Bill Blass (1922 – 2001) began his career as a designer f in the 1960s before establishing his own label in 1970. His early preference for bold stripes, checks, and plaids in allover patterns carried through his career in the 1990s. The varied scale of soft Pink and White Gingham silk shantung in this ensemble from the latter period adds dimension to its asymmetrical shape. The color and pattern combined with the apron-like silhouette present an idyllic image of motherhood.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the Exhibit In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.
Designer Claudia Li’s autumn/winter 2020 collection, entitled 3.16.19, is a tribute to her grandfather, who passed away in 2019. The designs in the collection reflect Li’s memories of him, the imprint of their experiences together in China, and the creative ability passed through generations.
Chloe is a French fashion house founded in 1952 by the Jewish Egyptian immigrant Gaby Aghion, who had a vision to offer luxury ready-to-wear. Karl Lagerfeld began designing for Chloe in 1966, and his creations from the 1970s were extremely influential.
Lagerfeld returned as creative director of Chloe in 1992, and was followed in due course by Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, and Natacha Ramsey-Levi.
This Black and Gold embroidered Tulle and Silk Chiffon Evening Ensemble was part of Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe’s Fall/Winter 1993 – 1994 Collection. Photographed as part of the exhibit, Paris: Capital of Fashion at the Museum art FIT in Manhattan.
“When I think about pinafores and jumpers and compromised purity, it’s actually quite punk. Go further back and it’s all about mod and Twiggy and dolly birds and thousands of school girls like me pouring over magazines, reading articles from the front lines of pop culture.”
Throughout her career, Anna Sui has summoned the youthful spirit of the school girl but was an edge, embracing the complexity of teen-hood. For the fall 1994 Schoolgirl collection, Sui focused on Yves Saint Laurent‘s most iconic designs, which she reinterpreted in high-tech sportswear materials.fall 1994 Schoolgirl collection, Sui focused on Yves Saint Laurent‘s most iconic designs, which she reinterpreted in high-tech sportswear materials.
Saint Laurent was also a superb colorist, as reflected in the collection’s use of bold colors. The sportswear sensibility extended to a series of outfits inspired by cheerleader uniforms, many of which Sui accessorized with pom-pom hats by James Coviello.
Jacket Front and Back Detail
Schoolgirl Collection Installation View: Cheerleader Ensemble (far right) worn with plastic/wool pom-pom hat by James Coviello for Anna Sui; Plastic belt, two necklaces, and bracelets by Erickson Beamon for Anna Sui; fishnet nylon hose and acetate/satin-covered domestic cowhide short boots by Emma Hope for Anna Sui.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.
“I think that, with hindsight, this may have been a moment in my career where my own past and present truly came together, more so that with other collections, which, however much I cherished them, were a carefully stitched-together tapestry of obsessively researched elements. My Grunge collection was more ‘felt’ than it was thought.”
The 1993 Grunge collection secured Anna Sui’s place in the history of fashion. She saw Seattle’s grunge music scene as the major force in the youth culture of that period, and used the layering and mixing typical of its style to great effect, riffing on the youthful sincerity of the movement to produce some of the most influential looks of the nineties.
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble, Detail: Polyester and Cotton Tank and Leggings with Totton Kilt and Shorts
Grunge style sprang out of a Seattle subculture in which a new wave of musicians, including Nirvana fronted by Kurt Cobain, sported a “thrift store” style of dressing that seemed to mirror their novel sound. This “un-fashion” style chimed with the decade’s rejection of the excesses of the 1980s and quickly went from subculture to mass culture. Marc Jacobs, working for Perry Ellis at the time, glamorized this style to create a grunge collect for Sping 1993. Sui’s references to grunge in her own collection, in contrast, are colored with optimism and a “hippie” sensibility. The outfit seen here features a kilt, widely associated with grunge, as well as a flower belt more reminiscent of the sixties or seventies
Lunchbox by Designs from the Deep, Cowhide/Rubber Boots by John Fluevog for Anna Sui
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble (Spring 1993) Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design