Tuesday, 24 November 2009
I love Paris, Madeleine Vionnet and er, Eurostar.
OK, OK so I probably don't actually love the Eurostar train - though it has made going to Paris a doddle - and this week Mr That's Not My Age did say he was thinking of taking up bird-watching, so we may turn into a twitcher and a trainspotter, who knows?! Anyway, let's leave our middle-aged hobbies out of this, and concentrate on Paris.
'It was never hard for me to create my first dresses,' said Madeleine Vionnet, 'they came out of me like a baker baking dough. It was later, towards the end of my career that it was more difficult for me. Because I had invented everything.' And whilst, the mistress of bias cut may not have been the most modest designer on the Rue de Rivoli, she's certainly not wrong. The current exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs, Paris, shows off 125 stunning dresses from the 1920s and 30s (du soir et du jour) all of which are beautifully made and utterly timeless. Guest starring the wooden mannequin Vionnet engineered her scaled-down frocks on, and a fantastic animation of the one-seam dress (I watched it three times and still can't explain how it works, sorry!), it's easy to see why Mme Vionnet was viewed as 'an artist of fashion.'
As a special treat, I'll leave you with another quote, from madame (on good taste), some French bicycles and a lovely postcard from the museum shop (I'm saving up for the Vionnet book).
'Taste is a feeling that makes all the difference between what is beautiful and what is ugly! It is transmitted from mother to daughter. But some people don't need to be educated, they are innately tasteful. I think I'm one of them.'
'Madeleine Vionnet, puriste de la mode’, is on at Les Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris; + 33 01 44 55 57 50, until January 31 2010
Vionnet photos from Les Arts Decoratifs