Behind the Design Wittner X The NGV

Behind the Design Wittner X The NGV

Posted by Katie Byrne on 27th Apr 2017

In celebration of a partnership with The National Gallery of Victoria for Melbourne Winter Masterpieces 2017: Van Gogh and the Seasons, we have created a limited edition collection of wearable art inspired by the celebrated painter’s display of the seasons through colour, texture and design. Take 5 with our Product Manager Louise Patrick and go behind the design of this exciting collection…

Hi Lou! Tell us a bit about the Wittner Art of Style collection…
We’re so excited to be releasing a limited edition art-meets-fashion collection inspired by the four seasons, in celebration of our partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria for Melbourne Winter Masterpieces 2017: Van Gogh and the Seasons. Named ‘The Art Of Style,’ the collection consists of four shoe styles; wearable art that are an exploration of textures and colours, inspired by this amazing exhibition.

Which particular areas of Van Gogh’s work did you draw your inspiration from?
The seasons were immensely important to Van Gogh, representing many things to him like the circle of life being birth, bloom, maturity and death, with a huge focus on the greatness of nature’s impact on his life. In collaboration with the NGV, we selected four of Van Gogh’s paintings (which are in the exhibition) to base our collection around and draw inspiration from. This has resulted in 4 styles that each embody a season: spring, summer, autumn and then winter. Each style has either leaves or flowers adorning them representative of spring blooms, bountiful harvests, sun scorched summer wheat and snow-laden trees.

How did you approach designing this range?
There is a particular Van Gogh quote that struck me as the perfect starting point for the collection:

“Spring is the fresh green of young corn and the pink blush of blossoms. Autumn contrasts the yellowed foliage with violet hues. Winter is the white of snow against its black forms….Summer is the contrast of blues and the golden bronze of the corn.”

After being so inspired by this, it came about quite naturally to focus on four designs that represented each of the seasons. We began by laying these four images in front of us and sketching like crazy for 3 days straight!

Why do you think that art and style are so inextricably linked?
Our design team is fortunate enough to draw most of our inspiration from travel to some pretty incredible places. Instead of retail environments, we are gravitating towards galleries, monuments, furniture shops and antique markets to get inspired. I think art is so importantly linked to the ranges we design because it is raw inspiration, pure passion, movement and color, which hopefully results in a more unique product with a great story to tell behind it!

Your favourite shoe style from the collection?
“LENTE” which literally translates from Dutch to English as Spring. For me, this feminine style perfectly embodies the essence of new blooms, fresh foliage and one of my favourite Van Gogh paintings “Orchard in Blossom, Bordered by Cypresses” painted in 1888.What has been your Wittner career highlight so far?
I have been with the company for nearly 10 years now, and it has been an incredibly creative enriching journey so far. Wittner has a rich history being a family owned 105 year old Australian company, so it would have to be a limited edition capsule collection of shoes designed to celebrate our 100th birthday back in 2012! These special pieces each had 100 Swarovski crystals on them, and were on exhibit in Melbourne’s Block arcade during fashion week that year. That was definitely a project close to my heart, and something I feel privileged to be able to contribute to.


Vincent van Gogh, Dutch 1853–90
Trees and undergrowth July 1887 Paris
oil on canvas, 46.2 x 55.2 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh Foundation

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch 1853–90
Still life with wildflowers and carnations summer 1887 Paris
oil on canvas, 80.0 x 67.0 cm

Triton Foundation, the Netherlands
Vincent van Gogh Foundation

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch 1853–90
Roses and peonies June 1886 Paris
oil on canvas, 59.8 x 72.5 cm
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo (KM 109.371)
© Kröller-Müller Museum

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch 1853–90
Orchard bordered by cypresses April 1888 Arles
oil on canvas, 64.9 x 81.2 cm
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo (KM 108.685)
© Kröller-Müller Museum

The National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne Winter Masterpieces 2017: Van Gogh and the Seasons

Exhibition Dates: 28 April 2017 – 9 July 2017
Open: 10am – 5pm Daily
Tickets can be purchased online HERE or at the NGV ticket office: NGV International Ground Floor, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

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