Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father of Couture

"Empress Eugenie" by Franz Xavier Winterhalter, 1854
On Father’s Day images of hardware and tool boxes abound as gift ideas for dads. But for the Father of Couture, you would have needed to think twice about the traditional presents since his tool box more likely included a needle and thread instead of a hammer and nail.
Charles Frederick Worth is known as the first couturier not only because of his lavish one-of-a-kind creations, but also because of his ability to self promote the House of Worth. 
"Empress Elisabeth of Austria" by Franz Xavier Winterhalter, 1864
Before the age of the internet and social media, Worth was able to reach ladies far and wide. Instead of a post on Instagram or a starlet wearing his gown on the red carpet, Worth became famous through royal portraits of the lovely ladies he dressed.
"The Empress Eugenie Surrounded by Her Ladies" by Franz Xavier Winterhalter, 1855
With loyal fans like Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugenie, Worth was the premier dress designer.
His designs incorporated luxurious fabrics and materials and often included historical references since he found inspiration in the art he was known for visiting at the National Gallery. 
Whether constructing a day dress or a gown worthy of a court occasion, the designs were meticulously constructed and featured details that emphasized the beauty of the wearer.
During his time designing in the mid to late 1800s, the female silhouette would shift from the use of a large hoop to a bustle and then the S-shape. Through the evolving trends, the use of a corset would continue, allowing Worth’s dresses to emphasize the waist and feminine shape.
Hundreds of years later, Worth’s work as a couturier continues to impact fashion today. Couture houses spend hundreds of hours producing works of art that we often see on the Hollywood red carpets or at events like the Met Gala. 
 Dior Spring 2010 Couture
Even though the era of fast fashion is in full swing, the timeless craft of couture lives on with designers at brands like Chanel and Dior.
 Chanel Spring 2013 Couture

Runway Photos: Vogue
About the Designer: Met Museum

Saturday, June 17, 2017

She's a Firebird

You’ve likely heard the term, “She’s a firecracker,” but what about “She’s a firebird?”
P. Garst Firebird costume from 1936
The classic ballet, The Firebird, that originally premiered in Paris in 1910 continues to mesmerize audiences with its story of love and triumph. 
Tamara Karsavina as the Firebird by Adrian Allison, 1890
The Firebird flutters across the stage with the strings of Stravinsky’s orchestral creation. Following the story of a Russian legend, she crosses paths with a lost prince in the woods. Her feathers provide protection and beauty, and ultimately help him overcome an evil sorcerer.
Atlanta Ballet's The Firebird
There have been a variety of interpretations of what the Firebird looks like, including the portrayal by Misty Copeland seen below.

To see and hear a glimpse of the ballet, here’s a clip from the San Francisco Ballet. 

After recently seeing The Firebird performed, I couldn’t help but notice the coppery red color of the Firebird in Elie Saab’s Resort 2018 collection.

Bright yet powerful, the warm hue conveys a youthful vibrancy.

Some of the fabrics included a feathering effect with lighter shades and touches of other colors. 

Could it be that the designer also had birds on the brain?

Runway Photos: Vogue
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