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Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Evening dress

Designer:
Madeleine Vionnet (French, Chilleurs-aux-Bois 1876–1975 Paris)
Date:
1938
Culture:
French
Medium:
metal thread
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Harrison Williams, Lady Mendl, and Mrs. Ector Munn, 1946
Accession Number:
C.I.46.4.24a, b
Not on view
"I'm not a beautiful woman. I'm nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else"
The Duchess of Windsor

The Duchess of Windsor lent two dresses to the exhibition "Paris Openings", including this ensemble by Madeleine Vionnet. Elegant, romantic and feminine, it seems uncharacteristic of the Duchess's sober and somewhat severe fashion aesthetic. It also seems more revealing than her usual modest, discreet style. But as Danielle Porthault of Yves Saint Laurent commented, "Her Royal Highness's style was sobriety by day and fantasy and originality at night."

As chairperson of "Le Colis de Trianon-Versailles", the Duchess of Windsor played an active role in raising money for the charity. The Duke of Windsor also supported the charity by knitting hats, gloves and sweaters for the "soldiers' boxes" sent to the front line trenches of France. It was an act that highlighted the Duke's ambiguous political beliefs and allegiances.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dance," December 9, 1986–September 6, 1987.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In Style: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Costume Institute," November 17, 1987–April 17, 1988.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The 10s, the 20s, the 30s: Inventive Clothes (1909–1939)," December 13, 1973–September 3, 1974.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seeds of Fashion," February 15, 1951–August 31, 1951.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Blithe Spirit: The Windsor Set," November 1, 2002–February 9, 2003.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paris Openings, 1932–1940," November 19, 1940–February 11, 1941.

The John Wanamaker Auditorium. "Exhibition of Dresses Worn by Well-known Women of Europe and America," May 1, 1940–May 31, 1940.

John Wanamaker. "Exhibition of Dresses Worn by Well-known Women of Europe and America," June 5, 1940–July 5, 1940.

Related Objects

Evening dress

Artist: Madeleine Vionnet (French, Chilleurs-aux-Bois 1876–1975 Paris) Date: fall/winter 1937–38 Medium: silk, rayon Accession: 1986.517.6 On view in:Not on view

Dinner dress

Artist: Madeleine Vionnet (French, Chilleurs-aux-Bois 1876–1975 Paris) Date: ca. 1935 Medium: silk Accession: 1976.29.11 On view in:Not on view

Evening coat

Artist: Madeleine Vionnet (French, Chilleurs-aux-Bois 1876–1975 Paris) Date: 1934 Medium: silk, plastic Accession: 1976.304 On view in:Not on view

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Artist: Attributed to Madeleine Vionnet (French, Chilleurs-aux-Bois 1876–1975 Paris) Date: ca. 1935 Medium: silk Accession: 1976.29.16 On view in:Not on view

Coat

Artist: Madeleine Vionnet (French, Chilleurs-aux-Bois 1876–1975 Paris) Date: ca. 1935 Medium: fur Accession: 1976.29.14 On view in:Not on view