Madeleine Vionnet - Assignment Example

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Madeleine Vionnet is little known in wide circles. The genius and the classic of fashion, she created unique dresses mostly for aristocrats and Bohemia. She dreamt of becoming a sculptor, but poverty forced the girl to leave school and become an assistant dressmaker. …
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Madeleine Vionnet is little known in wide circles. The genius and the ic of fashion, she created unique dresses mostly for aristocrats and Bohemia.
She dreamt of becoming a sculptor, but poverty forced the girl to leave school and become an assistant dressmaker. At age 17 she got married and moved to Paris in search of better life. Madeleine got a job in a well-known fashion house - Vincent and soon became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter. Here, however, fortune turned her back on a young dressmaker: the girl died, the marriage fell apart. She lost her job. Madeleine decided on a desperate act: practically with no money, not knowing the language, she went to England. Pretty quickly she was hired by Kate Reilly, who was engaged in copying the Parisian models. Thanks to Madeline, just in a year, the atelier became famous and prosperous. The greatest success was Vionnet’s wedding dress for the bride of Duke of Marlborough.
After that triumph Madeleine was invited to work for Callot Sisters. Here she learned all the intricacies of the cutting techniques and fashion. In 1906 she created the first personal collection. The dresses were cut “on the bias,” which gave them more flexibility and allowed fitting the figure. She did not want to disturb the harmony of lines and demanded that the models had to wear dresses on naked bodies during the show. A huge scandal attracted attention of liberal and Bohemian women. Thanks to such customers Madeleine was able to open her own fashion house in 1912. It’s when Vionett was able to turn into reality all kinds of her ideas. Madeleine’s favorite cutting technique was “on the bias”, i.e. on the bias of 45% to the direction of the lengthwise thread. Vionett rarely drew sketches of her models; usually she pinned a fabric on an 80 cm mannequin and then enlarged the resulting pattern and created a new masterpiece. Her dresses had a minimum of seams and the relief was made through a variety of drapes and pleats. Madeleine admired clothing of the ancient Greeks, developing the art of draping and tailoring to incredible heights. Each Vionnet’s dress was special, unique and created to emphasize personality and style of a client: When a woman smiles, her dress must smile with her. However, Madeleine Vionnet’s dresses were a real puzzle. Many clients had to learn from the designer how to put on a dress. Patterns of simple things, at first glance, looked like geometric and abstract shapes. 
Each dress had a label with Madeleine’s signature and finger-mark of her thumb. She tried not to sell her models in the stores for fear that they will be copied, but regularly arranged the sale of old collections, which were popular no less than her fashion shows.
She had always been the enemy of fashion. She did not think about fashion, she just created dresses.
Cunningham, Patricia. Reforming Women’s Fashion, 1850-1920: Politics, Health, and Art. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2003. 
Kirke, Betty. “A dressmaker extraordinaire.” Threads Magazine. 19 Nov. 2011.
White, Nicola. The Fashion Business: Theory, Practice, Image. Oxford: Berg, 2000. Read More
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