art fashion Fashion exhibit History The Museum at FIT Uncategorized

The Museum at FIT’s Paris Refashioned 1957-1968

Paris Fashion

Paris the birth place of Haute Couture has given the fashion industry an endless amount of designers and fashion staples. During the 50’s and 60’s London was seen as the epicenter of all fashion innovation. However Paris Refashioned showcases how Paris was also a leader in trend making during this era. Like London the young people of Paris were infusing their music, art and outlook on life into fashion. Many of these innovations and new styles changed the course of fashion and are still worn today.

Patis Fashion

YSL Couture 1965. This famous “Mondrian Dress” became one of YSL’s most famous pieces. Inspired by the paintings of Piet Mondrian. Although YSL was not the first to introduce this style it was one of his most well known peices. Many believed YSL was inspired by the color-blocked dresses of designer Michele Rosier.

 

In the late 1950’s Parisian couturiers like Pierre Cardin, Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent started to receive recognition for the radical and progressive designs they made under respected fashion houses. Yves Saint Laurent introduced the trapeze dress or the “A Line dress” under the House of Dior. A style that became so successful it cemented his place in the fashion industry. Not only was the dress a success for the House of Dior, it influenced the relaxed and younger trends that came after.

Paris Fashion

Yves Saint Laurent, Rive Gauche Line 1967. Ready-to-Wear pantsuit. It was modeled by supermodel Twiggy in Vogue. YSL loved dressing women in pants, as he believed they were no less feminine.

Paris Fashion

YSL Rive Gauche line. Ready-To-Wear raincoat fall 1966. The Rive Gauche line was YSL’s response to the Ready-To-Wear growth in Paris. This line was a fun and more affordable alternative to his Saint Laurent Couture.

Yves Saint Laurent Couture Coat 1966. Inspired by the 19th Century French uniform. The Spring 1962 collection that this coat is a part of introduced his Couture house to Paris.

Paris fashion

Pierre Cardin Couture coat circa 1958
After Christian Dior’s death Pierre Cardin was one of the contenders for taking over the House of Dior. Although that postion was filled by YSL, Cardin was known for giving edge to suits and coats like this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the 1960’s Cristobal Balenciaga’s understudy André Courre’ges  made drastic changes to what Couture could look like. He also changed the manner in which fashion shows were conducted. His 1964 ” Space Age” collection introduced futuristic day-wear in place of the traditional eveningwear couture collection. During the fashion show models quickly strut down the runway to upbeat music. A surprise for the audience who were used to a relaxed runway show where models strolled and stopped in intervals for viewing.

Paris Fashion

André Courreges. Couture dress 1968. A couture designer who knew how to combine ready to wear with couture this dress is both modern and classic. The use of vinyl, a material usually used by ready-to-wear designers is combined with classic chiffon in this dress.

The rise of ready-to-wear in the 50’s and 60’s by Parisian designers created an economic influx in the fashion industry. Their modern designs also attracted a larger clientele who wanted more options than what couture designers were providing.  These designers became known as “stylistes” and introduced  “ready-to wear” to French fashion and society. These designers also changed how ready-to-wear fashion was perceived. Off the rack fashion or “confections” were originally known for being poor in quality and design. The quality in which designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Sonia Rykiel produced their pret-a-porter lines rooted  ready-to-wear into a respected category in Parisian fashion.

Paris Fashion

Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe’. Ready-To-Wear 1967. This hand painted evening dress was part of Lagerfeld’s entry into Ready-to Wear and depart from Couture in 1964.

Paris fashion

Madame Gres Couture evening gown 1960. This A-line dress combines sculpture and the modern loose silhouette.

Paris fashion

Left: Sonia Rykiel Ready-to-wear polo dress 1966.
Right: Sonia Rykiel Ready-to-wear 1965. The cuffs on this dress are removable and inspired by menswear. This small detail allowed the wearer to change the look or easily wash the dress.

 

While some Couturiers embraced pret-a-porter others found if difficult to include a ready- to -wear line into their collections. Designers like Balenciaga, Madame Gres and Chanel did not switch to ready-to-wear but infused the new trends into their collections by hiring younger designers. While some couturier survived the shift in Parisian fashion some designers like Balenciaga were forced to shut their doors and reopen later on. The survival of Couture depended on the flexibility of the Couturiers.

French Fashion

Chanel Couture ensemble 1968. This collection was critiqued as not being “young enough”. Although others believed French women would love the collection simply because it was “Chanel”.

Paris fashion

Chanel Couture 1959.. This collection was her reentry into fashion after a retirement period. Her cuts remained classic and her connection with magazine editors allowed her collection to be showcased in magazines despite the classic style of the collection. Although the prints and colors were a bolder selection that her previous collection.

Paris Refashioned 1957-1968 will be open until April 15, 2017 at the Museum at FIT. Let me know if you visit this exhibition and what your thoughts are.

T.S.

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