September 12, 2013

Kinetic Potential

9.10 Jesús Rafael Soto and Carolina Herrera

For her SS 2014 collection, Carolina Herrera would imbue her looks with a sense of movement with prints and appliqués resembling mid-century op-art and kineticism. Looking to her native Venezuela, Herrera reappropriated the works of Venezuelan artists Jesús Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez, resulting in a collection ...

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August 15, 2013

The Imperial Crown

Emperor Xianfeng and Monika Sawicka

According to imperial dress codes under the Qing Dynasty, court officials and bureaucrats would don required red caps known as “Rites Hat.” Two styles of the hat were worn, the Nuan Mao and the Liang Mao, the former reserved for summer, consisting of a conically shaped red cap and the latter worn during winter ...

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August 14, 2013

Under Lock and (Piano) Key

Chanel and Moschino Cheap and Chic

Music is a frequent source of inspiration for designers and is often manifested quite literally through music notes, F-holes and piano keys. In 1985, Karl Lagerfeld looked to the monochromatic piano when designing a cocktail dress for Chanel which featured panels of black silk “piano keys” appliquéd onto a ...

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August 9, 2013

Moved to Tiers

Paul Poiret and Viktor and Rolf

A precursor to the contemporary crop of limited edition, collectable publications, La Gazette du Bon Ton, or the Journal of Good Taste, boasted hand-colored fashion plates and exclusive designer features at the steep annual subscription fee of 100 francs per year for the monthly publication. Along with the designs of ...

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July 26, 2013

Swan Lake

The Eiffel Tower by Erwin Blumenfeld, Paris Vogue 1939

In 2001, Icelandic artist Björk wore what has now become one of the most infamous red carpet dresses. Designed by Macedonian Marjan Pejoski, the frock referred to as the “swan dress,” was meant to symbolize fertility, a notion further reinforced by Björk as she left a trail of eggs down the red carpet. While most ...

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July 19, 2013

Nailed It

Elsa Schiaparelli and Commes des Garçon

A contemporary of Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau, Elsa Schiaparelli’s transgressive designs were often the result of a direct collaboration with the surrealists. Schiaparelli’s August 1936 collection, designed alongside  Salvador Dalí, featured suits with pockets that resembled miniature bureau drawers, ...

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July 12, 2013

Driving Shoes

Beth Levine and Prada

Foot-model cum shoe designer Beth Levine is considered one of the most influential footwear designers of the 20th century. Although her name is somewhat forgotten, Levine’s impact on fashion was immense, unlike her size-4 foot. Designing under her husband’s name, Herbert Levine, Beth’s designs were conceptual and ...

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July 9, 2013

Raise your Eyebrow

Elsa Schiaparelli and Ellen Christine Millinery

Iconoclast designer Elsa Schiaparelli is most remembered for infusing a sense of wit and irony into her designs. The House of Schiaparelli did not cease to exist during the occupation of Paris, however, during this period Schiaparelli herself was in New York and left the designing to her associates who remained in Paris. In ...

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July 8, 2013

Make A Point

Winklepicker and Underground

From 1300-1450, the Poulaine style shoe, which featured an exaggerated caricature-like point, was in vogue for nearly 150 years. The extreme tips were often stuffed with miscellaneous findings in order to maintain a shaped point, which extended far beyond the end of the wearer’s foot. The Poulaine shoe would fall ...

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July 1, 2013

Sour Grapes

Charles James and Vivienne Westwood

Patron to designer Charles James, heiress Millicent Rogers would often commission pieces by James, however, many of these pieces were more collaboration than commission as the socialite was known to request specific fabrics, colors and silhouettes from the master designer. In 1944, the two worked together to create an ...

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