FASHION: Madeleine Vionnet

 In Events

With all the recent agonising over Chanel’s legacy, you might be starting to believe that fashion was a barren wasteland before Coco de-boned the corset. In the business of beauty, blazing celebrity and a juicy personal life too often eclipse sober genius and artistic purity. Madeleine Vionnet is one of those uncompromising revolutionaries, appreciated by the fashion cognoscenti, including John Galliano (who despatched his entire staff to study this show). Vionnet, a self-styled classicist, worked with geometry and Antique draping to create pieces that would ‘last forever’. Working without a sketchpad (all of her creations were elaborated on articulated dolls which, along with the input of her aristocratic clientele, contributed to the conceptual elegance of her designs), Vionnet trafficked in mathematical elegance for cerebral sensualists. After an haute-couture season marked by a kind of genealogical identity crisis, this extravagantly curated show revives the uncluttered purity of 20th century Paris fashion. MH

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