Goga Ashkenazi reports that she's bought a stash of original Madeleine Vionnet sketches and is trying to get her hands on as many of her dresses as museums and collectors are willing to let go. Nonetheless, the new Vionnet
is still a work in progress. She and her creative team are well-versed by now in the principles of the groundbreaking designer—the geometric cuts and construction, the simplicity of drape, an Art Deco touch here and there. The question is: Can they build that into a label with relevance for the twenty-first century? And furthermore, can they compete in a world of megabrands like Chanel? Coco, of course, was a contemporary of Madeleine's, but that company has had the benefit of Karl Lagerfeld at its helm for three decades. There's no doubt that Ashkenazi dreams big—she's looking at real estate for a Paris store and headquarters, followed by a shop in New York. The pieces here that hewed closest to Vionnet's legacy looked the strongest—the famous square dress in color-blocked jersey and others like it; a draped, asymmetrical gown in ivory jersey edged in black grosgrain that looked like two pieces, not one.
A shorts suit in lapis blue, burgundy, and gold evoked the color palette of Rudy Paglialunga, one of Vionnet's many short-lived designers. Much of the rest failed to distinguish itself enough to linger in the memory.