Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty—Exhibition tour with Andrew Bolton. Video Courtesy of the MET’s YouTube video.
Have you already been to the new MET exhibit, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty, or are planning to attend? Lucky you. If not, then you must view Andrew Bolton’s tour of the exhibit on You Tube.
THE ‘S’ OR SERPENTINE CURVE
The highly anticipated Karl Lagerfeld MET exhibit, which opened on May 5 and is on display until July 16, 2023, is a remarkable homage to the iconic designer and, for all you fashion illustrators nerds out there, a study in line, brushstroke and architectural principles. As the basis for the exhibition, the MET has focused on Lagerfeld’s interest in the work of William Hogarth (1697–1764), a British artist, printmaker and theorist, who published “The Analysis of Beauty” in 1753 and who is considered the initiator of line aesthetics, particularly the “S” or serpentine curve. Hogarth called waving lines, “lines of beauty” and serpentine-lines “lines of grace.” He depicted seven waving lines, declaring line number 4 as the most beautiful and called it the “line of beauty.”
Historically speaking however, the S-shaped concept actually dates back to the 4th century BC and is attributed to the famous Greek sculptor Praxiteles in the form of the contrapposto pose, whereby the figure is depicted as slouching, or placing the center of gravity to one side. Today it has become a very popular pose in fashion illustration.
The MET used Hogarth’s principle to skillfully intertwine Lagerfeld’s love of the Serpentine or ‘S’ line (the line of beauty) and contrasting it with Lagerfeld’s love of the Modern Straight line. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating connection between these concepts, highlighting Lagerfeld’s innovative vision and its impact on the world of fashion. We will also teach you more about the ‘S’ line and the Modern Straight line by referring you to our fashion drawing lessons on how to draw the “S’ and Straight line fashion poses and when to use each in your fashion illustrations. We will also point you to our lessons on how to draft romantic sleeves and our beading and embroidery lessons so that you can achieve some of the looks featured in the Lagerfeld MET show.
THE ROMANTIC SERPENTINE: EVOKING GRACE AND MOVEMENT
The Romantic Serpentine or “S” line, represents a curvilinear aesthetic inspired by nature and organic forms. Lagerfeld skillfully infused this concept into his designs, allowing garments to embrace the natural contours of the body. The MET show did a great job of arranging Lagerfeld designs that in groups that demonstrated the Serpentine concept of flowing lines, delicate drapes, and soft textures that brought a sense of fluidity and movement to the exhibit.
THE MODERN STRAIGHT LINE: EMBRACIMG MINIMALISM AND PRECISION
In contrast, the Modern Straight Line gained prominence in the early 20th century with the advent of modernism. Characterized by clean lines, simplicity and precision, this style revolutionized the world of design with Coco Chanel and Paul Poiret among the the concept’s early-adopters. The MET show masterfully showcases these sharp silhouettes, geometric patterns, and minimalist aesthetics, by juxtaposing Lagerfeld’s sleek designs against the backdrop of rectangular shadow boxes, creating a visually captivating experience for visitors.
LAGERFELD’S VISION: BLURRING BOUNDARIES AND REDEFINING FASHION
Karl Lagerfeld’s exhibit not only paid homage to the historical artistic concepts but also demonstrated his ability to push the boundaries of fashion. By intertwining the Line of Beauty with the Modern Straight Line and Romantic Serpentine, Lagerfeld challenged conventional ideas and redefined the way we perceive fashion and design. His innovative approach encouraged the fusion of diverse styles, allowing for endless possibilities and a new era of creativity.
VISITING THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
The Karl Lagerfeld Met Exhibit stands as a testament to Lagerfeld’s exceptional talent and his ability to draw inspiration from various artistic movements. By channeling William Hogarth’s Line of Beauty and seamlessly blending the Modern Straight Line with the Romantic Serpentine, Lagerfeld created a mesmerizing display of fashion that showcased both precision and grace. The exhibit not only honored Lagerfeld’s legacy but also served as a catalyst for future designers to explore the intersections of art and fashion, challenging traditional norms and fostering innovation in the industry. To learn more about Lagerfeld’s fashion illustrations read our earlier blogpost, Celebrating Karl Lagerfeld: As Both Illustrator & Designer.
LEARN ABOUT LAGERFELD’S DESIGN CONCEPTS THROUGH THESE UOF LESSONS:
Learn more about LINE and how to draw the S curve and the Modern Straight line silhouette. Try your hand at some of Lagerfeld’s BIG sleeves like the Leg o’ Mutton and other decorative sleeves and learn how to bead and embroider by viewing these lessons: