A truly rare book. Happened upon it in a car boot sale. It accompanied the 1977 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The photographs are by the late Irving Penn and the introduction was penned by the irreplaceable Diana Vreeland. Some of the garments are quite famous, especially the Vionnet knotted 1930s satin sheath and her famous “4 square” dress. Others are less so. The patina of age – yellowing pages, classic typography, dainty but linear mannequins in elegant [is refusal] poses – make this a treasured possession. There can’t be many about. Especially love the way Madame Grès was referred to by her lesser known first name Alix.

* * *

Not sure if the Vionnet retrospective is still on at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs at the Louvre in Paris. If you’re in that neck of the woods it’s a must-see. All those immaculately preserved pieces viewed en masse in one space is a truly remarkable experience. Vionnet’s always been one of my favourite designers but I just never truly understood how forward thinking she was until I saw the show. Awe-struck. It blew my mind to see how much fashion hasn’t moved on from her pioneering work. Fashion lesson indeed.



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