Evening dress, ca. 1932
Blotch-dyed silk chiffon crepe
Center back length: 102.9 cm (40 1/2 inches)
Eleanor Fayerweather Puchase Fund and Museum Acquisition Fund 1994.006
Madeleine Vionnet was a master couture dressmaker in Paris from the 1910s through the 1940s. The unusual angular seaming found in most of her designs is not merely decorative but defined how the fabric draped when worn, as with this evening dress. An intuitive sense of the interplay between cloth and the body gave her garments a fluidity that has rarely been equaled. Vionnet’s angled seams and juxtaposition of matte and shiny fabrics are associated with the French Art Deco style of the 1920s, but they may also be seen as an elegant expression of the pared-down modernist International Style of the 1930s.