Women's Month special: Top 5 artists according to Laia Aguilar


3 minute read

Black and white photo showing a woman sitting in a chair with a paintbrush, painting.

Words by The Animals Observatory | Mar 8, 2024

Today, March 8 a.k.a. International Women's Day, Laia Aguilar, Creative Director at The Animals Observatory, wishes to make her own contribution by letting us enjoy the work of the 5 women artists that inspire her. Beyond being historically regarded as muses, women are creators of art, indeed, Laia herself is our closest example. Nevertheless, let us discover her own references.

Sonia Delaunay

(1885 – 1979) Known for founding the Orphism art movement, famed for its use of strong colors and geometrical shapes, Sonia Delaunay was a Russian-French artist that was also part of the School of Paris (École de Paris) artists. Beyond abstract art, her disciplines also cover fashion, textile, and set design.

Moreover, she is noted for being the first living woman artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre, in 1964. Sonia Delaunay's artistic oeuvre includes an integrated vision of furniture, textiles, wall coverings and clothing. Some of her most notable pieces were part of Laia Aguilar's set of sources of inspiration for the Spring-Summer 2024 collection.

In the image, we can see a woman next to a painting.
In the image, we can see a picture with 3 women.
In the image, we can see a painting with different shapes and colors.

Sonia Delaunay and her artworks, Simultaneous Dresses (The three women, 1925), Abstract Diagonal Composition no. 1733 (1925), Rythme (1938)

Jane Birkin

(1946 – 2023) Less than a year from her departure, Jane Birkin was the voice of the French song Je t'aime... moi non plus, which she performed along with Serge Gainsbourg. However, Birkin also had a notable career as an actress, especially in French cinema, although she was born and raised in the United Kingdom. Her most prolific films include Blowup, La piscine, and Kaleidoscope among many others.

Last but not least, the British-French actress was also a fashion icon that inspired no more and no less than the Birkin Bag by Hermès. According to Jean-Louis Dumas, chief executive of the French luxury design house at that time, it was her carrying her iconic straw basket bag everywhere that inspired him to create a bag that could fit her lifestyle. Her distinguished styles also played a part on SS24 inspirations.

Black and white photo featuring a woman sitting in a chair.
Black and white photo showing a girl next to the sea.

Jane Birkin by Reg Burkett (1968), Keystone/Getty Images

Etel Adnan

(1925 - 2021) What we call a multidisciplinary artist, Etel Adnan was a remarkable Lebanese-American visual artist, poet and essayist. Considered one of the most influential Arab-American authors of the contemporary era, she also experimented with many different visual media, including oil paintings, films, and tapestries. Adnan wrote her literary works in English, Arabic and French. Her numerous awards include the Californian Book Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Lambda Literary Award.

Her visual work, which is part of the Hurufiyya aesthetic movement, has been exhibited worldwide in spaces like the SFMOMA, the MUDAM, The Guggenheim Museum NY, and many more prominent galleries.

In the image, we can see the living room of a house with various paintings.
In the image, we can see a woman painting.

Etel Adnan and her artworks by James Mollison

Charlotte Perriand

(1903 – 1999) The French architect and designer is considered one of the founders of modern architecture. Charlotte Perriand had quite a unique approach when designing, which was to understand the furniture of the modern house as functional artifacts linked to the domestic structure, instead of autonomous and artistic objects. She also worked at Le Corbusier's studio as Head of furniture and interiors. Her most notable works have been exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the MoMA, and the Centre Pompidou.

Black and white photo showing a woman architect.

Charlotte Perriand by Robert Duano (1991)

Valentine Schlegel

(1925 – 16 May 2021) Considered a modernist organic abstract artist, Valentine Schlegel was a French sculptor and ceramist, who also worked as a costume designer, stage manager and props specialist. Another multidisciplinary artist, whose prominent fireplace designs and decorative objects were exhibited at the Salon des Arts Ménagers and the Musée des Arts décoratifs, where she also founded the clay modeling department for workshops aimed at children and young art students.

It turns out that Laia Aguilar is not the only fashion artist who has found inspiration in Schlegel's work: Christian Dior's Spring-Summer haute couture runway also used her works as artistic references.

In the image, we can see a woman working.
In the image, we can see a figure with geometric shapes.

Valentine Schlegel by Agnès Varda (1955), Bottle with stopper (1945)

It is fair to say that many other women are not on this list, but they have also been an important inspiration for Laia Aguilar. For the time being, we hope you enjoy their work and continue to find inspiration in other women artists of all times.

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