John Paul Gaultier was among the createurs who helped make French fashion so exciting in the 1980s. The way he played with conventions of sex and gender, in particular, has had a profound influence on fashion. For example, rather than using coresetry to reinforce conventional ideals of beauty, Gaultier has always emphasized that many body types, genders and ages can be attractive. This Orange Shirred Velvet Corset Dress, featuring Gaultier’s signature cone bra top (made famous by Madonna) is from his 1984 Fall collection.
The Nazi occupation of Paris lasted from June 14, 1940 to August 25, 1944. The Nazi authorities initially planned to move the entire Paris fashion industry to the German Reich. Lucian Lelong, then head of the Chambre Syndicale, convinced them that the haute couture could only exist, “in Paris or . . . not at all.” Among those who could legally purchase Paris couture during the Occupation were some 20,000 French women (who had special couture ration cards) about 200 Germans, and citizens of neutral countries, such as Spain and Switzerland.
Jeanne-Marie Lanvin was a French haute couture fashion designer, who founded the Lanvin fashion house and the beauty and perfume company Lanvin Parfums. She designed this gray, black and gold Brocade Evening Coat in 1943.
Photographed as Part of The Exhibit, Paris, Capital of Fashion, On View at The Museum at FIT in Manhattan Through January 4th, 2020.
Fall weather is slowly creeping into NYC, which means fashionable ladies are thinking about layering-up, integrating heavier fabrics into their wardrobes, and maybe adding a tartan plaid to a traditionally muted seasonal color palette. From the look of it alone, one might assume that this voluminous design by designer Rei Kawakubo is from a fall line, but you would be mistaken. It was Kawakubo’s collection from Spring 2017 that featured enormous garments that engulf the body, such as this geometric Tartan Dress for her label, Comme de Garcons. Her designs have typically embraced abstraction and, more recently, a non-functional style. Since 2014, the designer’s collections have consisted of garments that bridge the gap between art and fashion, moving into uncharted territory.
Even if you weren’t watching the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards at the time of its broadcast, everyone remembers at least hearing aboutLady Gaga’s controversial dress made of raw beef, which was commonly referred to by the media as The Meat Dress, by designer Franc Fernandez. That dress was one-of-a-kind, but did you know that another designer, Jeremy Scott, made an entire line of meat inspired couture? Yes, it’s true. This form-flattering dress — with it’s jewel neckline and elbow-length sleeves — comes from Scott’s Spring / Summer 2011 collection and appears to be fashioned from prosciutto, but it’s actually just pink and white printed latex. I love it.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Camp: Notes on Fashion at the Met, Which Closed on September 8th, 2019.
Garments such as this A-line Baby Ruth Paper Dress (circa 1968) by Mars of Ashville (marketed under the name Wastebasket Boutique) became popular marketing tools for brands during the 1960s. The work of Pop artists like Andy Warhol was similarly turning everyday products into works of art. “Paper is the clue to the future,” declared Women’s Wear Daily in 1966.
Installation View with Michael Mott Target Minidress (1968)
See more examples of paper dresses from the sixties Here and Here!
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Minimalism/Maximalism, On View at the Museum at FIT Through November 16th, 2019.
Exaggerated proportions and visual intricacy define this maximalist ensemble by Comme des Garçons. The elaborate coat and bodysuit, in various fabrics including cotton, wool, nylon, polyester and linen — and in assorted shades of pink, red and white, are part of the Spring 2018Multidimensional Graffiti collection, which appropriated the works 10 artists ranging from the 16th century to today.
Shown Here in Contrast to a Minimalist Design By Narciso Rodriguez (Left)
According to Women’s Wear Daily, the result was a mash-up of prints and textures that allied to “the possibilities inherent when wildly unlike visual perspective coexist.”
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Minimalism / Maximalism at the Museum at FIT in Manhattan Through November 16, 2019.
I saw this fabulous Pink Metallic Mesh Dress in a shop on Greene Street in SoHo when I was party-hopping during the Open Showrooms evening that closes out the two-week long NYCxDesign event.
Here’s a detail shot of the mesh that I managed to get, even though at this point I was already too tipsy to remember to note the name of the store I was in. Oops.
The camera roll on my phone tells me that pictures of the dress were taken at 31 1/2 Greene Street, but I looked up that address and I am pretty sure it was south of that exact location. It sure is a great-looking dress. I would wear it.
Update 10/19/19: The store is called The Webster and it’s located at 29 Greene Street!
By the 20th century, wool suits and coats were indispensable, practical elements of fashionable daywear for women. Double-faced wool, used here by designer Mila Schön for her Blue Coat (1968) is woven almost as two separate textiles, joined by a set of interwoven yarns, creating a thick, structural, spongy fabric.
The textile’s density supports this A-line silhouette, while the wool’s pliability eases the inset of Pop Art circles. The hems were self-finished by opening the layers and stitching the edges to the inside.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Fabric in Fashion, on View Through May 4th, 2019 at The Museum at FIT in Manhattan.
Kei Kagami is a Japanese architect and designer living in London whose conceptual, avant-garde designs have been referred to as Torture Couture for their integration of mechanical elements and contraptions. What’s closer to the truth is that they are, like the haute couture of a designer like Alexander McQueen, wearable works of art.
Anatomy, biology, ecology and futurism combine in his more surreal designs in which glass tubes, vials and magnifying glasses are used to break the traditional boundaries and tackle themes of transformation, and a garment’s interaction with the wearer. Using an eclectic mix of materials such as silk, lether, metaol, plastic an glass, Kagami’s conceptual pieces are always informed by his study of architecture.
The Anatomy1 Ensemble (2007) was originally featured in the Museum at FIT’s 2008 show, Gothic: Dark Glamour, but it can also currently be seen as part of Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT, on view through April 20th, 2019.