Tribute to a genius

“When a woman smiles, then her dress should smile too”.

This was the thought that led French designer Madeleine Vionnet to establish the homonymous fashion house, which found great success during the 1920s and 1930s. Vionnet has since been characterized as the “architect” among dressmakers, after introducing the public to the innovative bias cut in dresses in 1922, that is until today revived by many designers, such as John Galliano. The “magic” that occurred in her “Temple of Fashion”, her personal atelier, created history, as her legendary bias cut dresses rehabilitated the natural curvy female figure that was overrode by the boyish shape which ruled the 1920s fashion sense. Many icons of Hollywood’s golden era, with Katherine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo among them, continually chose to appear on their films, as well as their personal lives, wearing Vionnet’s clothes, making her one of the period’s most famous designers. However, in 1939 Vionnet due to the outbreak of the Second World War decided to close her fashion label, but stayed “alive” through the Union Francaise des Arts du Costume, today part of  the Musée de la Mode et du Textile, in which she donated most of her creations. Vionnet’s house was “awaken” in 2006, many years after her death, and its first collection was created by Greek designer Sophia Kokosalaki, who stayed true to Vionnet’s vision.

Chrysa Darsaklis