Art Deco in England

A box full of a semester’s worth of Art Deco Movement research has been sent to England to be assessed. Phew! I am looking forward to a month’s break but I thought you might like to see some more highly innovative fashion from the period, courtesy of Richard Martin’s book.
This pink silk satin dress by Gabrielle Chanel has spiraling bias-cut panels encircling the body.
I may not agree with Richard’s attempts to convince me these creative dress designers were inspired by Picasso (I think the inspiration flowed the other way) but he did describe this dress well, “A kind of 3D, silk-swathing puzzle.” It is a 1920 design by Madeleine Vionnet.
Madeleine wasn’t big on colour, as you can see in these ecru and pink dresses, in fact they are all skin-like in colour. Colour would have been a distraction from the brilliance of these designs. What was important to her was the cut and how the cloth related to the body.
The detailing on this sleeve is exciting in an understated way: threading, tying, hanging, wrapping, joining with faggoting, gathering – all on this quiet, elegant sleeve.
Another Madeleine Vionnet (1938) garment speaks of utter simplicity while it drapes the body with such complexity. All without the help of Lycra or Spandex. Pure genius.
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