Memphis Design Meets Haute Couture: Christian Dior’s Fall-Winter Collection

A Dior skirt conjures memories of Aldo Cibic's Cabbage Teapot from 1985 (image courtesy of Dennis Zanone)

Mirror80 just can’t stop ogling Christian Dior’s Fall-Winter Haute Couture Collection. Not only do these fashion treasures put a modern twist on the already-modern Memphis-Milano design style that boldly emerged in the 1980s, they feature alluring updates, from geometric form-hats and candy-hued eyeshadow to strappy sandals with shape-clustered heels.

What’s truly amazing is the way Dior integrated the Memphis Group’s signature patterns, colors and textures with its cutting edge fashion. The Memphis Group design collective DID create jewelry and clothing, but who would’ve thought that motifs also seen on lamps, vases and tables would make it on to the runway in 2011? Then again, it isn’t THAT unexpected…

The ’80s fashion revival has been much more prominent than an ’80s interior design revival of any kind. It therefore makes sense that the boldest echoes of 1980s interiors would first emerge in the world of fashion. With the help of the Dior collection and images from expert Memphis-Milano collector Dennis Zanone, let’s look at some match-ups that channel this overlap of ’80s form and modern couture!

Pattern and Color

We love a world where teapots, skirts, clocks and jackets are in the same realm (see images above and below):

 A black and white jacket conjures the patterns of Memphis Group designer Nathalie du Pasquier, as evidenced by this clock she created with architect George Sowden (image courtesy of Dennis Zanone).

Now let’s turn our eyes to the pictures below, where similarities in pattern AND color are evident:

A Dior ensemble boasts signature Memphis colors, as shown by the piece "Prana" by Masanori Umeda (bottom right); The Dior skirt's blue pattern mirrors that of Ettore Sotsass' City Table (top); Furniture and product images courtesy of Dennis Zanone

We also love the Memphis trend of combining black and white with candy tones and primary colors. Dior notes that “Ettore Sottsass is the inspiration for a bold pastel palette combined with graphic black and white.” Black and white stripes, pastels AND the color red? You betcha!

It's all about color! Pastels, black and white stripes, and the use of bright colors (such as red) are displayed in both the Dior couture (left) and the Memphis palate (right, photo courtesy of Dennis Zanone).


We end with a geometry lesson. When cubes and spheres meet the world of triangles, circles and squares, there’s a deliberate cheekiness that is both playful and artistic:

Triangles, circles and squares, oh my! Left: Dior Couture/Right: The Colon Table by Javier Mariscal (image couresy of Dennis Zanone)

Cones frequently appeared in Memphis design. And these cones look good enough to eat:

It's a cone thing: Conical shapes modeled in the Dior fashion show (left) and featured on Ettore Sottsass' Bay Table Lamp (right, image courtesy of Dennis Zanone)

A big thank-you to our friend Dennis Zanone, whose impeccable collection of Memphis-Milano items made this post possible. You’ve inspired us the way Ettore Sottsass has inspired Dior!

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