top of page
  • Writer's picturesallyinstpaul

OOTD: Style Imitating Art - Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Shelbee at Shelbee on the Edge is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art, and she chose this iconic Picasso painting that is recognized as the first Cubist work.

source: Museum of Modern Art, New York -

This painting has special meaning for Shelbee because it was one of three artworks that formed the basis for her undergrad honors thesis in philosophy on the topic of voyeurism.

I identified the following elements of the painting as possible outfit inspirations:

--Colors: peach-pink, rust, brown, "nude," white, black, slate blue/denim/soft indigo


--Shading of color or flat color, not textured

--Angularity, straight lines; even the curved shapes have a geometric simplicity

--Draping white fabric

--Hair left long

--Forthright expressions

The color palette is what struck me as the most interesting aspect of the painting in terms of creating an outfit, and I knew what piece of clothing I wanted to start with...this knit jacket from CJ Banks in the Sandstone Coral color from their spring/summer 2020 collection. I thought this was a good match to the flesh color in the painting, and the zipper and seams on the front of the jacket were somehow in the spirit of the curves and lines of the women's bodies.

Next I turned to these pants to represent the blue-grey of the shadows in the painting. They are also by CJ Banks in their Storied Indigo color from 2020.

I considered layering a similar coral top underneath the jacket, but I ultimately chose a basic white T to bring in that color from the painting. In this case, a crisp white shirt in a classic or architectural style would have been a closer match to the fabric in the painting, but I wanted something softer that would layer smoothly under the jacket to create a very simple, streamlined look. I thought that was more in keeping with the silhouettes of the nude women in the painting. I was very pleased with how these three pieces came together to create a comfortable, easy-to-wear base outfit with a slightly unusual color combination.

OOTD 3/21/2022 - worn with a direct, neutral gaze

In choosing accessories, I immediately pulled out this silky square scarf from the CJ Banks spring/summer 2020 collection that I purchased at the same time as the jacket. The edging of the scarf is a perfect color match to the jacket, the blue-grey is a darker version of the color of the pants, and the stripes introduced a "straight lines" element to the look. The darker brown shades in the work are represented by my brown leather flats.

My go-to bracelet stack felt too busy and fussy for this painting, so I added a large mixed metal geometric bracelet instead. The round parts remind me of the grapes in the deconstructed bowl of fruit at the bottom-center of the painting.

I left my hair loose and natural to mimic the style (if not the color) of the women's hair. To bookend my brown flats, I selected brown leather earrings in a leaf/almond shape that matches the shape of the women's eyes. (This expression is my take on the face of the second woman from the left in the painting...wide-eyed and resolute...though with less of a straight-on orientation so the earrings would show!)

I am very happy with the way the outfit turned out, and I'm interested in combining the sandstone coral and soft indigo colors in future outfits. This was a new combination for me, which may be a little surprising considering that these are two colors that are very well represented in my wardrobe. Here are my garments in the sandstone coral color (all CJ Banks).

And here are my garments in the soft indigo color (all CJ Banks except sweater at upper right is Coldwater Creek).

In choosing a rabbit to accompany this painting, I knew I wanted a red "self" (i.e., solid) colored rabbit who is obviously female. Right away my archives of Minnesota state fair rabbits turned up this lovely red New Zealand doe with a prominent dewlap (the fleshy bit under her chin that is a secondary sex characteristic in female rabbits). She has a neutral, forthright expression that fits right in with the women in the painting, and I love the fact that her upright angled ears are so reminiscent of the raised arms of the woman in the center of the painting.

Red New Zealand rabbit doe

I think this bunny makes a seamless addition to Picasso's work. Obviously she has positioned herself next to the fruit and appears to be guarding it.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon "improved" with rabbit

To see other outfit interpretations of this painting, check out the round up on Shelbee on the Edge.

What element of the artwork do you find most sartorially inspirational?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

bottom of page