There are two lovely examples of how Western designers incorporated calligraphy into their fashions. Both Christian Dior and Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel used Chinese characters as textile patterns. The dress on the left feels breezy with a lot of white space between the characters; the dress on the right uses the characters in a more dense way filling up most of the fabric's surface.
Interestingly, it seems that Dior was unaware of the the semantic value of the words on his dress. As the exhibition's page highlights, this "has resulted in a surprising and humorous juxtaposition. The dress is adorned with characters from an eighth-century letter by Zhang Xu in which the author complains about a painful stomach ache."
Check out other blogs about "China: Through the Looking Glass":
Blog 1 - Guo Pei: Couture from Beijing in New York City
Blog 2 - Warrior Culture in Fashions at "China: Through the Looking Glass"
Blog 3 - Dreaming of Chinese Blue-and-White Porcelain at the Metropolitan Museum of Art