We love: Madeleine Vionnet


If you are in Paris between now and the end of January take a trip to the at the Les Arts De Coratifs to see the stunning Madeleine Vionnet, puriste de la mode, exhibition. This major restrospective devotes  two floors to Madeleine Vionnet, selected from her major works between 1912 and 1939, featuring, 22 dresses, 750 dress patterns and 75 photo albums.

Marie Madeleine Valentine Vionnet was born to a modest family in Chilleurs-aux-Bois in the Loiret region of France in1876. She headed to London at the age of 20, to learn English and dressmaking, leaving behind her husband and child (who died during her absence).

Vionnet began her professional career as a 'fitter' at the house of Kate Reily and learned the ins and outs of business and worked with a rich and cultivated clientele. Back in Paris in 1901, she introduced herself to Callot Souers, one of the most important fashion houses and after working there for five years, she opened her own fashion house at 222 rue de Rivoli.

Madeleine Vionnet’s entire career was marked by her constant quest for perfection which continues to inspire couturiers such as Azzedine Alaia, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and John Galliano today.

She famously said “Taste is a feeling that makes all the difference between what is beautiful and what is merely showy – and also what is ugly! It is transmitted from mother to daughter. But some people don’t need to be educated: they are innately tasteful. I think I am one of them.”

This amazing collection is supremely glamorous and technically stunning and will surely influence designers for many more years to come. Vionnet said she 'did not design her clothing to be fashionable, but to last a lifetime. A mantra we love here at the Womens Room.

Madeleine Vionnet: Puriste de la mode
Les Arts Décoratifs,
24 of June 2009 to 31 of January 2010.
107 rue de Rivoli
75001, Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 55 57 50

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