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.
1872
1892
His designs incorporated luxurious fabrics and materials and often included historical references since he found inspiration in the art he was known for visiting at the National Gallery. 
1888
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.
1882
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.
1893
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

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