion’s surface is made up of nearly 1500 hexagonal cells, reducing material while increasing the structure’s visual interest.

Sarah Burton’s Spring 13 ready-to-wear collection takes inspiration from bees, and incorporates a geometric pattern throughout its structured runway looks, emulating the bee’s intricate hexagonal honeycomb cells. Burton’s cut out pattern is a modern take on the simple, geometric prints popularized in the 1960s.



Chinese design firm MAD Architects has announced plans to build a high-density village in the Huangshan Mountains in Anhui Province, China. The avant-garde glass and concrete apartment buildings will be tiered buildings meant to echo the ripples of the water below and the rugged landscape that surrounds them. Such ruffle-like tiers, undulating shapes, and organic lines are understood as a departure from modernism’s more pragmatic construction.

Mugler’s Sebastien Peigne and Nicola Formichetti offered a softer take on their typically angular silhouettes with this tiered ruffle skirt for Spring 13. Ruffles and flounce trimmings first emerged in the 15th century, remaining a popular feminine aesthetic detail.



The Erasmusbrug bridge links the northern and southern parts of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, using suspension technology to hang the deck below. Designed by Ben van Berkel and built in 1996, the bridge spans over 800 meters.

Alexander Wang adapts suspension work in his stand-out Spring 13 collection, using transparent fishing line to give the appearance of floating construction. This minimalist black blazer features a cutout lapel, highlighting the same shape as a suspension bridge.



The Van Helvoirt Groenprojecten headquarters in Tilburg, Netherlands features slatted screens at its facades. The office building, which was upgraded by Equipe Urban Architecture Firm, is painted a bright shade of red that stands out against the structure’s natural surroundings. The vertical timber louvres allow light to pass through, while also providing privacy and a clean, streamlined appearance.

Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing plays with stripes across strictly cut slim-fit jeans for Spring 13. Building on the harlequin prints seen throughout the collection, his use of jailhouse-like vertical stripes in black and white recall the sleek, streamlined aesthetic created by Equipe’s louvred screens. An adaptation of the classic pinstripes once common in business wear, stripes have become an integral pattern in modern streetwear.

Look straight ahead don’t stop don’t pose