Friday I stumbled across this great post on T Magazine’s blog showing the mood boards that inspired three designers (J. Mendel, Joseph Altuzarra, and Bibhu Mohapatra) to create their Spring/Summer 2013 collections at this seasons NYFW. Mood boards are one of my favorite ways to start when beginning new design projects, especially identity projects for new brands. They’re e a good way to look at color, type, symbols and imagery to evoke a certain feeling or communicate an idea. It’s commonplace in fashion to start collections this way and it can be a helpful exercise for graphic design too.
The first image (above) is Bibhu Mohapatra‘s mood board, “With his iPhone, he shot the shimmering coral-tipped, green-bodied moth against the old barn wall where it was perched. For his spring collection, his tenth, Mohapatra was focused on metamorphosis––”each look is a change in life,” he says––and on the idea of new energy coming and old energy peeling off. Also pictured here are geometric shapes, from a detailed piece of artwork by the Japanese stencil-artist Kako Ueda, a simple but personal picture of railroad tracks weaving in and out that was shot in Mohapatra’s native India and tons of black-and-white imagery of butterflies, dragonflies and spiders.”
“Sometimes it just stems from a feeling — it doesn’t have to have a rhyme or a reason,” says Gilles Mendel of his sources of inspiration each season. “For spring 2013, I was inspired by these amazing photographs of Japanese wisteria gardens, which ended up informing color, prints and textures.” The flower-informed color palette seen here and at the J. Mendel show, on Sept. 12, drew from deep irises and violets, tiger lilies, pale roses and a “jolt of cornflower blue,” Mendel says.
Each season, Joseph Altuzarra, the recent CFDA Award winner for women’s wear, builds his mood boards from thousands of pictures. For his Spring 2013 collection, which included pencil-striped linen skirts and work-wear classics like railroad engineers’ jackets (but with slits in the sides for a caping effect), one inspiration bled throughout: Carine Roitfeld. “It began with Carine,” says Altuzarra of the fashion editor who is often spotted in banker shirts and pencil skirts, with her jacket almost always thrown over her shoulders. “She embodies this attitude toward clothes that is very Altuzarra.”