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. Although Beene had explored pieced constructions and textile juxtapositions at various times in his career, his designs in the mid-1980s took on increasingly ambitious technical challenges. With this gown, the designer created a seemingly simple, if dramatic, graphic effect by manipulating two textiles of different tensile qualities and weights. Especially difficult to control is the conjunction of a knit (the Racine jersey) and a woven (the synthetic panne velvet).

His exploration of arcing cuts, beginning in this period, eventually lead to constructions that eliminated the sideseams and violated any conventional notion of front or back. Therefore, even though this gown is still anchored in the techniques utilized by Adrian, it represents the first step in Beene’s development of the audacious and unprecedented cuts that would characterize his work of the 1990s.

Comments (25)

  1. Samantha Says:

    This dress reminds me of a shirt that I have seen in H&M…despite how many years ago it was made. Although he was going for the simple and dramatic look i feel like it is a bit too much and more so dramatic than simple.

  2. toby barrons Says:

    I think the dress has a lot of potential overall but the bottom is lacking some flare to it.

  3. jennifer lee Says:

    why did we think we looked good in the 80’s!???? everything was so over the top - this dress exemplifies what i loved/now hate about the 80’s. i can just see myself in it - big hair, big bangs, huge earrings, lots of eyemakeup - and huge earrings to match!!

  4. Sissi Says:

    I read something about Geoffrey Beene on Penelope Rowland´s bio of Carmel Snow, Dash pf Daring. She says Cristóbal Balenciaga designed a stand-away collar, which allowed women to wear pearls, to breathe, for Carmel, who had no neck. She loved the way the collar, set away from her face, made her neck look longer. Baleciaga taught her to soften it with a silk scarf, tid in bias. The tradition passed from Carmel to her niece Nancy White and Nancy passed it to Geoffrey Beene, who included scarves, knotted in just this same way, in his collections for the lenght of his career.

    Thanks to Mr. Koda and Mr. Bolton, I adore this blog.

  5. Daphne A. Says:

    I really like how the dress is tight around the waist. I think this exhibit is cool1

  6. elena Says:

    I love everything about it : the slanted v-neck back, the sleekness the colors represent, all of it awesome!

  7. JessyB. Says:

    I think that this is a very cool and I especially like how it’s like a halter top.

  8. Devan Gallagher Says:

    I liike how the silver and black, just sort of mash together. I also like how the silver part is not in strips, but it is in like just parts almost. I really like the dress!

  9. Quin Says:

    It was very Jillian from progect runway! I think Jennifer Lopez would wear it on the runway and knock everyones socks off! I would totally wear that dress to a party!

  10. Meg L. Says:

    Beautiful presentation and thought provoking labels. I realize you intend us to metaphorically genuflect before the great fashion designers, but must we kneel physically as well? Why are the labels practically on the floor??

  11. cadence c. Says:

    my favorite was “slav to fashion”. it has a young, cheerful part that is not easy to detect but once seen it makes you feel like your in a whole new place!!!

  12. Janet Says:

    This dress appealed to three generations of my family. My mother wished she could have worn it back in the day. The daughter (me) can’t imagine how difficult it was to construct and get it to lie correctly on the body, and my daughter thought it was very Jillian on Project Runway.

  13. Ena Says:

    I love how this dress looks like billowing smoke. It is a wonderful thing.

  14. lucienne Says:

    It’s had an accident in the display case!
    It’s no longer a halter top. The neck strap has popped and is limply hanging. Confusing all and sundry into having to redesign and imagine it in their minds.
    And JayLo? Methinks not.

  15. Margaret Says:

    Attention, curator: the neck on the dress in the display case is undone, and flopping down, with the left sleeve drooping, distorting what it should look like. Since this dress has to be fastened around the neck, it should have been displayed on a maniquin with a neck! Try again, please; Beene deserves it.

  16. Tino Says:

    Alexis Carrington Colby lives on!!!

  17. Mariela Says:

    excelente, pero deberíamos de ver los vestidos por años, así es más facil, pero de todas maneras es una excelente ayuda

  18. Addie H. Says:

    Michael Jackson would definetly
    wear this!

  19. meimi1995529 Says:

    the shape is nice. the shimmer is WAY to much. :(

  20. Kate Says:

    Two words come to mind when I view this dress:

    Alexis. Carrington.

  21. Kat :-) Says:

    SHINY !!!! shiny make me HAPPY ! :-) !!!!

  22. Amelia Says:

    This dress is great, looks like an amazing one for NEW YEARS =]

  23. Jennie Says:

    omg i LOVE this dress! its so classic and modern at the same time. However, the dress is a little to shinny for me and the neck looks somewhat unfinished. Saying that though, i would wear out on a holiday!

  24. Annie McP Says:

    Just a stunning dress. I’d love to wear it just once…and have the body to do so!!

  25. Darby Says:

    I love this dress!
    I would love to see it in stores now!

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