Zaha Hadid’s Architectural Fashion

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Zaha Hadid once explained the relationship between architecture and fashion to Vogue in 2011 as, “Architecture is how the person places herself in the space. Fashion is how you place the object on the person.”

The recent passing of Zaha Hadid brought a swath of praise and remembrance of the architect’s legacy. As a woman of Iraqi heritage in a field dominated by white Westerners, Zaha not only broadened the world of architecture’s image, but also that of fashion.

Aside from her grade scale buildings, Zaha also worked on a smaller scale. Shortly before her death, the Zaha Hadid Architects announced an eight-piece capsule collaboration with Danish luxury jeweler Georg Jensen at Baselworld 2016, who like Zaha embrace curved, metallic lines. The collection consists of five rings and three cuffs that were created in a 3D design manufacturing process and come in sterling silver with a black rhodium setting and black diamonds. “Our challenge was to translate that into something that can be worn,” Zara said to The New York Times.  “You can’t translate a building into a ring directly, but the striation comes from the elevation of the buildings. The forms are not identical to the project but of course they are inspired by them.”

Before the collaboration with Jensen, Zaha ventured into the world of footwear. For the casual wearer, Zaha designed flats for Melissa Shoes that wrapped around the wearer’s foot in curving lines. For her United Nude collaboration, Zaha created museum-worthy statement heels that mirrored the Zaha Hadid style by using a reflective material made of stacked wired lines. And if that wasn’t enough, Zaha also lent her genius for a Louis Vuitton purse collab and with singer songwriter Pharrell for Adidas.

Zaha had also lent her expertise to the world of high fashion. In 2008, Zaha designed a 20-foot movable pavilion for Chanel that was inspired by natural and organic forms. The architect was described by the Chanel’s creative head Karl Lagerfeld as, “a kind of Coco Chanel of today, not in fashion, but in architecture.”

Zaha was a rare figure in the world of fashion. She was a plus-size woman of Middle Eastern descent over 30, but her fashion sense and unique aesthetic was hard to resist.

She preferred abstract lines and jarring textures in dark tones. “When it comes to fashion, I’ve always had an interest in funny outfits. They’re not daring in the sense that they’re transparent or too short or low, just unconventional,” Zaha wrote in an editorial for Harper’s Bazaar in 2014, where she was pictured in a raw edged, curvilinear dress.

In the article, Zaha cited the unexpected powerful and modern costumes of the 1939 Hollywood film, The Women, and the daring outfits of pop divas Lady Gaga and Madonna as philosophical fashion inspirations. It wasn’t necessarily their wares that inspired her, it was their theme of power.

This idea of power in fashion was what drove Zaha to create the set for the Design Museum’s 2014 exhibition, Women Fashion Power. The eye catching set was designed as explosions, with the attire underneath. “Initially, I knew that Zaha had an incredible wardrobe, which we were keen to get access to,” said head curator Donna Loveday to “I was very keen that we had a woman design the exhibition and a woman that’s designed the graphics within the exhibition.” One of the contributions by Zaha was a creme-colored cape by Prada. Just like the superheroes in the movies, Zaha understood that with a cape comes great  power. And she delivered.


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