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EuropeanaFashion Explore fashion - historical clothing and accessories, contemporary designs, catwalk photographs, drawings, sketches, plates, catalogues and videos - from museums and archives across Europe.
Europeana Fashion brings together the digitised collections of more than 30 European public and private institutions.
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Aristocratic Fashion: Simonetta Simonetta Colonna di Cesarò is one of the most representative creators of Italian high fashion after the Second World War. Renamed by the Americans 'The Glamorous Countess', Simonetta is an example of both strong personality and savvy entrepreneur, who knows how to perfectly combine creativity and business. Her creations were beautiful, exclusive and handmade - from evening dresses to cocktail dresses, to jumpsuits, from lines that mark the silhouette to those that wrap the figure up in mysterious drapes. Simonetta Colonna di Cesarò right before taking a LAI plane, courtesy Archivio Luce, Cinecittà Luce S.p.a., all rights reserved Born in Rome in April 1922, in the family palace of via Gregoriana, she is the daughter of the duke Giovanni, an intellectual democrat, and the duchess Barbara, of the Conti Antonelli family, of Russian origins. Simonetta was educated according to the rules of an elegant and cosmopolitan living. However, adventure characterize her life since her youth:she was first sent to confinement by order of the regime and later she arrested because she was acused of being part of the resistance. Then, shortly before the Liberation of Rome in June 1944, she prepared for her wedding with Gaio Visconti and started her career as a fashion designer. In 1946 she opened an atelier in the family palace and organized a presentation of the first collection: fourteen models, all charaterized by a bold and chic taste inspired by post-war bricolage. This event leads her to be, at twenty-four, the youngest and most promising Italian couturière. In 1949, his fashion-creation met with the appreciation of buyers from US department stores, Bergdorf Goodman and Marshall Field, who arrived in Italy in search of a sartorial style that was alternative to that of French fashion. In 1951 she presented her olletion in Florence and then she went to New York, to present to the overseas public the collection designed exclusively for Bergdorf & Goodman. Since 1957 the Simonetta developed a line of sportswear, a sort of proto ready-to-wear in Italy: it is the triumph of knitwear creations, practical and chic at the same time, both for ski and beachwear. In 1953 she married tailor Alberto Fabiani in second wedding. Both followed separate careers until 1962, when they decided to work together and present their brand on the Parisian scene. The creative partnership lasted until 1964, the year in which Fabiani returns to his Roman atelier and Simonetta launches the Haute Boutique formula in Paris. In 1969 he met the guru Swami Chidananda and starts rethinking her life and connect withg her spirituality. In 1971 she left Paris and the world of high fashion to move to India, where she settled in an ashram, devoting herself to the practice of meditation and the study of oriental philosophies. 15 May 08:34 blog
Chasuble of black silk velvet, with orphreys of crimson silk... Chasuble of black silk velvet, with orphreys of crimson silk velvet, embroidered in coloured silks, silver-gilt and silver thread and spangles, garment and embroidery made in England, silk possibly made in Italy or Spain, 1510-33. Courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, CC BY. 14 May 05:45 tumblr
Perukes: Costume to Custom Although the use of wigs is attested since ancient times, it was between sixteenth and eighteenth centuries that ‘perukes’ - this the way they were called - really became an indispensable accessory, for women as well as (if not more!) for men. Peruke of Pruik van Egbert de Vrij, Major of Amsterdam. Courtesy Amsterdam Museum, CCO The uses were various: hygienic and medical purposes, but above all wigs were an integral part of ceremonial and occupational dress, able to signal the social role and status of the person wearing one of a particular kind. At the end of sixteenth century, the syphilis epidemic spread all around Europe, and therefore the members of the upper classes afflicted by the disease attempted to safeguard their reputation and appearance by covering their balding pate with elaborate and apparently perfect peruke, often made with human hair. Samuel Pepys, talking about his brother who acquired syphilis, wrote, “If [he] lives, he will not be able to show his head—which will be a very great shame to me.’ Also spiritual leaders and high ranking officials have been known over the centuries to cover their head when performing their duties. The traditional use of wigs became then part of the dress code of members of the court, professionals, officials. Louis XIV started balding at 17, so it is reported that he hired 48 wigmakers to save his image. Some time later, Charles II king of England did the same thing, when his hair started to gray, and the members of both the French and the English courts followed their kings. By the late eighteenth century, the trend started to disappear, but some roles maintained the use of wigs, turning a fashion into enduring tradition 10 May 04:55 blog
