We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Madeleine Vionnet Essay Sample

essay
The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 2064
  • Category: body

A limited time offer!

Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

Madeleine Vionnet Essay Sample

In what way did Madeleine Vionnet’s invention of the Bias cut revolutionize the relationship between dress and the body?

“The couturier should be a geometrician, for the human body makes geometrical figures to which the materials should correspond – Vionnet.” (Kirke,1998:18)

This essay will focus on Madeleine Vionnet’s invention and use of the bias cut and how it helped in revolutionizing the relationship between the dress and body. The essay will develop with a brief introduction about Vionnet and her journey towards becoming the Queen of the Bias cut. The essay will continue to focus on understanding the ‘bias cut’ and how it was used by Vionnet to create dresses that were completely different to the dresses that were worn during those times. The dresses will be then compared to Vionnet’s creations to analyse the changes it brought to the body, coming to the conclusion whether Vionnet’s invention brought a revolution to the relationship between the dress and body or not.

Madeleine Vionnet’s book written by Betty Kirke will be the key source of information to develop the essay as it provides information, not only about Vionnet and her life, but also gives a detailed information on her style of construction with deep focus on the bias cut. To analyse the changes that occur to the body with the bias cut dresses in contrast to the dresses from the past, I will use Kyoto Institute book to look at past dresses and their construction techniques and compare them with images of Vionnet’s dresses from online images.

Madeleine Vionnet started her journey to be known as the Queen of the bias cut from an early age of eleven.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) She left school to become the apprentice to the seamstress of aubervilliers after which she travelled to London to be trained under Kate Reilly where she got the privilege to supply to the British Royal Family. (Vionnet Paris.(2012)Madeleine Vionnet.[online][Accessed on 11 december 2012] http://vionnet.com/about/madeleine-vionnet) On her return to France she worked with the famous Callot soeurs and later with Jacques Doucet. (Vionnet Paris.(2012)Madeleine Vionnet.[online][Accessed on 11 december 2012] http://vionnet.com/about/madeleine-vionnet)

Vionnet got a a lot of attention while working with Doucet as most of his clients were famous actresses and Vionnet’s dresses worked best to bring attention to their bodies. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Vionnet called herself a dressmaker.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) A dressmaker’s work is beyond what a seamstress does. Apart from stitching two pieces of fabric together either by hand or machine, a dressmaker integrates the three main elements of dress, the cloth, the body and adornment together beautifully. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) This ability of combining these elements of a dress beautifully made Vionnet the best at her work. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.)

(Vionnet Paris.(2012)Madeleine Vionnet at work. [online image] [Accessed on 11 December 2012] http://vionnet.com/about/madeleine-vionnet

There are three directions of a woven fabric. The straight grain, the cross grain and the bias. Each woven fabrics yarn runs in two ways that are perpendicular to each other. The straight grain is the line running vertically to the salvage line. The cross grain is the line running across the straight grain. The yarn of the fabric does not run in bias. The true bias, therefore runs on a 45 degree angle between the two perpendicular lines. The true bias is where the fabric has its strongest ability to stretch. A square piece of fabric, when held from the corner hangs down and takes a shape of a diamond.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Therefore, the bias cut is used by designers to utilize the greater stretch of the fabric causing it to form perfectly around the body lines and curves and drape softly.(Wikimedia Foundation, inc.,.(2012)Bias textile.[Online] [Accessed on 11 December 2012] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_(textile)(Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.,.(2005)Bias of cloth.[online iimage][Accessed on 11 December 2012]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_(textile))

It is very much contradicting to the common belief that Vionnet invented the bias cut. She never claimed to have done so too. (Kamitsis,L.(1996)Vionnet-Fashion memoir series,Paris:Thames & Hudson Editions) However, she transformed the way the bias was conventionally used by extending its use to the dress as a whole.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Vionnet was the first person to discover the fact that when a fabric was cut and draped diagonally onto a body,it would mould itself to the form and shape of the body without the need of darts to create the required fit.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) She would order more fabric than required and would drape it around her miniature doll to create innovative designs and silhouettes.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Vionnet took her inspiration from the Greek Art which mostly came from the Greek vases with beautifully clothed women on the vases or from the lines of the vase itself. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Vionnet made the cowl neck in the same way as the Chlamys is made in Greek dress.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.)

She retained the simplicity of the Greek dress and made it the basis of her work for the rest of her life. (Kamitsis,L.(1996)Vionnet-Fashion memoir series,Paris:Thames & Hudson Editions) (The Metropolitan Museum of Art.(2006) Statuette of Nike.[online image][Accessed on 11 December 2012] http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/07.286.23) (Barnard,A.(2009) Crepe dress by Vionnet..[online image][Accessed on 11 December 2012] http://girlsguidetoparis.com/archives/madeleine-vionnet/#.UMelrIOmiAg)

In the past centuries, the natural female body has been contorted and distorted with the use of stays and corsets with a variety of methods meant to transform a woman’s body. It wasn’t until the discovery of the bias cut by Madeleine Vionnet, that dresses which enhanced the natural silhouette of woman’s body, were created. Vionnet did not believe in distorting the human body. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) She said, if a woman smiles then her dress should smile too. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Vionnet created a stir in women’s fashion with her introduction of the bias cut.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) The Bias cut has the ability to make the fabric cling to the body and allows the fabric to shape following the silhouette of the body. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) While other designers were involved in finding techniques to conceal a woman’s chest, waist and hips, the bias cut in Vionnet’s dresses only helped to introduce the feminine curves into fashion. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.)

