Design House Mainbocher French and American
Designer Mainbocher American
Not on view
Born on the West Side of Chicago in 1891, Mainbocher chose to make his home overseas. He began sketching at Harper's Bazaar and then went to work as the fashion editor of French Vogue in 1922, staying there until 1929. With his trained eye and exquisite taste, he opened his maison de couture in 1930 at 12, avenue George V with the support of fashion editors, designers and the social elite. Mainbocher became "the American" in Paris that any woman who could afford his luxuries, turned to. His clothes were perfectly appropriate for every occasion, producing an air of elegance. In his showroom, he exhibited innovative ideas, such as cotton gingham evening dresses, the strapless dress, extreme feminine details such as gigot sleeves, ruffles and trains, and the use of men's shirting, such as linen toweling and cotton pique. While innovative, his designs were always exquisitely pieced. At the beginning of WWII, Mainbocher closed his Paris house and returned to New York, opening his first showroom on Madison Avenue, next door to Tiffany's at 57th Street. He continued to prosper, and never did he find the need to place his work in luxury stores such as Bergdorf's or Bendel's. With the death of some of the grand couturiers, such as Chanel and Balenciaga, Mainbocher retired in 1971, mourning their loss and to him, the death of couture.
This flattering ruby red satin cocktail ensemble is an excellent example of Mainbocher's later work. The strapless dress, with tiers of self petals is extremely feminine and the cut of the dress is pure perfection. The jacket finishes the piece, making it appropriate for all occasions. The collar frames the face and the wrap style slenderizes the silhouette.
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