Archive for February, 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Constructing Couture

John Galliano

John GallianoJohn Galliano

John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960) for Christian Dior Couture (French, founded 1947). “Creation” Ensemble, fall/winter 2005–6. Beige silk satin, white polyester batting, nude synthetic net, beige cotton braided laces, blue pieced silk with chenille, rhinestone, hammered silver metal, filé, and bead embroidery à la disposition; white leather; beige nylon, polyester batting, and silver metal and pearl hardware with knotted blue silk ribbons. Purchase, The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation Inc. Gift, 2006 (2006.22a–d)

“Creation” exemplifies John Galliano’s articulated interest in exploring, at the time of his fall/winter 2005–6 show, “the construction of haute couture.” Read more »

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Poetic Justice

British SlippersEuropean Shoes

Left: British Slippers, last quarter of the 18th century. Black leather. Gift of Charles Ryskamp, 2002 (2002.537.2a, b). Right: European Shoes, ca. 1750–60. Green silk satin with tarnished gilt floral embroidery. Purchase, Millia Davenport and Zipporah Fleisher Fund, Irene Lewisohn Trust, 2001 (2001.748a, b).

Quotidian fashions of the past, even if they were intended for the upper classes, rarely survive. With the exception of formal court attire, this is especially true of menswear, Read more »

Monday, February 25, 2008

Body Scan

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier (French, b. 1952). Dress, fall/winter 1995–96. Multicolored synthetic quilted knit with trompe l’oeil bikini. Anonymous Gift, 2006 (2006.557.1).

Jean Paul Gaultier’s 1995 collection “Femmes Amazone” was accessorized, according to Women’s Wear Daily, with “whips and sundry other Mad Max accessories.” Read more »

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pretty in Pink

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne WestwoodVivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood (British, b. 1941). “Propaganda” Dress, fall/winter 2005–6. Lilac silk faille. Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2006 (2006.197).

Vivienne Westwood, arguably the most influential British fashion designer of the twentieth century, revels in incendiary provocation and a defiance of convention but nonetheless finds beauty and inspiration in the past. Read more »

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tight Curves

Tight Curves

Tight Curves

Azzedine Alaïa (French, b.  Tunisia, 1940). Dress, fall/winter 1986-87. Light green rayon knit. Millia Davenport and Zipporah Fleisher Fund, 2007 (2007.82).

Azzedine Alaïa is a designer enamored of the challenges inherent in the transformation of the two-dimensional textile into the sculptural three-dimensional garment. Read more »

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Après Ski

Après Ski

Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Germany, 1938) for Chanel (French, founded 1913). Boots, fall/winter 1993–94. White quilted nylon, black rubber with white inset lettering, black vinyl, black braided nylon and gilt chain ties, and black synthetic faux fur trim. Purchase, The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation Inc. Gift, 2007 (2007.17a, b).

By the 1980s, a decade after the death of its eponymous founder, the House of Chanel was seen to epitomize classic French taste. As an Establishment brand, it was a respected, but somewhat senescent, institution. All that changed with the appointment of Karl Lagerfeld Read more »

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Seam Simple

Geoffrey Beene

Geoffrey Beene

Geoffrey Beene (American, 1927–2004). Dress, fall/winter 1986–87. Black silk jersey and silver panné velvet. Gift of Geoffrey Beene, 2001 (2001.393.60)

Geoffrey Beene was an admirer of the work of Adrian, especially of his carefully mitered striped suits and elaborately pieced crepe dresses. Read more »

Friday, February 15, 2008

Carpet Slippers

Carpet Slippers

Turkish Shoes, 1850–55. Beige rep silk with black silk gros-de-naples foliate design in tapestry weave and black painted wood heel. Purchase, Judith and Ira Sommer Gift, 2005 (2005.113a, b).

The elegant black foliate patterned textile of these shoes was woven by hand, á la disposition, to conform to the pattern piece of the uppers. Read more »

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chinese Garden

Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen

Philip Treacy (British, born Ireland, 1967) for Alexander McQueen (British, b. 1969). “Chinese Garden” Headdress, spring/summer 2005. Cork. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Alfred Z. Solomon-Janet A. Sloane Endowment Fund, 2007 (2007.307).

Philip Treacy’s hats are exquisite sculptures. Read more »

Monday, February 11, 2008

Working Girl

Donna Karan

Donna Karan

Donna Karan (American, b. 1948). Jumpsuit, spring/summer 1986. Black cotton jersey. Gift of Peter R. Feuchtwanger, 2000 (2000.369.3).

When Donna Karan established her own design house in 1985, she continued an emphasis on sportswear dressing that had characterized the traditions of Anne Klein, the design house where she had established her career. Read more »

E-mail It