"When a woman smiles, then her dress should smile too." - Madeleine Vionnet
Madeleine Vionnet has become synonymous with the bias cut dress and an essential player in the history of haute couture. This is a woman who was never afraid to take the rules and bend and play to create some of the most spectacular and ground breaking garments of her time and still to today.
Born in Paris, Vionnet started in sewing at the age of 11 and eventually landed a job with Jacques Doucet. In 1912 she opened her own fashion house simply named Vionnet, which still stands as a spectacular couture house in Paris today.
Inspired by modern dance and the female form, Vionnet wanted to free the female body from the constricting fashion styles of earlier years. She worked in cloth like an architect, creating forms that shaped around the body with expert precision. Her designs were elegant and simple at first glance. Upon close inspection, her designs are complex utilize the bias of the fabric to stretch and turn fabric around the female form without any need to for stretch fabrics we are so accustomed to today. She was a miracle worker using fabrics such as silk crepe de chine, gabardine, and satin draped to the body to create a living design.
I myself have not had the opportunity to view her designs up close and in person, but I want so much to get to inspect one of her garments with my own eyes someday.
Let me leave you with some of my favorite designs from Madame Vionnet. Be sure to check out tumblr, there are so many of her designs awaiting inspiration from a new generation of designers.