It may be difficult to discern in the dim museum lighting, but the front of this bright Pink Dress features the scene of a rocket launch, and was created in 1968 by American graphic artist Harry Gordon at the height of the international space race.
An identical rocket image adorns the dress’ back. This and other screen-printed paper dress designs by Gordon were manufactured by UK-based company Poster Dress, Ltd. Selling for about $3.00 each and fabricated from tissue, wood pulp and rayon mesh, the dress came with the proclamation: ‘Toughness is woven into the non-woven fabric for long, l-o-n-g wear, and should you tire (which is doubtful), just cut open all the seams and hang it on your wall as a mammoth poster.’
Among the most popular types of evening wear during the 1920s were loose, sleek, chemise-style dance dresses with sleeveless armholes and wide-cut necklines, which could be pulled directly over the head.
Profuse embellishment, often consisting of glass and metal components that would capture and refract light when in motion, counterbalances the minimalism of form. This 1920s Evening Dress by an unknown, possibly French or American designer, is made from a yellow cotton plain weave embroidered with gold metal paillettes, gold glass bugle beads, clear glass beads and seed beads, and clear glass crystals. These extravagant fashions were devised to glimmer within modern environments newly illuminated by electricity. They also mirror artistic tendencies at the time, such as the Art Deco attributes of geometric lines and shapes, contrasting metallic tones, and an overall streamlined modernity in form.
Photographed as part of the Exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, which closed in early 2020, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
New York’s Museum of Natural History always has one or two special exhibits that require purchase of an extra ticket above the standard price of admission, but that’s because they are worth it. One of the museum’s current special exhibits is called The Nature of Color, and it is just fantastic. The exhibit is immersive and contains many different galleries and rooms. For example, the Red Room highlights how the color red can mean status, power, and fertility while simultaneously representing sports teams, political parties, and religions. The centerpiece of this room is a flowing Red Silk Chiffon and Organza Gown created especially for the The Nature of Color by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell.
Technically, a parabola is a symmetrically mirrored U-shape. Pierre Cardin began working with the parabola in the 1950s, particularly in the 1957 Lasso collection. With the introduction of stretch fabrics and hoops in the 1960s, those sweeping, graceful parabolic drapes became amplified, evolving into ellipses and cones.
Some of Cardin’s “Parabolic” fashions collapse flat, are easily packed, and emerge as before — like his earlier Cardine dresses, which could be twisted, rolled and stowed effortlessly into luggage. Developed alongside Cardin’s investigations into furniture sculpture, the big, sculptural shapes of the Parabolic dresses were likewise designed to be seen in 360 degrees. And since they were made of stretch fabric, they had a bounce reminiscent of his “Kinetic” dresses from 1972.
Referencing his earlier “Lasso” or “Eye of the Needle” designs done in wool and mohair, in 1990s’ Parabolic Evening Gown, Cardin creates the shape as a pink and green silk parabola.
At the end of the 1920s, the prior emphasis on lavish surface embellishment transferred to printed textiles, which were fashioned into a variety of romantic permutations. The elegant ombre-dyed silk chiffon of this evening dress was likely created for Gabrielle Chanel at her own Tissus Chanel factory in Asnières-sur-Seine, France. The delicate manipulation of the textile in this Floral Appliquéd Evening Dress (spring/summer 1935) is evidence of the superior capabilities of the Chanel couture workrooms
The gown’s bias-cut fabric drapes and clings to the figure, gathering into delicately ruched straps at the shoulders and swelling into soft folds around the hem. Individual picot-edged florets are backed with net to create volume and strategically appliquéd throughout the garment to further enhance the printed motifs, resulting in tactile bouquets that gently flutter when the wearer moves.
Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
To create the look of the Zebra Punk Party Dress (which was part of her Spring 2007 Punk collection), Anna Sui combined ripped mesh leggings and armlets, references to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Mclaren’s punk fashions of the mid-to-late 1970s. The monochrome zebra print recalls the strict dress color code of the New York clubs that Sui frequented in her youth, such as Max’s Kansas City and CBGB.
Zebra Punk Party Dress is made from Silk chiffon with a nylon petticoat, leggings and sleeves; worn with brass/glass/plastic bracelet by Erickson Beamon for Anna Sui; cowhide boots by Ballin for Anna Sui.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.
Christian Dior’s “New Look” was central to the postwar revival of the Paris couture system. In addition to selling individual couture dresses to private clients, Dior also sold licensed copies, like this one of his Columbine dress, which was produced in the US for American department stores. The number of such high-end reproductions was limited, but there were also mass-produced garments that catered to the desire for at least “a copy of a copy of a Dior.”
The Dress Pictured Here is a Licensed Copy of Dior’s Columbine Dress by I. Magnin and Lord & Taylor circa 1947. Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Paris, Capital of Fashion at the Museum at FIT in Manhattan.