Skip to Content

Fashion Forward

6 artworks from 6 artists across 6 galleries
The tour will begin from the Michigan Avenue entrance, if you enter from the Modern Wing, begin your tour in reverse order.

Here's a collection of works by artists with an eye for style.


  • Pair of Earrings

    Ida Ou Nadif

    The Ida Ou Nadif and other Imazighen peoples have developed highly distinctive jewelry styles. These bracelets, earrings, and headband are embellished with patterns in a black metal alloy mixture called niello. The box was designed to hold a copy of the Qu’ran and hang from a chain around a devotee’s neck. Across northern Africa exquisite silver jewelry defines a woman’s wealth and comprises an important part of the wedding gift that a man gives to his fiancée.

    "Accessories can make or break a look. These earrings are a part of a set that includes bracelets, earrings, and a headband."

  • An Elegant Company

    Pieter Codde

    A master of scenes of finely dressed revelers known as “merry companies,” Amsterdam painter Pieter Codde here demonstrated his sharp sense of composition. He animated a gathering of 18 guests and attendants through a complex network of gestures, glances, and poses, with a young woman dressed in luxurious silver satin at center. Such images of joyful gatherings, with participants acting in accordance with their privileged social station, would have functioned as models of polite behavior to cosmopolitan art collectors.

    "Today, the bride might be the wedding star, but in the 17th century, a dapper gent often stole the spotlight. Codde's groom wears a fashion-foward look with black coat and breeches, a neck ruff, silk stockings, and shoes with a rosette of spangled lace."

  • Amédée-David, the Comte de Pastoret

    Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

    This portrait by French painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicts the young count Amédée-David de Pastoret at 32 years old. One of several paintings he commissioned from Ingres, the portrait highlights the nobleman’s status and swagger. Posing confidently in his finest garments and wearing a medal of the Order of the Legion of Honor, he gazes directly at the viewer with a stern expression.

    "The Comte de Pastoret is all about his look here, and Ingres certainly helped out, using a forest-green satin wall and curtain to enhance his peachy skin and accentuating his bling, his gold ring and the detail of his sword’s hilt, with highlights."

  • The Milliners

    Theresa F. Bernstein

    In The Milliners, Theresa Bernstein depicts a group of women talking as they sew accessories onto hats. The window at the upper left suggests that they are in an apartment and therefore undertaking piecework to earn extra income. An important voice in early American modern painting, Bernstein celebrated the vibrancy and dignity of immigrant and working-class experiences in 20th-century New York.

    "Designer Christian Dior claimed, 'Without hats, there would be no civilization.' This group of makers are busily engaged in making that all-important headwear. One woman tests out a look, while the rest of the group adds accessories to their pieces."

  • Mr. Pointy

    Takashi Murakami

    Takashi Murakami skillfully mixes Japanese pop culture, animé, and cartoon aesthetics into a new form of global pop art. Both an artist and a businessman, he creates large-scale paintings and sculptures, animation, and merchandise, including a fashion collaboration with Louis Vuitton. The character of Mr. Pointy was devised by Murakami in 2003 and has since been repeatedly rendered in paintings, mass-market prints, and sculptures.

    "While Mr. Pointy never graced Murakami's LV bags, he has been a key chain and plush toy. The lovable character combines symbols from Mayan culture, Tibetan Buddhism, and the Thousand-Armed Buddha with a cartoon style informed by sources such as Disney."

  • Spanish Dancer

    Natalia Goncharova

    Natalia Goncharova designed sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev’s traveling ballet company, the Ballets Russes. Her costume for the Spanish dancer in this work features delicate transparencies of lace and floral patterns. Inspired by the flamenco tradition, Goncharova fanned the fabric outward geometrically from the dancer's hands, building upon the abstract-cubist style she had developed in Moscow the decade before.

    "Where does costume end and fashion begin? Goncharova was inspired by the local flamenco tradition in Spain while depicting this elegantly dressed figure. She traveled there while touring with the Ballet Russes, painting her first Spanish dancer in 1916."

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions