Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2009
Not on view
Madeleine Vionnet sought to create timeless garments that would transcend fleeting fashion trends, finding inspiration in both antique and modern sources. Among her contemporary influences were Futurist artists, who were concerned with rendering dynamic movement and proposed fashions that embraced asymmetrical forms. Vionnet worked out her designs by draping fabric on a half-size mannequin, which she set on a swiveling piano stool and turned like pottery on a wheel. Her method produced garments that wrap fluidly around the body and move freely with the wearer. The circular cut and subtly asymmetrical draping of the skirt of this gown ensures a constant, undulating motion. Vionnet eschewed any decorative embellishment that would disturb a fabric’s natural drape, as demonstrated by the light, arcing embroidery on the airy silk tulle of this evening dress.