Orphrey panel of linen embroidered in silver, silver-gilt and... Orphrey panel of linen embroidered in silver, silver-gilt and silk threads, made in England, 1380-1410. Orphrey panel, originally from a chasuble of a cope, is of linen embroidered in silver, silver-gilt and silks in underside couching, split stitch and with a little raised work. Depicts a scene from the life of St Thomas of Canterbury, showing Thomas (after having fled from England in 1163) being received by Pope Alexander III. Courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, CC BY. 09 May 07:17 tumblr
Europeana Fashion Focus: MMM x H&M Dress, 2013 Jersey dress part of the collaboration between Maison Martin Margiela and H&M, 2013. Photo Piotr Szaradowski, courtesy Muzealne Mody, all rights reserved The picture shows a dress made of light jersey featuring a trompe-l’oeil print with a motif that visually recreates the silhouette of a heavily embroidered, sequined dress. It is a re-edition of a Maison Martin Margiela dress from the Spring/Summer 1996 collection, made for the collaboration the Maison did with the fast-fashion brand H&M in 2013. The collaboration between Maison Martin Margiela and H&M was more of a retrospective than an ‘original’ collection made of new and never-before-seen items: the designers from the Maison decided to look back at the history of the brand itself, carefully selecting from various collections the pieces that most characterized the aesthetic of the brand itself. The collection counted some of the ‘staples’ of the fashion house, reissued for the occasion: Painted jeans, jackets made from leather belts, camel topcoats with the collars shorn off, oversized jackets, shoes with invisible heel. As declared copies, all the items came with a special tag connecting them with their ‘original’: the tag gave informations about the collection the piece - as a design - was first presented. This dress is part of Muzealne Mody, a collection of fashion and costume from 1800 onwards. The collection was put together by fashion historian Piotr Szaradowsk; it is mostly focused on French fashion and Parisian couture and includes, among others, breath-taking pieces by Schiaparelli, Paquin, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. In collaboration with Piotr Szaradowski, part of the collection has been now included on the Europeana Fashion channel, which can be browsed at this link: https://bit.ly/2jwsa62. 06 May 22:36 blog
Wedding silk gown decorated with Lalique’s glass... Wedding silk gown decorated with Lalique’s glass butterflies, designed by Julien Fournié for Torrente, shown on runway at autumn winter couture collection; France, Paris, 2004.Courtesy Muzealne Mody, all rights reserved. 05 May 06:42 tumblr
Fashion between the new and the forgotten: Rose Bertin "Il n'y a de nouveau que ce qui est oublié" (There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.) Rose Bertin is often referred to as the first fashion designer. These words are said to be the ones she used with her most prominent client, Queen Marie Antoinette, when describing the new styles she was going to ‘craft’ for her. Pariser Coeffuren: Chien-couchant avec un pouf, print by Joachim Pauli, second half of eighteenth century. Courtesy Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, CC BY NC SA Bertin begun her career in fashion as a milliner and marchande de mode. She opened her shop at the beginning of 1770s on Rue Saint Honoré; In The Grand Mogol, this the name of the shop, Bertin used to sell trimmings, lace and other embellishments to the noblewomen of Paris. Soon her clientele counted many members of the French court, who appreciated her advice and followed what Bertin told them about how to style themselves. In 1972 she was introduced to the new queen of France, Marie Antoinette. She concentrated on the hairdos of the queen, designing them to fit occasion and make them into material celebrations of events. The most famous is surely the pouf a l'inoculation, reared to celebrate the Kings' vaccination in June 1774. "It represented a rising sun, and an olive-tree laden with fruit, round which a serpent was twisted, holding a flower-wreathed club. The classical serpent of Esculapius represented medicine, and the club was the force which could overcome disease. The rising sun was the young King himself, great-grandson of the Roi-Soleil, to whom all eyes were