Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fashion Structures

To inaugurate the new Resnick pavilion, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art brings us Fashioning Fashion, an exploration of fabrics, cuts, trims etc. from the late 18th century to the 1910's. The exhibition is very poorly staged, compared to the recent fashion show about American women, at the Met, which featured settings and characters seemingly interacting. Here, each piece is displayed in a box, archive-style. What a lost opportunity!

Next week I will show you my favorite pieces, but in the meantime here are some dramatic fashion structures - various kinds of corsets and other "figure enhancing" devices that are tremendously architectural. By the way, the show also features padded jackets to make men's chests seem bulkier and "waist binders," also for men.
One fascinating phenomenon is how developments in technology allow fashion to be transformed - case in point, this metal panier that could be created thanks to breakthroughs in the use of steel.

Contrasting with all those metal structures, supreme designer Paul Poiret's exquisite 1915 brassière (below) offers another type of support altogether...

22 comments:

Laura in Paris said...

Very interesting. Poiret's bra seems so modern. And as you point out, what a contrast with the iron structures!

Mary-Laure said...

LAURA - yes, Poiret's era was one that saw a liberation of women's bodies. Every time I see one of his creations, I fall in love. So modern!

Sammi said...

o0o i look forward to seeing your favourite pieces :D

Dyche Designs said...

Neat photos . . . some of them make you wonder just how people were able to move in them.

Mary-Laure said...

DYCHE - what I wonder is how women could SIT in those! Ouch!

Pooch Purple Reign said...

cool pieces tho... love the bra. im guessing posture didnt have to be good muscle tone in the day!
~laura

Gabbi said...

Gorgeous Mary-Laure! You remind me that I haven't been to LACMA in years... nearly 8 of them!

Mary-Laure said...

POOCH - excellent point; back then, the corset did the work for you.

GABBI - you should DEFINITELY go to see the exhibition, it's well worth it.

iñaki said...

I will be forever mesmerised by how much attention everyone always paid to fashion in the past. I wish it was like that now as well.

xx

Solange said...

interesting, I guess we can be very thankful to live in an era where we don't have to suffer in order to look good!!

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Mary-Laure
That brassière is so sweet.. and would be fabulous even today.. Thanks goodness we don't need to wear girdles anymore.. that may look lovely from a nostalgic view.. but I wouldn't last a minute!!!

Have a great week xxx ciao Julie

Mary-Laure said...

SOLANGE - I remember a baby sitter braiding my hair when I was little and, as I complained that it hurt, she told me "Il faut souffrir pour être belle" (you must suffer to be beautiful), which is a French saying. I think it's sad to still believe that, especially as it's something that's onyl said to girls!

JULIE - oh yeah, I have NO nostalgia there!

Sam said...

Gosh! I'd love to see this - those wire frame under garments look so pretty!

Keith said...

Wow. Such a cool post. I enjoyed seeing all of these. Hope you had a good weekend.

Robin said...

Cher Mary-Laure.... it is amazing to see what we women were subjected to - all in the name of fashion! Mon Dieu! I have worn a few of these in "period plays"....and truly, it hurt to sit down and to breathe..... I am guessing that is why it was so commoon for women to faint....you gasp for air, get none - and pass out!

Poiret's bra is gorgeous....and sigh....we know it is comfortable!!!!

Love this post!!!!!

Hugs to you and "The Oracle"!

♥ Robin ♥

Mary-Laure said...

SAM - they ARE pretty but, ironically, they weren't meant to be seen!

ROBIN - I know what you mean. I had to wear a period dress once too (18th century style) for a modeling/movie promotion gig in Tokyo of all places (!!!) and I remember, when I took it off, what a RELIEF to be able to move and breathe again. Sheer torture.

hila said...

I have to say, the 1915 brassière is my favourite. I've been considering buying some vintage bras such as this - I remember I tried one in my aunt's house in France - so comfortable!

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

Poiret liberated women by introducing the bra era. Now I must confess that I adore corsets, and I am quite in love with the 1915 brassière. xx

Mary-Laure said...

HILA - if you buy some, you MUST show them to me!

FASHION, ART - I think a lot of women nowadays love corsets because we don't HAVE to wear them anymore, so we can see their beauty and playfulness.

Vanessa said...

Ah, I had forgotten Poiret whom I used to read about so often in history books of that time. It seems to alien to us now being constricted by there structures and just imagine how long it took getting dressed! Still, they're so fascinating to look at.

simon said...

read this post...made me laugh :o)

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