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Tilda Swinton

Barbara Brownie

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Scottish actor, model, and muse Tilda Swinton was born in London in 1960. After graduating from Cambridge she began a career acting on stage, and later in film, winning an Academy Award for her performance in Michael Clayton. She has played muse to fashion designers and artists alike, collaborating on a collection for Viktor & Rolf (2003) and starring in a short film by fashion designer Hussein Chalayan (Absent Present, 2005). In recent years she has been the face of campaigns for designers inclu

Pink

Emma Davenport

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Associated with cultural symbols of affection and sensuality, the color pink has often been used to depict and challenge gender identities. On the catwalk, pink has appeared in the work of a variety of designers including Versace, Chanel, Stella McCartney, and John Richmond. From pastel shades to dazzling brights, pink has been a frequent trend across all seasons, whether used to create a splash of warmth in the winter or a spot of coolness in the summer. Featured both in womenswear and menswear,

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Spring/Summer 1983

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

In 1983, twelve years after Gabrielle Chanel died, the Chanel brand was given new life by Karl Lagerfeld’s debut Chanel collection. His first couture collection was highly anticipated, but was met with mixed reviews. Some believed it was a good first effort that honored Chanel’s legacy, while others believed that the Chanel house should not have been revived because no one could replace her. Lagerfeld kept the silhouettes and classic styles that Chanel popularized in the 1920s and 1930s, but adde

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1984

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Shown at the Palais Garnier in Paris, home of the national opera, this fashion show was the most lavish and over-the-top fashion event in Paris at the time and began Karl Lagerfeld’s tradition of showmanship and set design. As with Karl’s first Chanel collection, this collection was panned for its deviation from Chanel’s trademark of easy comfort, with the classic Chanel suit made in a fitted silhouette that outlined the derrière. But it was also praised by others for updating Chanel’s image from

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1985

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection continued the development of Lagerfeld’s Chanel. Beaded looks were made to look like intricate tapestries and the hems of skirts were either floor-length or well above the knee, a deviation from Chanel’s strict rule of creating skirts 2 in. (5 cm) below the knee, no matter the fashion. The final bridal look was a white satin miniskirt suit. Two-tone, matronly pumps were a Chanel signature; the black stilettos in the collection underscored the younger, sexier direction of the house

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Spring/Summer 1987

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Chanel’s spring/summer 1987 haute couture collection was shown in the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where a student demonstration outside the venue required there to be tight security. On the stage, a fake statue of the Winged Victory was clothed in Chanel and holding a quilted bag. Critics derided the bustle-inspired “parabola” line and peplum hems that “obscured the real fashion originality” and “made the models look a bit like roosters.” Despite the criticism, the empire

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1990

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

In this collection, presented in the Champs-Élysées cinema, Karl Lagerfeld introduced the “slope,” a new iteration of the Chanel jacket that featured a narrow-fitting shoulder line. The clothes were influenced by a combination of eighteenth-century robes à la française and the mod 1960s, with open panniers that revealed miniskirts and thigh-high boots. The playfulness of the collection spoke to the young and daring attitude of the new couture customer. For the finale, Lagerfeld presented three br

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1991

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection is an example of what Bernadine Morris at the New York Times termed “the new age of haute couture,” where couture was about exploring directional, fashion-forward concepts instead of just creating opulent clothing. Presented at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Lagerfeld subverted stiff, prom-dressy tulle by molding it into gaucho pants, puffy parkas, and bubble dresses. Atypical fabrics like cellophane and plastic were used on classic tweed jackets. He also introduce

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Spring/Summer 1997

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection was shown at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, in the Windsor suite—in the mode of a traditional salon show. It drew positive reviews, with one saying it was “the height of refinement … how a couture customer wants to look.” Yet, it focused mostly on evening wear, with sheer, lightweight fabrics. Despite the raciness of the revealing dresses, they looked traditional and refined. To underscore the refinement, Chanel’s logo was absent from the garments. Picture hats and “feather-on-a-stick”

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Spring/Summer 1994

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection was shown in Paris beneath the Louvre in the newly renovated Carrousel underground complex, the first time a fashion show had been organized underground. The collection attracted controversy because of three dresses printed with Arabic writing. When clerics in Indonesia protested, Lagerfeld apologized, destroyed the dresses, and asked journalists and photographers not to publish photos of them. The mannequins in this show were not just top models, but celebrities and actresses. Th

The Chanel “2.55” Handbag, Fall/Winter 1995

Julia Rea

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Since its introduction in February 1955, the “2.55” handbag has formed an integral and enduring part of the House of Chanel’s stylistic vocabulary of accessories. Its recurring role as an immediately recognizable and iconic symbol of both the brand’s unique heritage and contemporary identity is a rare example of a fashion object that embodies a contradictory blend of permanence and continuous renewal. By examining the historical context of the 2.55 bag through the lens of a contemporary version,

