The House of Tatterdemalion

Unfashionable, unskilled, inexpensive--but still sewing.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Web Trail. . .

It's a gray, clammy, cold Saturday afternoon, so I'm websurfing. I started with a Google search of Alix Gres, whom I've heard very little about. I saw one picture of her work in a book, and it intrigued me. I'm glad I looked. . .here's where I've been:

First stop is a site called "History of Fashion and Costume". It's huge site, one which one can easily get lost in and spend lots and lots of time. (Did I mention you lose track of the passing of time? I just remembered I had a batch of bread in the oven that was trying to burn!!) Alix Gres may be found under "Fashion Designers" under the "G" listing (for Gres, Madame Alix). From what I looked at this site (as previously said, it's huge, so it may very from place to place) it is thorough but brief, much like reading an encyclopedia. Although I learned a lot about Alix Gres, there were unfortunately few photos of her work. I wish they had a gallery. The listing for "Costumes" was another place I got lost, which is about historical regional costumes. Ancient costumes include listings from Sumer, Egypt, Crete-Minoan, Greece, Etruscan, Rome, and Byzantium. It not only speaks of clothes, foot-wear, head-wear, jewelry, common motifs, and armor, but also brief descriptions of the peoples and how they lived.

Stop number two is the Metropolitan Museum of Art (here, specifically costume). I'd briefly been here before, but since the site is trying to cover all of art (and not just clothing) it's harder to find what you want. When you do find it, though, they have great pictures! I saw a piece of this dress on the History of Fashion and Costume, and had been dying to see what the full dress looks like. (This shredded ivory silk chiffon and tiered silk organza dress by Alexander McQueen reminds me of a wild goat. Apparently, having read it's description, it's supposed to reminiscent of a sea-shell.) This is all that they have on Gres. . .do click on the links for the descriptions. Often times they talk about how the dress was constructed, and point out things that you might not otherwise notice.

Kent State University always has just enough to get you interested, and then leaves you hanging! Their exhibition on Spirals and Ellipses: Clothing the Body Three-Dimensionally has several pieces of Gres', but that's all that they have of hers (as far as I can find).

And that was pretty much the end of my browsing. There were a lot of links to books, and several in French, and a lot on perfume, but no more easy-find, easy-read. I find someplace talking about a relative un-known, turning up in my search merely because he is supposedly inspired by the likes of Alix Gres and Madame Vionnett. So I looked him up (Chado Ralph Rucci, here's a bunch of pictures from his Fall 2004 show). According to Fashion File, he's the first American designer to be invited to the Chambre Sydicale de la Courture Parisienne in over fifty years. Kent State (as well as lot of other people, in their own phrasing of it) he is "impervious to fads and to the increased theatricality of the couture world". They also say "The quality of Ralph Rucci's work is exceptional in both his ready-to-wear and couture garments. His trademark meandering seams and gussets allow for better fit and ease of movement and, like most of the hand processes he and his staff develop, are a great source of pride." While this all sounds very fascinating, I'm sorry to say that his designs struck me as rather boring. To be able to examine the construction details in your hand must be very informative and striking. But when you can only see them from a distance, his work is taken down to nothing but design; and his lines and colors don't capture my imagination or my attention.

And that is the end of my browsing for today. . .


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