With a career that spans 6 decades Pierre Cardin has to be considered one of the most inventive and influential fashion designers of the 20th century.
In 1945 he was working at the house of Madame Paquin, later leaving it to join Marcelle Chaumont, who was Madame Vionnet’s assistant. In the following years he worked with Schiaparelli, and Jean Cocteau.
Then, starting in 1947, he spent 3 years with Christian Dior.
What a rich and wonderful start to a career that would eventually lead to the opening of his own couture house in 1950.
My favorite period of Cardin’s design has to be the 1960’s – 1970’s. His fresh designs embraced the themes of science-fiction and travel to outer space. The space age 3-D shift, the astronaut men’s look and the “white breasts” dress. Materials never before used in fashion such as vinyl and metal rings were adorned with brooches made of carpenters nails, and diamonds. Tight leather trousers, knit cat suits, close-fitting helmets and bat wing jumpsuits were all part of his collections.
For decades he has amazed the world with his innovations. As a fashion designer, he has been continually experimenting with the ideas of abstraction, exaggeration and technology.
One could call him an architect designer.
The merging of fashion and architecture is fully evident in the following video where the 2008-2009 collection is revealed.
You have to check out the Pierre Cardin official website. As innovative as his clothing designs this site is a visual masterpiece while also displaying his oeuvre of past and present projects and designs.
American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity is the first Costume Institute exhibition drawn from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Met. It explores developing perceptions of the modern American woman from 1890 to 1940 and how they have affected the way American women are seen today. Focusing on archetypes of American femininity through dress, the exhibition reveals how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation. “Gibson Girls,” “Bohemians,” “Flappers” and “Screen Sirens,” among others, helped lay the foundation for today’s American woman.
The lavish garments are presented on mannequins in imaginative period vignettes.
This beautiful exhibit runs from May 5, 2010 to August 15, 2010. If you are in New York it’s well worth a visit and if not then please take a few minutes to enjoy this wonderful video presentation.
I came across this fantastic little book the other day while shopping at my favorite antiques mall. In this book, entitled – “Fashion’s Folly”, the authors intent was to mock and poke fun at fashion, fashion magazines and fashion photography of the time. The time was 1954 and I’ll let the authors explain their motivations –
Vanity, vanity, thy name is fashion. And fashion’s favorite vanity fare is the fashion magazine – that exotic catchall for the contorted pose, the bored expression, the Victorian objet d’art, the plazas, palaces and pomp of the old world, the geometric shapes of the new, the Jaquars, the tiaras, and the diamonds, and all other fancies of a very, very never never land. How high fashion has flown!
The authors of this book have devoted themselves modestly to the gentle pricking of the pearl – encrusted balloon of high fashion – this in the hope of bringing it somewhat closer to earth. It is also their hope that the ground observer – and even the balloon passengers – will find it fun.
Well, this book is great fun. The authors have selected specific magazine fashion shots and paired them with hilarious and irreverent captions.
Here are a few examples [click on image to enlarge] –
I’m still laughing and I’ve read this book 10 times already.
So fashionistas, let’s not take ourselves too seriously or we might end up in a book like this one day.
Easter is just around the corner and I’m reminded of this great montage scene from the 1948 MGM picture “Easter Parade“. Music by Irving Berlin starring Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and Ann Miller. This film represents the height of the Hollywood musical and one of the best of its time. This short segment depicts the height of fashion looking back from 1948. The song, “The Girl On The Magazine Cover”, features an ingenious stage act, in which women appear against backdrops that look like the covers of magazines.
High fashion, Hollywood glamour, wonderful music – take a look.
Last weekend I took a trip over to Renninger’s Mid Winter Classic Antiques show in Valley Forge, Pa. It’s always a nice show with an interesting mix of dealers showing everything from country furniture to diamonds and glitz. One of my favorite dealers was exhibiting – Ann Bonafede.
Ann always puts together a fantastic collection of high end purses and designer costume jewelry. We had a chance to chat and she was kind enough to let me photograph some of her items so I could share them with my readers.
There were rows of mint condition vintage skin bags, in all color ranges, dating from the 1940’s on up amidst a mind boggling collection of designer bags from Judith Leiber, Fendi, Cartier, Roberta Di Camerino, Chloe, Coach and so many more. Spring colors were plentiful, pinks, white, reds, plums, tan as well as zebra and combinations of all sorts.
The booth was always busy, so it seems bags were the thing at this show.
Ann was telling me that the selling was very brisk and I can see why. It’s all about quality and selection.
Check out some of her displays and if you’d like to contact Ann her email is – firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you’d like to see the bags in person she’ll be exhibiting this weekend at the Chantilly Virginia Antiques show.
This film details the haute – couture of American fashion [c. 1917] for the well heeled one percent of women who might be able to afford it.
I’ve always been very interested in the historical aspects of fashion. How interesting it is to observe this from afar and ponder the modes and mores of this earlier day. It was definitely a time when the concept of following fashion, was a woman’s only avenue to succeed. It was largely through her fashion statements that she was able to climb the social ladder.
As an aside notice the elaborate stockings. Stockings then were either silk, or lisle, the cotton weave we know today as t-shirt cloth. Nylons will not be introduced until 1939.
The fabrics then, including the silks, cottons, serges and all textiles really were of a variety and richness not seen today.