House of Jacques Fath (French, founded 1937)
Length at CB: 52 in. (132.1 cm)
Gift of Richard Martin, 1993
Not on view
The corset is a fashion convention to define the waist and project the bosom. Challenged by nature, reason, and gender rights, the corsetted silhouette remained a persistent aesthetic ideal of the twentieth century. During the 1940s and 1950s, in particular, ideas of femininity were expressed fashion-wise in a cinched waist akin to the corsetted construction of the past, as in this evening gown by Jacques Fath. Despite the anachronistic lacing, this dress reveals its structure like a modernist building. Pink, a color of twentieth-century lingerie, is combined with a traditional lacing in an evening silhouette of the postwar years, here given deeper historical resonance. In 1954, just before his death, Fath returned to the representation of the corset as a means of reationalizing the wasp waist he preferred.
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