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Visual & Performing Arts
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Madeleine Vionnet – The Queen Of Bias Cut (Research Paper Sample)



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April 25, 2018
Madeleine Vionnet is a well-known French dressmaker and couture designer during the 19th century. Because of her elegant designs characterized by “bias cuts” that shaped the design during the 1930s, she was popularized and called as the “architect among dressmakers” and the “queen of the bias cut.” However, before dominating the 1930s, Vionett's childhood and life story started with grief and tragedy. In fact, Vionett left school early on and started to work as an apprentice seamstress to be able to help her family. Nonetheless, in spite of having a lot of challenges in her life, this is where Vionett would start to learn her craft further and pursue her passion in the art of Haute Couture. Adding her work experiences (and conflicts) with large fashion houses in her era, the author of this article strongly believes that all of these contributed to her success as she grew up. The challenges and the pitfalls that would lead to the Vionett from being a seamstress to becoming the Queen of the Bias Cut.
The Life of the Queen of Bias Cut
Madeleine Vionnet was born in the town of Chilleurs-aux-Bois on June 22, 1876. Back then Chilleurs-aux-Bois was a poor town where the residents were mostly working on unskilled and underpaid jobs, across different sectors. Madeleine's father, a worker in the town, wanted to give better opportunities to Madeleine and her siblings that they were then forced to move to the Aubervilliers when she was only five years old. However, because of the dire conditions of living, both Madeleine and her other siblings were forced to stop their education and help her father to work and support their family. In doing so, Madeleine worked as an apprentice seamstress in the Garde Champetre. The same place where she would learn most of the trades of craft for creating couture and designing some of her most popular pieces. However, while the Garde Champetre would be one of here guides in becoming one of the most well-known designers of the pre-war era, plenty of other tragedies in her life would still come by such as her divorce with her husband, death of their child, and harsh economic conditions that made her work as a seamstress for the hospital during the war era. Unknowingly, this is where she would meet Kate Reily and work for her as a fitter. After the period of economic unrest, Vionett would find herself back to Paris to work in the same field for the next six years. This time, however, she worked for one of the largest fashion houses in the pre-war era, which is the Callot Soeurs. Despite the number of disagreements with the fashion house during her career, it would be Soeurs that would lead to her ground-breaking design that features simplicity as compared to the house's heavy use of lacy frills and ruffles, such as the “Tea Gown.”[ n.d. Accessed April 26, 2018.] [Ibid.] [Kern, Jerome, Otto Harbach, and Alice Duer Miller. 1933. Roberta: a musical comedy in two acts. Chappell.] []
Following from her detachment from the Soeurs, Vionett would then try to expand her horizon and pursue her ideas by working for a French fashion designer Jaques Doucet. As compared to Souers, a number of the works of the house of Doucet are also simple yet elegant. Aside from this, Doucet's works are mostly characteristic of flimsy translucent materials, which is aimed at highlighting the female beauty. While this is also what Vionett wanted for her designs, it would only be a matter of time, when her choice of the exhibit (lo...

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