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Ball Gowns

Emma Davenport

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Ball gowns are considered to be the most extravagant category of evening dress. Although balls date back to the Middle Ages, and historically were seen as dance parties to celebrate all manner of occasions, they reemerged as a popular way to introduce eligible women and men into marriageable society during the mid-1800s. Competition for suitors centered on the expense and opulence of a woman’s ball gown. Subsequently, ball gowns have continued to represent ideals of romantic femininity. On the ca

Christian Lacroix, Spring/Summer 1997

Lorynn Divita

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Lacroix will forever be known as the man who invented the high femininity look during the 1980s. His use of poufs, miniskirts, and corsets may not have been intended to start a debate, but that was the reaction, and his work even became the focus of a chapter of Susan Faludi's feminist tome Backlash. His spring/summer collection of 1997 showed his signature styles with French and ethnic influences. The rise of minimalism caused his look to fall out of favor, but his career continued as a creative

Animal Print

Jenny Evans

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Abbott H. Thayer, artist and naturalist, hailed the coloration and patterning of animals to be the pinnacle of “obliterative camouflage,” yet the use of animal print in fashion serves to draw attention to the wearer. Fabrics and hides printed to mimic the fur or skins of animals have been used in fashionable clothing since the eighteenth century and a catwalk staple since the 1930s. The cultural connotations of animal prints are complex and divisive; they are considered glamorous and gauche in eq

Bill Blass, Spring/Summer 1988

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection was inspired by Matisse paintings that Bill Blass saw while at the National Gallery in Washington. Shown at the Parsons School of Design in New York, the clothes were short and full of froufrou due to the influence of “the sugar daddy of bonbon chic” and designer of the moment Christian Lacroix, and his short, little-girl styles. Hems were well above the knees, which concerned retailers servicing working women needing office-appropriate clothes. Even though critics liked his use o

Christian Lacroix Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 1998

Jennifer Grayer Moore

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

The spring/summer haute couture collection of 1998 by Christian Lacroix is a case study in the high theatrics that came to define much of haute couture design in the 1990s. Bold and clashing colors, patterns juxtaposed to test the very definition of good taste, and incongruous assemblages of historical details that have been inverted and exploded, manipulated, and subverted permeate this collection and beg the question of the role such clothes might play in a woman’s wardrobe. Lacroix’s work, vie

Lacroix, Christian

Pamela Golbin

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

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