I can’t even contain how excited I have been over the re-emergence of the Vionnet fashion house and clothing line after a production break of over 60 years.
Photo c/o Amazon.com from Bettye Kirke’s amazing survey of Madeleine Vionnet’s work.
As a sewing and design enthusiast who has been tweaking patterns for almost two decades, I still stand in awe and amazement at the achievements and impact of this talented designer who generally insisted that she was ‘just a dressmaker’ – although, in her later years she was a touch less modest about her accomplishments.
Madeleine Vionnet introduced the fashion world to the Bias Cut in the 1920′s – and fashion has truly never been the same. The liquidity and movement that fabric achieves when cut on the bias angle has particular design and sewing challenges; but the results of an expertly produced bias garment are visually stunning garments that move with the body, disguise figure flaws, and exude sensuality. In addition, many of the styles that came out of this technique still feel wearable and fresh today; not a small feat. 1920′s to 1940′s Hollywood glamour as well as many modern designers, owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Madeleine Vionnet’s ‘simple dressmaking’.
So, does this second 2010 Vionnet collection live up to it’s rather prestigious roots? For the most part, yes. Perhaps the main thing the new House of Vionnet needs to keep in mind is the challenge of how to keep true to the Vionnet roots while producing styles with a modern sensibility that will integrate into modern women’s lives and wardrobes.
The clothing presented (originally shown on mannequins) for Spring 2010 have all of the basics one would expect of a modern collection that (logically) must incorporate the bias and draping techniques introduced by it’s founder if they expect to be known as the House of Vionnet.
But, while fresh, the offerings do not feel completely new. Others designers such as Issey Miyake have been traveling this path in Vionnet’s absence, using bias and draping techniques with a completely modern flair for some time now.
While this collection is modern and it’s roots in Madeleine Vionnet’s original works are apparent, it seems the new Vionnet (led by Rodolfo Paglialunga) is still finding it’s identity – one that is not wholly Madeleine’s, but neither owing anything to the many other talented designers who have advanced the craft of bias and draping in the Vionnet house’s absence. I look forward to watching this process occur.
As for what many of you are really waiting to see more about, the shoes? They were feminine, embellished, and full of all the glamour I normally associate with Hollywood’s golden age and the sensual romance of Vionnet’s film designs.
No news yet on just how painful to the pocketbook Vionnet’s shoes will be priced, or where they will be retailed.
And yes, I would love to have one of those draped tulip skirts (and obviously, that royal blue dress it to die for).