Tag Archive | Eye on Design

Eye On Design: Thierry Mugler, Madonna Evening Ensemble

Thierry Mugler Madonna Evening Ensemble
All Photos By Gail

This ensemble by Thierry Mugler, entitled Madonna, served as the finale to his tenth-anniversary collection, which was staged at Le Zenith, and indoor in Paris. The model Pat Cleveland wore it as she was lowered from the ceiling of the auditorium in a cloud of dry ice, as if descending from heaven.

Madonna Evening Ensemble Installation View

Its placement this area —  a museum passage archway  — emphasizes links to ascension, and particularly the dogma of the Assumption of Mary, which asserts that her body and soul were assumed into heaven’s glory as her life’s end.

Thierry Mugler Madonna Evening Ensemble

The color of the dress refers to another dogma: the Immaculate Conception, or the belief that the Virgin Mary was born free from the stain of original sin. In artistic representations, (especially after 1854, when Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma), she often wears a white tunic with a blue mantle.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, On View Through October 8th, 2018 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (at both the Fifth Avenue and Cloisters Locations) in NYC.

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Eye On Design: Ziggurat Black Stripes Storage Boxes By Oeuffice

Ziggurat Black Stripes Storage Boxes
Photo By Gail

The research laboratory called Oeuffice was estalished by Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte and Jakub Zak to develop innovative objects in limited editions. The designers met in Milan after studying in their native Canada and attending university in Berlin. Like Ettore Sottsass, they share a vision of a contemporary utopia in which they refashion architectural design on a domestic scale. The Ziggurat, an iconic architectural form that Sottsass revered, provided inspiration for this stack of Wooden Storage Boxes inlaid with acrylic and solid stained wood (2012). The ziggurat’s form and masterful wood inlays originate in the Near East and were executed by Lebanese artists specialized in the technique.

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.

Eye On Design: Obi Kimono Style Wrap Dress By Norman Norell

Kimono Style Wrap Dress
Photos By Gail

Unlike many 20th-century fashion designers, Norman Norell rarely sought inspiration from non-western or exotic cultures. Norell’s Obi dresses (circa 1965) were a rare exception. Named after the wide belt used to secure and ornament a Japanese Kimono, the wrap-wtyle Obi Dresses were constructed with a built-in panel of fabric that encased the upper torso using a hook and eye closure.This interior garment allowed the outer wrap layer to glide smoothly over the body.

Kimono Style Wrap Dress

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Norell: Dean of American Fashion, at the Museum at FIT.

Eye On Design: Skull Cap By Sol LeWitt

Skull Cap By Sol Lewitt
Photos By Gail

A pioneer of Minimal and Conceptual art, Sol LeWitt (19282007) is known for large-scale, geometric wall drawings, often using bold stripes of pure color to create rhythmic optical patterns. In 2001, he conceived the doors of a Torah ark for Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester, Connecticut, with the design of a six-pointed star within a circle.  The pattern was later repeated on this leather Skull Cap. The translation of LeWitt’s signature Minimalist style into a multicolored item of Judaica is at once cheerful and graphically striking.

Photographed in the Jewish Museum in NYC.

Skull Cap By Sol Lewitt

Eye On Design: Gown for Leslie Jones Designed By Christian Siriano

Christian Siriano Red Dress
All Photos By Gail

Christian Siriano designed this dress for actress Leslie Jones to wear to a film premiere. Jones had tweeted that due to her physique, no fashion designer was willing to dress her for red carpet events. Siriano responded to her, saying he would be proud to design a dress for her.

Leslie Jones In Red Dress

The result was this stunning Red Silk Crepe Faille floor-length gown that she wore to the 2016 premiere of Ghostbusters, and Jones looks fantastic in it. This situation sparked a public debate about the marginalization of certain body types by contemporary brands.

Christian Siriano Red Dress

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit The Body: Fashion and Physique, On View at the Museum at FIT Through May 5th, 2018.

Eye On Design: Norman Norell’s Mermaid Dresses

Mermaid Dresses
All Photos By Gail

Aptly called the Mermaid, Norman Norell’s shimmering, sequin-covered evening gown is arguably his most recognizable creation. Like many designers, he was influenced by Hollywood costumes, especially those created during the Golden Age. In fact, Norell began his career working for both Brooks Costume Company and Paramount Pictures during the 1920s. It is not surprising that he was one of the most successful at incorporating silver screen glamour in his luxurious, ready-to-wear evening garments, especially his Mermaid gowns.

Silver Blue 1972 Dark Purple 1965
Silver Blue Evening Gown (1972); Dark Purple Long Sleeve Evening Dress (1965)

What made Norell’s Mermaids so successful was his ability to strike the perfect balance of physical comfort and visual impact. Most often, he made the gowns using a base of knitted silk jersey. The base was then covered with a dazzling pavé of hand-applied sequins that were dyed repeatedly to match the jersey. Each of the tiny, reflective discs was sewn on with its on unique stitch pattern, allowing the sequins to shift and move independently. The result was a garment that reflected the maximum amount of light

Forest Green Evening Dress 1972
Forest Green Evening Dress (1972)

Photographed as part of the Exhibit, Norell: Dean of American Fashion, on View Through April 14th, 2018 at the Musuem at FIT in Manhattan.

Eye On Design: Current Chair By Vivian Beer

Current Chair By Vivian Beer
All Photos By Gail

The dynamic, curvilinear design of the Current Chair (2004) by Vivian Beer seems to defy the strength and hardness of the steel from which it is made. Historically, few women have worked in metal other than to fashion jewelry, and fewer still have made metal furniture.

Current Chair By Vivian Beer

About her innovative design Beer remarked, “I wanted this chair to seem as if it had been cut and crushed out of a single sheet of metal. At the same time, I wanted it to feel as fast and clean as water its silhouette . . .The balance and the trickery are important.” The chair’s title suggests that the artist’s choice of  the color blue alludes to swiftly moving water.

Current Chair By Vivian Beer

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.