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Writing the book on fashion: Novels as clothing

Honduran designer Carlos Campos debuted his autumn line this past weekend at New York Fashion Week, claiming that he took inspiration from Gabriel García Márquez’s Love In The Time Of Cholera. Experts (well, the New York Post) called it ‘as poetic and nuanced as the novel’. To the untrained eye, however, this has just resulted in a lot of orangey-reddy clothes, presumably because red has long been associated with passion and heat, an’ that. So we’re calling bullplop (that’s right – bullplop!) on the whole Márquez inspiration angle – if you’re going to claim a novel as inspiration, designers, at least get a bit more out there with it. Here are some suggestions for ways you could get started.

Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory

Fake (?) fur and lots of it. Maybe a hat shaped like a seagull’s head. Snakeskin shoes (can be fitted for fake legs). An oversized pocket watch-slash-bug zapper. Could be accesorised with a balloon. Unisex.


F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

A lightly soiled stars and stripes suit, worn over a t-shirt featuring a bald eagle crying for reasons it can’t quite understand, just knowing that it feels some implacable sadness and ennui. Comes with optional three piece bathing suit, which is machine washable and made from fabric strong enough to sustain any impact up to but not including a gunshot.


Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse 5

A line of t-shirts that reduce the novel’s complications to a series of aphorisms quoted out of context and worn by idiots in a sharp demonstration of ironic Vonnegutian performance art. Oh, wait.


Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita

Any style you like, as long as it’s several sizes too small.


Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

A reversible suit jacket – one side suitable for business, the other for pleasure, but neither available separately.


Alasdair Gray: Lanark

A quarter of the way down the leg, the trousers become a shirt, then for the last quarter become trousers again, only a weirder kind than before, with sewn in criticism from the designer about how bad they look on you.


The Marquis de Sade: The 120 Days of Sodom

Brown. Brown all over. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to be allowed to wear clothes in the first place.


Over to you, dear readers – we’ll send the best ones to Karl Lagerfeld for his secretary to ignore.

kurt vonnegut slaughterhouse 5, robert louis stevenson, scott fitzgerald the great gatsby, strange case of dr jekyll and mr hyde, vladimir nabokov

Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.


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