In the past, dresses itself created a certain shape for the body, the dress would create lines for the body to follow, whereas with Vionnet’s dresses, the dress would mould itself to the natural shape of the woman’s body, glorifying the natural curves, making the fabric and the dress, follow the lines of the body. Considering how the dresses from the past portrayed an unrealistic shape of the woman’s body and acted as a shield to keep the natural curves hidden under the dress, it was quite revolutionary in itself to have women walk around in dresses that represented the real female figure. Left image:(Hatakeyama,T.(no date)Robe a la Francais.The Kyoto Costume Institute.[Online image] [Accessed on 11 December 2011] http://www.kci.or.jp/archives/digital_archives/detail_22_e.html) Right image: (Turner,L.(2009)silk wedding dress.[Online image][Accessed on 11 December 2011]http://lesleyturner.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/madeleine-vionnet-and-art-deco.html)

Dresses made in bias are very feminine and sensual. A typical bias cut dress fitted at the torso, has a slim waist and hips with a loose circular skirt, sometimes gathered or pleated down the waist to create more width at the hem. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) It drapes around the feminine curves beautifully without any unnatural stretching, hence making the women look more attractive. Women never wore revealing clothes in the past. Their tight fitted corsets were also covered with layers of ruffles at the top to keep the bust covered.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) With Vionnet’s introduction of the bias cut, her cowl necks and halters also came in. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Such necklines were not worn before as it not only revealed a lot of skin, but enhanced the bosom in its natural curves, which had remained covered firmly under a tight fitted corset for many years. Delicate and translucent fabrics such as Chiffon, satin, georgette, silk velvet and charmeuse with a few others, were used to create the dresses in bias cut.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) These fabrics, particularly the sheer fabrics were too revealing to cover the body or hide corsets if they were even tried to be use. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Thus, corsets were eliminated from her designs. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.)

The revealing feature of the bias cut dress was not limited only to the new necklines but also the loose and low draped backs of the bias dresses by Vionnet. The bias cut not only brought a new kind of dress, but also gave birth to a new relationship between the dress and body. It was not only meant to cover the whole body under a beautiful dress, but to reveal those parts that made the women and the dress look even more beautiful. The women then learnt to flaunt their bodies in the new style of dress. (Turner,L.(2009).Low back panel dress[Online image][Accessed on 11 December 2011]http://lesleyturner.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/madeleine-vionnet-and-art-deco.html)

Corsets, stays and bustles made the women’s figure appear stiff and broad. It also made the women appear short then she actually was. With the introduction of the bias cut, the body no longer appeared stiff due to the fabric moving freely with the movement of the body. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) This simultaneous movement of fabric and the body made the women look leaner and slimmer.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.)

Unlike the stiffness that was created by the corsets etc in the past, the bias cut allowed the fabric to cling to the from of the body.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) This adhering effect gave the dresses a sleek and an elegant look which would make the women appear sleek and tall.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Vionnet’s dresses also demanded a woman to be tall and slim, resulting in a new fashion in the women’s clothing and the way women would desire to look like. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.)

Exaggeration and distortion were two main elements of the dresses in the history. The focus of exaggeration changed from time to time. From mid to the 19th century the focus was on the expansion of big skirts which was achieved by wearing different styles of bustles under the dresses. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Soon it changed to padding on the hips and creating a monobosom. (Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) To balance the shape of the body the emphasis went onto the sleeves, hence the gigot sleeves became the largest sleeves ever changing in style and adornments with time.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.)

All these elements took the dresses away from the natural form of body, while Vionnet’s aim was to get close to the natural form of body and create harmonious dresses which could only be achieved with uncorseted and unpadded bodies.(Kamitsis,L.(1996)Vionnet-Fashion memoir series,Paris:Thames & Hudson Editions) Vionnet’s use of the bias cut led to the creation of dresses which found the correct balance between the proportions of the body and the dress.(Kamitsis,L.(1996)Vionnet-Fashion memoir series,Paris:Thames & Hudson Editions) For the first time, dresses were created that responded to the true proportions of the body. Vionnet did not believe in what type of waistline was in fashion, but believed in adjusting the waistline to match every individuals proportions.(Kirke,B.(1998) Madeleine Vionnet, San Francisco:Chronicle books.) Such adjustments led to revolutionary change in women dressing proportionally instead of looking exaggerated in any manner.

By analysing the changes that occur to the body from two different types of construction and looking at the dresses from the past to compare with the dresses made by Vionnet in bias cut, a revolution can be seen to have occurred in the relationship between the dress and the body. The features of the true bias itself, from it’s ability to stretch, drape and mould or take shapes following the lines and curves of the female form is very different to the dresses from the past and how they connected with the body, thus creating a revolution in the women’s fashion in relation to the dress and body.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Get Access To The Full Essay
icon
300+
Materials Daily
icon
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
icon
Free Plagiarism
Checker
icon
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access
immediately?

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!

logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member