Charles James – pattern and photography

Life-size composition by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
Life-size composition by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.

We started our museum visits at The Costume Institute to select and create an initial pattern for the Charles James dress. For conservation reasons, museums do not allow researchers to touch their objects – a rule that made Patrick and Esme (P&E) a bit anxious, since they had never done a pattern out of a garment they could not touch. But as they say, some of the best ideas come out of limitations! Liam took a number of detail photographs of our selected dress, which he then had printed on life-size and later digitally stitched together.

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Halston – Research

‘The Strapless’ in Women’s Wear Daily, August 1976

Unlike our other chosen dresses, Halston’s sarong dress (in all its variations) was widely featured in the press. Here are some of its appearances, as they were found so far. Thank you to the staff in The Museum at FIT for sharing them with us during our New York visit in April 2018.

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Vionnet – Copyright photographs

Madeleine Vionnet was passionately against plagiarism, adopting a number of clever measures to protect her work. In 1919 she started taking copyright photographs (front, side and back) for each garment she produced. Later these evolved into a single snap simultaneously showing all three views through the clever positioning of mirrors. Each garment was also christened with its own unique name and number, and labelled with Vionnet’s signature and fingerprint.

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