"Carnival Dress"

Design House House of Vionnet French
Designer Madeleine Vionnet French

Not on view

The skirt of this ensemble references crinolines of the 1850s and 1860s. Traditionally made out of wired hoops connected by canvas tapes, crinolines were worn under a skirt to give it a fashionable bell-shaped volume. In an early example of underwear as outerwear, however, Vionnet has exposed the crinolines to create dresses of remarkable beauty and sensuality. Made out of tulle, they appear as fragile and diaphanous as a Portuguese 'man-of-war'.

"Carnival Dress", House of Vionnet (French, active 1912–14; 1918–39), silk, French

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