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September 2 2014

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Art and Fashion Meet in Milan

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Vionnet’s Goga Ashkenazi and W‘s Stefano Tonchi hosted an opening party in Milan last night for Thayaht: Between Art and Fashion. Ashkenazi recently acquired a collection of illustrations Thayaht made of dresses designed by Madeleine Vionnet between 1919 and 1925. Famous for inventing the bias cut, the French couturier never sketched; rather, she draped all of her pieces on eighty-centimeter mannequins. Originally hired to design the house’s logo, Thayaht, an Italian futurist artist and industrial designer, born Ernesto Michahelles (he liked the palindromic qualities of his nom de paint brush, apparently), became her collaborator and documentarian. “There’s nothing more graceful than seeing the garment float freely on the body,” Vionnet once said. Thayaht’s drawings would seem to confirm that; some of the dresses look startlingly modern, despite being made nearly a century ago. Among the sixty sketches in the collection, a few include the name of the client for whom the dress was made. “They put the idea of body types in perspective, because the drawings were about the client, not about the idealized woman,” Tonchi told Style.com. “One of Vionnet’s big revelations was to eliminate the waistline,” he added. There’s some debate about who, exactly, freed women from the corset—Poiret, Chanel, or Vionnet—but Ashkenazi has her answer. “Vionnet—she made us all comfortable.”

Thayaht: Between Art and Fashion is open at Milan’s Museo Poldi Pezzoli until February 25.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

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Dept. of Culture