Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dress of the Day - August 3, 2011

Dress of the Day: Jeanne Paquin, Evening Cloak / Manteau du soir, "La Joueuse de Théorbe" (1914). Drawing by George Barbier in the Gazette du Bon Ton.
This is one of the most captivating images of fashion I have ever seen. It is the product of two talented and skilled creative minds - Paquin as designer and Barbier as artist. What are we looking at? A woman playing a theorbo, a lute with 16th-century origins, wearing a luxurious mantle of black and pink velvet, trimmed in fur, with geographic-printed fabric embracing a plunging, open back. She is playing outside at night, in front of an pagoda-like temple with a fountain. A tiny red shoe peeks out from her cloak, matching the red tassel hanging from her music. Many layers of history and imagery are referenced here - The Orient, The Renaissance, Art Deco.
To me, this image is a vivid example of fashion inviting the wearer (and the viewer) to a realm of imagination. Is the woman really in the scene or did her evening mantle transport her to this fantastic setting? Or perhaps, just as the hem of her cloak dips out below the frame towards us, great fashion invites us to live in the world around us and let our imagination take flight.

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