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Fashion Designers Using WItches As Inspiration

Fashion Designers Using WItches As Inspiration


@jointhecovn tis the season 🔮 #spookyszn #fashiondesigner #viviennewestwood #alexandermcqueen #runway ♬ Suspense, horror, piano and music box - takaya


Witches have always evoked glamour, mystery and magic of the unknown. They have thus been an inspiration for many designers, myself included. Today we’ll be looking at iconic collections inspired by witches. 

First is Elsa Schiaparelli who was an early surrealist fashion designer. In 1938 she came out with her ‘Pagan’ Collection, featuring golden chokers with velvet indigo bows from which gold pinecones dangled from matching chains. These represented a symbol a knowledge, protection, fire, and the third eye.

In the 1980s British designer Vivienne Westwood produced her Autumn/Winter 1983/1984 ready-to-wear collection titled ‘Witches’. She was inspired by a trip to America where she met Keith Haring, a now famous graffiti artist known for his work in New York during the Aids crisis. She saw his work as esoteric as an almost magical sign language and drew inspiration from him and hip hop to create this collection.

In 2007, Alexander McQueen's Fall Ready-to-Wear Collection also took inspiration from witches. Designing this collection after diving into his own personal history and discovering he had an ancestor who was the victim of the salem witch trials in 1692. 

Comme Des Garcons' "Blue Witches" Spring Ready-To-Wear 2016 also took magical inspiration. Designer Rei Kawakubo is known not saying much on her collections but blue witches, according to her husband, was ‘all about powerful women who do good in the world’.

Saint Laurant’s Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear which debuted new designer of the brand Hedi Slimante also had witchy themes. Slimante drew inspiration from the familiar whit witch in the music world, Stevie Nicks. A slick rockstar silhouette of big hats and lots of black was created. 

Next we take a closer look at Preen’s Spring 2017 ready-to-wear collection  by designers Thorton and Bregazzi who were inspired by the Isle of Man and the wise women who lived there (aka witches). Using imagaery such as embellished pentagrams and lots of black, white and grey to set the tone. 

More recently we have Julien Fournie Fall/Winter Collection 2019/2020 “First Spell” for the house’s 10th anniversary. Fournié décided to dedicate the designs to women who surpass and revolutionize the social codes made to restrain their gender. This is of course a common fairytale archetype of witches. 

Finally of course, I am myself am inspired by witches with the Covn Collection a continuation of my work at University. My first collection titles “Of Witches and Litches”, and the second being “Washed Out Witch”. I was inspired by duality of women in horror films often dressed in white and lace, but were also the source of terror eg Carrie. Now in my brand Covn, I took inspiration from both of these collections with the added ambition of being flattering for multiple body types, each dress being customisable in size (bust, waist, and hips), and of course, added pockets. Check out all of Covn's designs on this website. 

Sources / Further Reading 

Alexander McQueen Fall 2007 Ready to Wear

The Sorcery of Rei Kawakubo

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