The first proper post of 2013 has taken it’s own sweet time but has finally escaped the WordPress drafts limbo. Hurrah!
Back in November, Christie’s held a vintage clothing auction called ‘Vintage Couture’.Whilst I’m not entirely sure that Ossie Clarke and Zandra Rhodes tea dresses count as couture (they definitely don’t) there were enough pieces of the Real Deal to make it well worth a look, including some obscenely beautiful 1920s Jeanne Lanvin pieces and a shedload of Christian Dior.
This piece was one of the most exiting in my opinion; an incredibly rare piece from Dior’s first ever collection, 1947′s ‘La Corolle’. As Laura Jones at Vanity Fair has stated:‘This collection ‘re-imagined women as flowers … suddenly the Western world was a garden of bell shapes and full skirts, with women loving the way they looked and felt in Dior’s deep curves formed from yards and yards of silk.’This blouse is a beautiful example of how exactly how Dior manipulated material; using a multitude of pleats and pin-tucking to create his signature silhouette. Hopefully, this beauty is now resting easy in a pristine white box, next to a Bar jacket.
In a dream world, the V&A would have bought it and put it on display. Conservation and display are probably the two biggest problem facing curators of historical costumes; natural fibres, by their very nature, degrade very quickly if not kept in absolutely perfect conditions, and even then are often so fragile that custom-made mannequins are needed in order to display them without causing stress to the fabric.
Keeping everything looking tip-top is a time-consuming and massively expensive business, no better illustrated than in this article from the conservation department at the V&A. It tells the story of a super-duper rare Dior ‘Zemire’ ensemble (above) being brought back to life kicking and screaming by a very determined curator, Claire Wilcox, and an entire team of scientists and cleaning experts. I don’t want to ruin the ending, so pop over and read it!