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Hello there fashion masters! I hope you’ve liked following the series on our tip back in time to say hello to the design greats. We’ve been trying to throw some powerful pictures in there – better a vocal picture than many, many words right? So let’s jump right in ..
14) Elsa Schiaparelli
Love her for: introducing the phrase ‘shocking’ pink into our fashion vocabulary and for being a startlingly strong genius
Elsa Schiaparelli was one of the most flamboyant and artistic designers of the 1920s and 1930s. Her business grew many folds bigger in this period because of her focus on her famous sportswear and evening wear lines. Elsa was a creative genius – her brilliance in combination with her innovative use of surprising gadgets (zippers, newspapers, metal) birthed some of the world’s most celebrated designs.
Elsa loved to be in the company of other talented and vibrant artists. It was perhaps this camaraderie that led to her very successful collaborations with the periods’ greats such as Dalli and Cocteau. Many fashion aficionados consider her levels above Coco Chanel because of the designer’s ‘ahead of times’ vision.
Unfortunately Elsa’s designs floundered in the post war world, and this made her less popular in the eyes of posterity compared to her rival Coco. Irrespective, comparisons aside, Elsa gave us fabulous fashion. And her pieces, preserved for us in many museums, are a glorious feast for the eyes
13) Jean Patou
Love him for: being the dignified designer, for inaugurating the monogram and for creating the perfumes of stars
Jean Patou was born and raised in a genteel, privileged background. Arguably, this upbringing gave him an intuitive feel for elegance and societal grace. Elegance for him was understated, subtle. His love and focus on cut, detail and fabric made him an instant favorite amongst the fashionably discerning in Paris.
Patou, notably, had a head for business. After establishing robust presence in Paris, he set foot in America and took the style world by storm. As with the other prolific designers if his time, Patou had an inimitable winning charm about him. On one of his New York trips, he effortlessly convinced 6 New York models to return to Paris with him to be his live mannequins!
He was one of the first designers to introduce coveted perfumes in his collection and importantly, the avant garde unisex perfume. Tragically, Patou died early at 50. Compared with the other greats of his time, he didn’t live as long as Chanel did, for example. This perhaps left his story less often told in modern ages. But in the end, Patou’s talent to celebrate the natural woman’s eloquent form was unparalleled
12) Madeleine Vionnet
Love her for: allowing women easy, fluid clothes and for fabulous Grecian dresses, and fingerprinted labels
Vionnet started to sew when she was 11, so the skill of being a seamstress was ingrained in her. She was credit with perfecting the bias cut – this lent dresses easy fluidity and made them far easier to wear compared to the constraining corsets of the times. If you are in love with the vinateg Grecian and honeycomb dresses, you know now that Vionnet was the visionary that imagined and made them.
The lady of authenticity, Madeleine was the brainchild of fingerprinted labels. Each Vionnet pieces has both a label featuring Vionnet’s original signature and an Vionnet’s right thumb imprint. The house of Vionnet had to close after world war II, but Vionnet’s name lives on luminous in its power as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century.
Are any of your visionaries your inspirations? I’d love to hear what you think! Write me here or at [email protected]
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