Sunday, March 16, 2008

Holding Pattern

Hussein Chalayan

Hussein Chalayan Hussein Chalayan Hussein Chalayan

Hussein Chalayan (English, born Cyprus, 1970). “Remote Control Dress,” spring/summer 2000 (edition from 2005). Pink fiberglass; pink nylon tulle. Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2006 (2006.251a–c).

Hussein Chalayan’s collections are an articulation of his immediate conceptual and philosophical preoccupations as well as his fascination with materials and techniques as they might be applied to his métier. Read more »

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mull it Over

American Dress

American Dress, 1872–73. White cotton mull with self-ruching. Purchase, Judith and Ira Sommer Gift, 2002 (2002.252a, b).

This summer gown represents the first period of the bustle silhouette, 1870 to 1875, which disappears between 1876 and 1881, returns in 1882, and survives in modified form until 1889. Read more »

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

“I Do”

Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto (Japanese, b. 1943). “Wedding Dress,” spring/summer 2000. Natural cotton muslin and ivory silk jersey with large laser-cut holes. Gift of Minori Shironishi, 2003 (2003.573.8a, b).

This unconventional wedding dress concluded a presentation by Yohji Yamamoto that, according to Robin Givhan of the Washington Post, “pushed one to think about construction.” Read more »

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Birth of Venus

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen (British, b. 1969). “Oyster Dress,” spring/summer 2003. Ivory silk chiffon and silk organza. Purchase, Gould Family Foundation, in memory of Jo Copeland, 2003 (2003.462).

The premise of Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2003 presentation was of a shipwreck at sea and a consequent landfall in the Amazon. Read more »

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Casta Diva

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent (French, born Algeria, 1936). Ensemble, fall/winter 1983–84. Coat: yellow silk faille. Dress: black silk velvet. Anonymous Gift, 2006 (2006.420.51a,b).

Among the most dramatic pieces from Yves Saint Laurent’s fall/winter 1983–84 collection of haute couture is this diva-esque coat originally shown over a simple black column. Read more »

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Galloping Galliano

John GallianoJohn Galliano

John GallianoJohn Galliano

Left: John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960). Coat, fall/winter 1996–97. Magenta and forest green printed ivory felted wool with light blue, gray, and white striped silk with brocaded crest lining. Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 2004 (2004.410). Right: John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960). Dress, fall/winter 1996–97. Beige laser-cut suede Gift of John Galliano S.A., 2005 (2005.46).

John Galliano’s fashion presentations, whether under his eponymous label or for the House of Dior, are typically theatrical extravaganzas. His themes are often wild syntheses of anachronistic juxtapositions and geographically conflated narratives. Read more »

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Fevered Prettiness

French Bonnet

French Bonnet, 1830–35. Ivory silk satin, ivory gauze, ivory silk tulle with ivory silk filament embroidery, egret and duck feathers, and ivory linen petal appliqué. Isabel Shults Fund, 2004 (2004.343).

In the 1830s the fashionable coiffeur was hair pulled back in a high single- or double-looped chignon with dense grapelike bunches of curls at the temples. This hairstyle influenced the profile of hats of the period, Read more »

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 »

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