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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December 24, 2013

McQueen Antoinette

Alexander McQueen and Victoria's Secret

To fête the release the Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette in 2006, Vogue enlisted Annie Leibovitz for an 18th-century-themed editorial starring Kirsten Dunst as the Dauphine. Photographed nowhere else but Versailles, Dunst is resplendent in designer interpretations of rococo fashions, descending the stairs of a ...

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October 30, 2013

Snail Mail

10.30  Harry Richman and YSL 2

Soon after Yves Saint Laurent’s death in 2008, his eponymous label would launch a collection of leather goods to commemorate the late designer. The postage-like script featuring the address of the couturier belonged to Mr. Saint Laurent himself, taken from a letter he had written. The trompe-l’oeil design may ...

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October 22, 2013

Dragon Robe

Imperial Dragon Robe and Laurence Hsu

China’s Qing Dynasty would mandate several sumptuary laws, establishing yellow as the dedicated color for the dragon throne: its emperor and court officials. Emperors of the Qing Dynasty would dress in elaborately embroidered golden robes commonly known as Dragon Robes; silk robes which featured horse-hoofed sleeves, ...

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October 15, 2013

Ruff Idea

Queen Elizabeth and Thom Browne

As the uni-sex ruff became an increasingly pervasive component of Renaissance dress, women made an alteration to the demure neckpiece creating the open ruff as an alternative that showcased the woman’s bust. For Thom Browne’s SS 2014 collection, the designer would reappropriate several elements ...

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October 10, 2013

Stay Put

18th-century Stay and Meadham Kirchhoff

A “stay” was the word of choice for the understructure later referred to as a corset in the 19th-century. Today, the corset conjures up notions of tight-laced, wasp-waisted hourglass figures, however, the stay of the 18th-century was intended to lift the breasts and straighten the back rather than nip in the ...

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October 4, 2013

Chering is Caring

Bob Mackie and Marc Jacobs

Costumer turned ready to wear designer Bob Mackie is responsible for several of history’s most unforgettable gowns. Remembered for his cheeky curtain rod gown made famous by Carol Burnett in her Gone with the Wind spoof and Cher’s 1986 Oscar ensemble, Mackie’s designs are not for the faint of heart. With ...

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September 30, 2013

Victoriana

Victorion Gown and Marc Jacobs

When it comes to Victorian design, less was not more but rather quite the opposite. Fashion design, textiles, and decorative arts of the period followed a busy, multi-media-like aesthetic that reflected the era’s booming and increasingly industrialized society. The more is more philosophy was also employed by Marc Jacobs ...

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September 18, 2013

The Fine Print

9.17 Paul Poiret and Marc Jacobs

A patron of the arts in addition to an artist himself, Paul Poiret worked alongside some of the era’s foremost textile and graphic designers. Poiret’s most significant and enduring creative relationship was with textile designer Raoul Dufy, an artist whose career owes much to Poiret. Dufy’s art deco ...

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