Paris Between the Wars – “V” is for Madeleine Vionnet

A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib

Between 1919 and 1939, Paris experienced a cultural and intellectual boom. This blog will feature artists, writers, composers, musicians, and designers. Paris was at its cultural peak.

Madeleine Vionnet

Madeleine Vionnet

A French fashion designer who trained in London, Madeleine Vionnet established her first fashion house in Paris in 1912. She was one of the leading fashion designers in Paris from 1919 to 1939. Called the “Queen of the bias cut” and “the architect among dressmakers”, Vionnet is best known for her elegant Grecian-style dresses.

Vionnet evening gown, 1931

Vionnet evening gown, 1931

Vionnet gowns

Vionnet gowns

Vionnet’s bias-cut clothes dominated haute couture in the 1930s, setting trends with her sensual gowns worn by such internationally known actresses as Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo. Vionnet’s vision of the female form revolutionized modern clothing, and the success of her unique cuts assured her reputation. She fought for copyright laws in fashion. She instituted what, at the time, were considered revolutionary labor practices: paid holidays and maternity leave, day-care, a dining hall, and a resident doctor and dentist for her workers. The onset of World War II forced Vionnet to close her fashion house in 1939, and she retired in 1940. Over the course of her career, Madeleine Vionnet created some 12,000 garments.




Most important city for the arts that ever was! You have a good blog Martha Reynolds. I am all for anyone who loves Paris!

It’s been 75+ years since her business and designer ideas were revolutionary. Today a woman leading a company and having the same labor practices are still considered revolutionary. Kind of sad……..

I always loved seeing those bias-cut gowns in the movies. Of course, you had to have the right figure to wear them. Too bad that her career was cut short by the war.

Reblogged this on cicampbellblog and commented:
Martha Reynolds has reached the letter V in her A-Z challenge this month and has written about the French fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet, who designed some fabulous gowns but was also a lady ahead of her times in that she instituted some unheard of conditions for her workers.

A delightful post. Fabulous gowns from an interesting and admirable lady.

A little known name for me, but what an amazing personality and talent. Creativity spans far and wide in so many different areas.

Oh, these gowns are gorgeous. How wonderful to be so creative and have a social conscience too. Thank you for another excellent post, Martha.

Madeleine Vionnet’s bias-cut revolutionized fashion. She’s an icon in the business! I remember studying her work in college. LOVE HER! (My undergraduate degree is in Fashion. Master’s degree in Education.)

Exactly, Denise! That really resonated with me, too. So much talent that was interrupted because of the war.

So sad she had to retire before she probably wanted. Ms. Vionnet was a woman well before her time with those nice benefits for her workers.

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