Architects in Fashion: Part 1

Fashion is Architecture: it is a matter of proportions.

Coco Chanel

Text: Mary Giatra

The relationship between Fashion and Architecture has been very strong since the beginning of history. They both have the same goal, which is to cover basic human needs. Architecture’s main purpose is to protect and provide shelter and Fashion does exactly the same. In addition to that, these two forms of Art mirror society and it is development. The architectural ruins and the clothes humanity wore in each period of time, are important evidence of how society evolved.

All in all the link between Fashion and Architecture is sound and the number of Fashion Designers that have studied or are somehow involved with Architecture is surprisingly big. Here are some of the most legendary:



Before becoming a Fashion Designer, Gianfranco Ferre studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano university. He designed clothes and accessories following the same way one would to design buildings. Structure, form and balance were his main concerns.

Known as “The Architect of Fashion”, he had to support himself in the primal days by making belts and designing jewelry. In 1989 he became the Stylistic Director of Christian Dior in Paris and replaced Marc Bohan, but this cooperation ended 1997, during the minimalistic 90’s. His own label was very successful. Sophisticated white shirts and evening power dressing have become the symbol of his personal signature in fashion design.




The Italian legend did not study fashion design. He received a degree in architecture before moving to Milan in order to start his fashion career. As a child, Gianni spent time in his mother’s dress shop. Watching his mother throughout the creative process and assisting her, gave him the preparation for fashion design.

During the early 80s, he began his career with a style very different than what he is known for but approximately 10 years later he discovered his true identity, his own character and style. He found inspiration in “the rise and decline of Rome” and he wanted to introduce women as “Amazons”.



The American Fashion Designer and director began studying Interior Architecture at the famous Parsons, The New School for Design. The legendary nightclub Studio 54 and the disco-era glamour would become a major influence on his later work. Before his last year at Parsons, he interned in Chloe’s press office in Paris. This internship triggered his love of Fashion.

Even though he graduated with a degree in Architecture, he was passionate with Fashion. During the 90s, he became the creative director of Gucci. The fashion House at that time was at the edge to shut down. Tom Ford managed to revive it achieving 100% in sales. Every piece he designed became a best seller and he drew influence from his favorite decade in Fashion, the 70s. The legendary trio: Carine Roitfeld, Mario Testino and Tom Ford drove Gucci to a huge success.


We will continue our retrospective next Saturday with the big legends of Fashion. Pierre Balmain, Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne shared a common love for Architecture. Stay tuned!