Coco Chanel

Aimee Scott

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

Designers and Models Become Brands

Pamela Church Gibson

Source: Fashion and Celebrity Culture 2012

Book chapter

In 1921, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel launched one of the most successful scents of all time (Groom 1997: 21). The iconic oblong bottle for Chanel No. 5, still revered, was carefully designed to her own very strict specifications, and she selected its contents from several versions created by parfumier Ernest Béaux (Charles-Roux 2009). Meanwhile, once established as a designer, she herself also became a fashion leader; she was constantly photographed and always mindful of publicity, whether it was in

Tweed

Fiona Anderson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Tweed cloth originated in Scotland in the early nineteenth century. At that time, it was only made from woolen yarns in the twill weave. From the 1820s to the present, tweed has been characterized by a huge range of color and weave effects. The main account given for the origins of the name tweed is that it is based on a misreading of the Scottish word tweel or twill (which was the weave characteristic of Scottish woolens at that time) for tweed. By the 1840s, tweed was established as a term used

France

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The French Revolution abolished the rigid dress etiquette and bureaucracy of the ancien régime fashion industry. Napoleon’s campaigns inspired fashions with soldierly details and created a vogue for exotic accessories. His imperial court ensured the survival of French luxury goods industries, while promoting a more modern silhouette. Napoleon encouraged pre-Revolutionary tastes for classical Greek and Roman styles, to glorify his own reign. The restoration of the Bourbon monarchy and the Romantic

Chanel, Gabrielle (Coco)

Amy de la Haye

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Chanel sang during evening concerts at a fashionable café called La Rotonde. It is believed that her rendition of the song “Qui qu’a vu Coco dans le Trocadéro” earned her the nickname “Coco.” Chanel started to mix in fashionable circles when she went to live in 1908 with Étienne Balsan, who bred racehorses on his vast estate at La Croix-Saint-Ouen. Chanel’s astute choice of clothing—her neat tailor-made suits and masculine riding dress—and modest demeanor served to mark her out from the other cou

Little Black Dress

Liz Gessner

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The little black dress has long been a star of page and screen, its ability to convey meaning a powerful tool. Edith Wharton’s Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence wore black and shocked New York’s high society when she decided to get a divorce. Majorie Morningstar, the eponymous heroine of Herman Wouk’s novel, wore black, as did Mrs. Danvers of Rebecca. Jeanne Moreau was an image of perfection in her Chanel little black dress, chignon, and pearls in Louis Malle’s The Lovers. But in The Bride Wo

Fashion Icons

Pamela Church Gibson

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born into a wealthy family and raised to a life of privilege. Her 1953 marriage to Senator Jack Kennedy at the wealthy enclave of Newport, Rhode Island, was one of the most glittering social events of the decade. Mrs. Kennedy became a popular figure during the 1960 presidential campaign; after her husband’s election, her beauty, love of clothes, and sense of style set her apart from her rather plain predecessors as First Lady, Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower. Criticize

Gender

Gertrud Lehnert

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The basic distinction between female and male dress in the Western world is between women’s skirts and men’s bifurcated trousers. Only in the twentieth century was this abandoned—but in one direction, since, even today, men do not wear skirts, despite some attempts by fashion designers. This does not indicate that trousers are more natural for men, but that in the West, they denote supremacy and masculinity. From the late Middle Ages onwards, increasing emphasis was put on gender differentiation

The Dynamics of Fashion in West Europe

Bo Lönnqvist

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Fashion in Europe can be defined as a cultural phenomenon since about 1500. Sociological definitions of fashion have emphasized collective and individualistic processes, expressed in such notions as: leaders and adherents, court fashion, bourgeois fashion and social class, fashion restrictions, and mass fashion. All can be found in West Europe, where modern fashion originated. Social change, reflected in changing fashions, has been closely connected with cultural change. Sumptuary laws promulgate

Lagerfeld, Karl

John S. Major

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Fragrances and Perfumes

Brian Moeran

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The development of modern perfume may be traced to the court of Louis XIV (1643–1715), whose palace at Versailles had no bathrooms. Quantities of perfume were used at court, primarily to mask odors. In the fifth century, an Arab perfumer, Avicenna, had pioneered the distillation of rose water. Arab perfumers established businesses in Granada, and from the eleventh century onwards, the crusaders brought back knowledge of Oriental fragrances to Europe. The first alcohol-based eau de toilette was l’

Art Nouveau and Art Deco

Lou Taylor

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

This appropriation of art nouveau styling coincided with the moment in the history of couture when a united business structure was firmly established by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Unrivaled elsewhere in the Western world, Paris couturiers dressed the women of international royal courts and high society including in Japan and tsarist Russia, the wives of the wealthiest international plutocrats, and the great actresses of the Paris stage. Commercial clients already included the

Style: The Endless Desire for a New Look

Annette Lynch and Mitchell D. Strauss

Source: Changing Fashion. A Critical Introduction to Trend Analysis and Meaning 2007

Book chapter

The new fashionable figure is growing straighter and straighter, less bust, less hips, more waist, a wonderfully long, slender suppleness about the limbs … The long skirt … reveals plainly every line and curve of the leg from hip to ankle. The petticoat is obsolete, prehistoric. How slim, how graceful, how elegant women look! The leg has suddenly become fashionable.

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