June 04, 2014

Fashion Meets Art: Inspired by Romare Bearden

Artist Romare Bearden was a descendant of the Harlem Renaissance known for his masterful use of color, which can be seen in a variety of media: paintings, watercolors, collages, and prints, among others. After seeing a show of his work, "Storyteller," while visiting the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in San Francisco, Bearden's complex and beautiful color palettes inspired me to translate his juxtaposition of hues into the language of fashion. 

It would be impossible to capture all of the dimensions of a Bearden work in a simple outfit, so I instead chose to focus on the aspects of each piece that immediately stood out to me. I attempted to remain loyal to Bearden's chosen color schemes while also choosing clothing and accessories that would embody the spirit, personality, and creativity of each work. Yet, ultimately, each outfit is meant to be a wearable creation, perfect for the current season.

All images courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Baptism (1975)

Romare Bearden 1
See by Chloé silk top, $265 (available here); Elizabeth and James cargo pant, $265 (available here); Pierre Hardy ankle cuff leather sandal, $1,055 (available here); GiGi New York sky blue clutch, $165 (available here); Georg Jensen moonrise pendant, $1,995 (available here); J. Crew tassel pendant, $55 (available here); Monica Vinader gold-plated citrine ring, $98.10 (available here); Satya Jewelry citrine ring, prices vary by size, from $53.91 to $98 (available here).

Circe (1977)

Romare Bearden 2
Saint Laurent draped dress, $4,550 (available here); Sergio Rossi flora sandal, $1,260 (available here); Aranaz clutch, $450 (available here); Alexander McQueen skull ring, $350 (available here).
The Sea Nymph (1977)

Romare Bearden 3
Kenzo crop top, $167 (available here); Kenzo flared skirt, $193 (available here); Kenzo leather and neoprene sandals, $175 (available here); Givenchy leather cross-body bag, $1,275 (available here); Marni earrings, $342 (available here); Arme De L'Amour rose gold-plated snake ring, $172 (available here); David Yurman pinky ring in rose gold, $1,950 (available here).
To learn more about Romare Bearden and his work, visit the Romare Bearden Foundation. His paintings can currently be seen in the Smithsonian traveling exhibit "Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey," on view at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire until August 17, 2014. Select works can also be seen at the Greenhill gallery in North Carolina until June 22, 2014 and at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in San Francisco until June 21, 2014.


  1. WOW. Truly tasteful! I love all this. After all, fashion is art!

  2. The green Chloe top is gorgeous. This is such a cool idea for a post, the paintings are cool too

  3. Great Post! I love how you can really find the paintings in the outfits you chose.