Make a splash like Hockney

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The colourful artist is known for his snappy style in  the 1960s of dressing, and it’s a look that still works today. Lee Holmes leads a lesson in art appreciation

Cast your mind back, if you will, to the heady days of the heatwave, when outdoor pools and lidos were filled to bursting with sweltering city dwellers desperate to cool off.

Like the proverbial sardines in a tin, space was at a premium; all these bathers could ever hope to do was bounce and splash off each other. And this, to the poolside observer, looked like a congested, hellish version of David Hockney’s signature LA painting, A Bigger Splash. What would be far easier, and much more civilised, would be to take inspiration from this titan of painting’s snappy style of  dressing instead.

If you’re a colour devotee then the Hockney of the 1960s should be your sartorial hero: he was as fond of vivid colour in his wardrobe as he was in his art. Without doubt, he was one of Pop Art’s most brightly dressed fops, looking to  all the world as though he’d  just stepped out of one of his  Californian paintings.

Stripes should be your pattern of choice with the traditional Bengal stripe shirt taking pride of place. And while colour blocking should become second nature to you, be careful of seeming too flamboyant; remember that it was Hockney’s attention to detail that stopped him from looking contrived. A bashed-up white plimsoll, or a well worn tailored jacket put paid to any notion of pretentiousness. Copying his large round eyeglasses or bleached blond Warholian moptop, are of course, entirely optional.

Hockney’s personal style has even influenced designers, in particular Christopher Bailey of Burberry Prorsum, whose  collection for next summer uses the painter as a muse, proving that he is truly a man for all seasons. In fact, the artist’s dress sense and panache have been replicated so often, it would be no surprise if he eventually  designs a collection himself.

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