turned. The olive-tree was the symbol of peace, and also of the tender affection with which all were penetrated at the news of the happy success of the operation which the King and the Royal Family had undergone.” Examples of poufs on Gallerie des Modes et du Costume Français, second half of eighteenth century. Courtesy Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, CC BY NC SA Bertin’s influence on the Queen's wardrobe, and on the dreams of the population not only in France, but all over Europe, that she was given the nickname of 'Minister of Fashion’ by her detractors, since she dictated all the styles - even the most daring, lavish and ostentatious - promoted and fostered by the Queen. The desire her creations produced was literally spread out thanks to the ‘ Pandores’: dolls made of wax, wood or porcelain dressed in the latest fashions and sent to foreign countries in order to show the latest Parisian styles and commission them to their local dressmakers. With the revolution, Bertin was forced to lose her business and move to London where she opened another shop. Once the Revolution was over Rose returned to Paris, and soon regained her status: one of her new customers was in fact Joséphine de Beauharnais, the soon-to-be empress of France. 01 May 07:30 blog
The Origins of Millinery Although men and women covered their heads for various reasons since the antiquity, It was between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that hats began to be widely used in western culture; hats quickly became sign of status and social standing and marking ceremonies and special occasions. Hats also caused the emergence of a new profession, that of the milliner. Straw hat, 1700 ca. Courtesy Stiftelsen Nordiska museet, CC BY-NC-ND. The term 'milliner' was first used in London around sixteenth century. It describe a seller of women's fashion items imported from Milan - in fact at first they were called ‘the Milaners’. They used not only to sell headpieces, but ribbons, gloves, trims and other accessories. Later, the word came to identify the person making hats and bonnets, initially with straw and then with the most diverse materials: from fabrics such as silk, velvet, taffeta, to leather, felt and fur. By the eighteenth century in European and American cities millinery shops abounded, competing in selling the most precious accessories to complete the look of a fashionable ensemble. The first name associated with millinery is surely that of Rose Bertin, called in French marchande de mode. Her shop, or better her fashionable salon, Le Grand Moghul, situated on rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, was the best in Paris, for both the materials and the gossip that circulated there. Bertin’s fame was fostered by her most known client, Queen Marie Antoinette. 25 Apr 22:14 blog
Stephen Jones, the Milliner ‘A hat makes clothing identifiable, dramatic and, most importantly, fashion … It’s the cherry on the cake, the dot on the ‘i’, the exclamation mark, the fashion focus. Everyone from showgirls to dictators knows that by wearing a hat they will be centre of attention.’ For sure Stephen Jones knows how to make hats that get everybody’s attention. For over forty years now, the English milliner designed hats for his own collections and for many great designers and fashion houses, from Vivienne Westwood to Dior. 'Velocity' hat, designed by Stephen Jones, 1998. Courtesy MoMu - ModeMuseum Provincie Antwerpen, all rights reserved. Born in Cheshire, Stephen Jones moved to London to study fashion at the Central Saint Martin School of Art and Design. The city in the late Seventies was home to a creative turmoil that found its expressions in the whimsical parties thrown in underground clubs, like The Blitz, which the milliner frequented wearing on his head his own creations. By 1980, Stephen Jones opened his first boutique and atelier, in which he sold his first creations to loyal clients, from music stars to Royals. 'Lupina' hat, designed by Stephen Jones, 2006-07. Courtesy MoMu - ModeMuseum Provincie Antwerpen, all rights reserved. His hats reflect the multitude of his inspirations and his desire to amaze and wonder and the collaborations with designers shows how the can stress his crafts to interpret the glamour of John Galliano’s fashion to the punk crafts of Vivienne Westwood and the more conceptual vision of Comme des Garçons. In 2009, Jones even curated an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, entitled ‘Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones’. Referencing the exhibition curated in 1971 by Cecil Beaton, the milliner selected from the Museum’s archive hats and head-pieces to tell with his own words the history and craft of millinery, from research and inspirations, and through the atelier to the boutique; a creative path that he since long has learned to enjoy and overturn. 23 Apr 21:32 blog