November 29, 2014

Lampshade Dressing

Paul Poiret and Valentino

Paul Poiret’s 1913 costumes for Le Minaret were followed soon after with similar versions available for his avant-garde patrons looking to shock in Orientalist ensembles. Poiret’s translation of harem-style dressing for the Parisian set resulted in a stiffened, oversized tunic paired atop his columnar hobble ...

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October 24, 2014

Banana Dance

Josephine Baker and Miley

A pioneer for African American women, Josephine Baker is commonly associated with her seductive banana dance performance at the Folies Bergère, costumed in a skimpy skirt constructed with a string of artificial bananas. Miley Cyrus would follow suit in a banana skirt lookalike, sporting the provocative ensemble almost a ...

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August 20, 2014

Rise to the Challenge

Stephen Jones and Matt Lauer

The oeuvre of milliner extraordinaire Stephen Jones contains hats both wearable and conceptual. His 1993 acrylic headpiece, cleverly titled “wash ‘n’ go,” simulates the look of splashed water atop the wearer’s head. Charity, not fashion, is the reason many celebrities are partaking in the wash ...

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August 6, 2014

Take Note

Elsa Schiaparelli and Valentino

Iconoclast designer Elsa Schiaparelli is most remembered for infusing a sense of wit and irony into her designs through surreal touches. Schiaparelli’s Fall 1939 music-themed collection celebrated music, quite literally, with drum-shaped button closures, embroidered musical notes and music boxes designed into belts and ...

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May 26, 2014

Cat’s Out of the Bag

Tokio Kumagaï and Charlotte Olympia

Before launching his own collection in 1981, Japanese-born Tokio Kumagaï attended the Bunka College of Fashion (where Kenzo and Issey Miyake would also matriculate) and soon after began designing footwear for Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre d’Alby. For his eponymous label, Kumagaï went beyond the expected, ...

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May 11, 2014

Cross Check

Christian Lacroix and Urban Outfitters

Peter Lindbergh’s 1988 November cover for Vogue Magazine (also Anna Wintour’s debut cover) featured a black jacket by Christian Lacroix, encrusted with a Byzantian-like bejeweled cross. The couture jacket, provocatively styled with a pair of the model’s own acid wash jeans–the model being Israeli ...

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March 22, 2014

A Good Sport

Geoffrey Beene and Tom Ford

With a design philosophy that flouted trends in favor of his own whimsy, Geoffrey Beene marched to his own fashion drum. Lauded for his expert construction and skillful seams, his pieces were not without a touch of the unexpected. In the vein of Chanel and Patou, Beene would employ a simple jersey in the design of an ...

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January 21, 2014

An Arm and A Leg

YSL and Jean Charles de Castelbajac

A year after Yves Saint Laurent debuted his Mondrian-inspired shift dresses, the designer continued his appropriation of art into fashion with his Fall/Winter 1966-67 “Pop Art” dresses. This crop of dresses featured fragmented silhouettes of the female figure printed atop columnar shaped gowns, perhaps ...

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January 5, 2014

Hats Off

Cristobal Balenciaga and Nicolas Ghesquiere

A year before the designer’s final collection, Cristóbal Balenciaga introduced his single-seam wedding dress in 1967. Balenciaga would take cues from the period’s affinity for futuristic cuts and tech fabrics, and in this case, reappropriated them into the unlikeliest of places, the traditional white wedding ...

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January 1, 2014

Face to Face

12.31 Elsa Schiaparelli and Miu Miu

A contemporary of Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau, Elsa Schiaparelli’s transgressive designs were often inspired by the surrealists.  A violet, satin evening coat was the result of Schiaparelli’s collaboration with Jean Cocteau in 1937 and was almost certainly the inspiration for a jacket seen on Miu Miu’s ...

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