(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘couture

“In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking but now, Heaven knows, anything goes”*…


The first pair of experimental nylon stockings made by Union Hosiery Company for Du Pont in 1937. (National Museum of American History)


The quest to replace natural silk led to the very first fully-synthetic fiber– and revolutionized an extraordinary range of products on which we now depend: “How 75 Years Ago Nylon Stockings Changed the World.”

* Cole Porter


As we adjust our seams, we might spare a thought for Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent; he died on this date in 2008.  Caroline Rennolds Milbank wrote, “The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture’s rise from its sixties ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable.”  From early in his career, he was known for his use of non-European cultural references and non-white models.  In 1983, Saint Laurent became the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a solo exhibition.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 1, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing”*…


The Robe à la Française, a gown popular throughout much of the 18th century, consists of an open front robe exposing a highly decorative underskirt, double box pleats at the back showcasing expansive ornate Rococo textiles, a square neckline and a conical shaped bodice achieved by a stomacher. The stomacher, or the triangular panel at the front of the bodice, was a separate component of the dress and often featured elaborate ornamentation. Zac Posen’s Fall 2013 showcase, featured a golden yellow gown with a similar triangular shaped bodice. This 18th-century reference was not constructed with an additional panel, rather through clever gathers and darts.


Lilah Ramzi is a graduate student of fashion history fascinated by the antecedents of modern couture…

I have come to the realization that much of the creative material produced and designed today has its roots in a previous incarnation or is essentially part nouveau.

Part Nouveau can be used to characterize fashion photography, fashion trends and ultimately anything within the creative field that borrows, reappropriates or is directly inspired by a work which preceded it.

The blog seeks to aid our contemporary eyes, so used to being presented with the newest and latest within the creative world, to recognize and give credit to what has come before.


In 1937, Elsa Schiaparelli launched the fragrance Shocking de Schiaparelli, packaged in bottles which resembled a female figure. The curves were supposedly based on those of the provocative actress Mae West, who also served as a muse to surrealist artist Salvator Dali in the creation of a mouth-shaped sofa modeled after West’s bee-stung lips. Jean Paul Gaultier’s similar body-shaped bottles have become a signature design throughout the brand’s range of fragrances.


Viennese Secessionist artist Gustav Klimt’s gold-leafed, kaleidoscopic paintings have been referenced, reinterpreted and looked to for inspiration by countless artists and designers. In Judith and the Head of Holofernes, Klimt presents us with his version of the biblical tale featuring his muse and reported lover, the Austrian socialite Adele Bloch-Bauer. In describing her F/W 2013 collection to Vogue, designer L’Wren Scott revealed, “I’m having a gold moment” looking to Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Bloch-Bauer for inspiration.


Keith Haring began his short career in 1978, producing paintings, sculptures and murals in his signature cartoon-like graphics until his premature death in 1990. Haring’s philosophy to heighten the accessibility of his art was reinforced by his Pop Shop, a store which carried Haring memorabilia, home goods and clothing all featuring Haring’s signature designs. In 2011, shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood paid homage to Haring with a collection of footwear showcasing Haring’s aesthetic and in doing so, continuing Haring’s commitment to enhance his artistic reach.


See more exploration of Picasso’s famous assertion that “good artists copy; great artists steal” at Part Nouveau.

*Salvador Dali


As we watch our backs (as it is, after all, the Ides of March), we might recall that it was on this date in 1949 that clothes rationing ended in England.  Introduced on June 1, 1941, two years after food rationing, the program was an effort to assure fair access, but also to limit consumer spending and free up manufacturing capacity critical to te war effort (and subsequently, to economic recovery).  As the Imperial War Museum explains

When buying new clothes, the shopper had to hand over coupons with a ‘points’ value as well as money. Each item of clothing had a points value, usually displayed alongside the price. The more fabric and labour that was needed to produce a garment, the more points required.

Children’s clothes had lower points values in recognition of the fact that they would need new clothes more often. Pregnant women were given an extra allocation for maternity and baby clothes. Clothing exchanges were set up by the Women’s Voluntary Service to help meet the needs of women struggling to clothe their growing families.

Many women used furnishing fabrics for dressmaking until these too went on the ration. Blackout material, which did not need points, was also sometimes used. Parachute silk was highly prized for underwear, nightclothes and wedding dresses.

Ration coupon books





Written by (Roughly) Daily

March 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

Faux Logo…


Luis Gispert was photographing car interiors when he stumbled upon a kitschy white Cadillac Escalade, its seats upholstered in fake material from Takashi Murakami’s 2009 collaboration with Louis Vuitton. While the owner showed off his pimped-out ride, the wheels turned in Gispert’s head. “I figured there had to be so many cars with counterfeit interiors”…

This inspired a two-year “obsessive quest” to document a subculture of people crafting custom designs from counterfeit materials. Gispert attended car shows across the country and captured interiors bedazzled with logos, from a Burberry-upholstered BMW to a Gucci-themed Mercedes. Honing in on the culture itself brought Gispert to more-intimate spaces, like the home of a Florida-based drug dealer, whose bedroom was decorated with Versace’s signature Greek Key motif. Gispert’s photographic journey is the subject of an upcoming solo exhibition, Decepcion, at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York [open now]…

He spent a year capturing cars before turning his lens on the owners themselves—many of whom had closets filled with backpacks, sneakers, and jackets custom-made from fake designer materials. Gispert’s project evolved to incorporate portraits of men and women modeling counterfeit fashion, such as a DJ clad in a pleather MCM jumpsuit…

Designer customization was born in the early 1980s, when a haberdasher named Dapper Dan began selling one-of-a-kind Louis Vuitton boots and $8,000 custom Gucci jackets out of his boutique in Harlem. “He was likely cutting up actual Gucci bags and using the materials to make jackets and luxury car interiors,” said Gispert. Dapper Dan’s clientele consisted of drug dealers—until LL Cool J and Mike Tyson took the street trend mainstream…

Unlike Canal Street vendors, Gispert’s subjects aren’t trying to pass off their creations as authentic. “These people are appropriating the material, the actual logos and fabrics, but they’re not trying to mimic high fashion,” he explained. One photograph from the series features a woman wearing a Louis Vuitton dress that Gispert described as “some kind of nightgown, flamenco hybrid.” It looks nothing like Louis Vuitton couture, yet it’s splattered with the designer’s cult logo. “In a way these people are hijacking signs of wealth, bastardizing logos and turning them into something completely unique.”

Read the entire tale at The Daily Beast, and see a selection of Gispert’s arresting photos on his site.


As we reckon with the collision of High and Low, we might wish a fashionable Happy Birthday to Coco Chanel’s greatest rival, Elsa Schiaparelli; she was born in Rome on this date in 1890.  Schiaparelli, who collaborated with artists including Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, and Alberto Giacometti to dress socialites (like Daisy Fellowes) and celebrities (like Mae West) was frequently dismissed by Chanel as “that Italian artist who makes clothes.”  While Schiaparelli is not as well remembered as Chanel, Schiaparelli made lasting contributions to fashion:  she created wraparound dresses decades before Diane von Furstenberg and crumpled up rayon 50 years before Issey Miyake’s pleats and crinkles; she created the first evening-dress with a jacket and the first clothes with visible zippers.  But her most fundamental contribution to couture was surely the sense of fun– of playfulness and “anything goes”– that she shared with her Dadaist and Surrealist friends.


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