It being that special something that triggers a memory, an emotion, or a connection. Inspiration works much the same way; it can come from anywhere, but it can’t be manufactured. It must be discovered.

When making collections, designers often turn to art, film, and literature as jumping-off points. Fairy tales, for example, have informed fashion shoots, some of which are collected in Vogue: Fantasy & Fashion. But Little Red Riding Hood, renegade princesses, and latter-day Joan of Arcs aren’t only to be found on the magazine’s glossy pages. Season after season, the runway is populated with Dickens heroines and royals, as well as more outré imaginings, like femme fleurs and mystical creatures.

What’s the point of these fantasies, some more viable as “real” clothes than others? Fantasy offers possibilities and sparks the imagination, which has no limits. Here, some flights of fancy from the Vogue Runway archive. Dream on.


Queen for a Day

Knights in Shining Armor

Forest Fantasies

Mysterious Strangers

Sisters of Mercy

The Decameron Dames

Warrior Women

Femme Fleurs

Pomp and Circumstance

Dickens Characters

Degas Dancers

Dress-Up Dolls



Mighty Roses

Riding Hood


Toy Soldiers


Rebel Princesses

The Future Is Female

A Flight of Fancy