Saturday, May 19, 2018

That Thing Called Robe de Style

Evening dress (1925).
Photo courtesy of MET

Ah, the 1920's! Who could travel in time and be filled with the glamour of that era! (I am the first one to join). Just after the Great War, a revolution in the way of dressing began, so the women decided to get rid of the oppressive corset in the first place, and put on the straight dresses with the cut just below the knee and the straps leaving uncovered the, until now hidden, arms (Oh, my God!), all this gave them a fragile and rebellious aspect at the same time. They felt free of self-imposed fashions and discovered that the image is also to convey sensuality and freshness (let´s have a good time! They said).





Robe de Style (1922) by Jeanne Lanvin.
Photo courtesy of  MET
Even being the best-known fashion style in those revolutionary years, not all women were really up to dressing in that way, and so the Robe de Style was born. It was the great Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946), by the way, one of my favorite designers, who propelled this style, giving the most demure women a romantic air back to the 18th century. This kind of dress is to die for, long and wide skirts, well below the knee, with superimposed fabrics where the silk (always the silk), metallic thread, glass, pearls, embroidered flowers intermingled and gave it an air of royalty of the 1920s. Their wide necklines put the icing on the elegance personified in this very unknown style today. And then those women walked through the streets of Paris (the cradle of glamour and that nobody says otherwise) wearing these majestic pastel-colored dresses that Lanvin herself created (yes, like you heard). She did not know how to sew or draw, but she had her own workshop of dyes; the most famous one is the blue Lanvin, inspired by a fresco by Fra Angelico. She loved the paintings and because of that, she gave her inimitable personal touch to her designs, the color.



Robe de Style (1924) by Jeanne Lanvin.
Photo courtesy of MET

Here's a suggestion. Visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (MET), where you can find lots of Robe de Style created by Jeanne Lanvin and others as well. It is quite likely that you will be fascinated and that she deserves the recognition. It should be added, as a final culmination, that this fashion house (Maison de couture, in French as it should be) is the oldest one that is still working today, and that is saying a lot.


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