Monday, September 16, 2013

History's Runway: An Ermine Evening Coat, 1936

Evening Coat
The Victoria & Albert Museum
With a design that is wholly typical of the 1930s Hollywood look, this fashionable evening coat with its combination of gold satin and supple white ermine is the work of designer Madeleine Vionnet. Vionnet was born in 1875 in Aubervilliers, France and apprenticed to a seamstress at an early age. Later, Vionnet joined Kate O’Reilly, a London dressmaker, in about 1897. 

By 1912, Vionnet had returned to Paris and opened her own celebrated, stylish fashion house. The First World War closed Vionnet’s business, but she re-opened in 1918, moving to 50 avenue Matignon. There, she became known for her glamorous Hollywood-inspired designs such as this coat and her work remained popular until her retirement in 1939.

The attractive coat would have looked stunning over a champagne silk gown, as modeled by one of the V&A's scary mannequins.  

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