Can beauty be designed?
This resource explores how contemporary designers have questioned historical and contemporary ideas of beauty. It investigates the design processes of three contemporary designers.
The exhibition, ‘Beauty By Design: Fashioning the Renaissance’ held at the
Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2014/15 showed fashion garments created
by contemporary designers, inspired by old master paintings from the National
Galleries of Scotland collection. The designers, Mal Burkinshaw, Claire Ferguson and Sally Ann Provan, looked at Renaissance (1300–1700) portraits to see how ideas about fashion and beauty have changed over time, and created designs that remind us there is no one fixed definition of beauty.
Their aim was to challenge the current ‘thin ideal’ we see in the media, and
improve self-esteem by adopting a more diverse approach to fashion design.
Pupils are invited to use the interactive to respond to a design brief
and create their own original garments, as the three designers did. Pupils are encouraged to investigate images from the National Galleries of Scotland collection, including historical and contemporary works, and compare them in terms of fashion and beauty.