I prefer the aesthetic fluidity of Art Nouveau to the eclectic luxury of Art Deco. One of the reasons I prefer Art Nouveau, though it was only a small stepping-stone in the whole scheme of art movements, is because of the style’s heavy incorporation of natural shapes. “Sinuous lines and ‘whiplash’ curves were derived, in part, from botanical studies and illustrations of deep-sea organisms” (Metmuseum). Art Nouveau’s floral and natural inspirations are a bit ironic considering that the Art Nouveau movement was a deliberate effort to create new art in a modern style.
Perhaps because of this self-conscious development, Art Nouveau infiltrated every aspect of art, from architecture to furniture to fashion. Art Nouveau fashion was often as elegant as the slow opening of a gateway to a royal palace. Long, structured yet fluid lines gave dresses a languid rigidity. This comes in opposition to the Art Deco movement that followed Nouveau. Art Deco was a search for regal luxury and extravagance, far different from the natural origins of Art Nouveau. Art Deco included fine and expensive materials, such as ivory or jade. Art Deco, in the movements early years, was somewhat of a purposeful attention-grabber, relying of bright colors as well.
How have these movements influenced fashion?
One way in which Art Nouveau influenced fashion was that it took the common dress and turned it into decorative art. The dress and Art Nouveau go hand in hand when one considers the respective shapes of each. Nouveau was rooted in long fluid shapes, such as the stem of a flower, and dresses are the perfect canvas for such designs. Art Deco has a significant influence on fashion in that it directly contributed to one of the most recognizable eras in American fashion history; Art Deco brought the world flappers. Further, Art Deco also helped define the modern interpretation of the female figure. Female fashion was a bit daring and accentuated the female figure.