Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Edward G. Sparrow, 1969
Not on view
Madeleine Vionnet was a consummate technician, particularly known for the mathematically precise construction of her garments, as well as for her innovative use of the bias cut. She designed by draping fabric on a ¾ -size mannequin, which not only afforded her a level of dimensionality that sketching does not it also gave her an active awareness of the physical responses of her textiles as she worked. Vionnet sought to harmonize the relationship between garment and wearer and her designs were in direct contrast to both the corseted silhouette of the early 20th century and the boxy, tubular shapes of the teens and twenties. Her expanded use of the bias cut took advantage of the elasticity and fluidity the cross-grain cut gave to whole garments, allowing them to flow over and move with the body. In this elegant use of silk crepe, Vionnet creates both a fluid skirt and inventive bodice with panels that frame a plunging back, then extend over the shoulders to be gather in a pleated drapery detail. The sinuous line and cutaway exposures of the dress make it an excellent example of the period.