Sonia Delaunay and Art Deco Design
Following the art nouveau fashion inspiration, 1920s art deco design made by Paris couturiers influenced a new fashion look. Separated in two phases, one from about 1910 to 1924, built around neoclassical, oriental styling, and a second one starting from 1924 to 1930, influenced by modernist touches, Art Deco design brought into fashion new prints and colours.
|Sonia Delaunay at her studio, 1925|
One of the key designers of the time influenced by art in her way of thinking fashion, is Sonia Delaunay, artist and textile designer, who’s creations have been correlated to Fauvism, Van Gogh’s and Gauguin’s paintings. For her, the colours were defined by a ‘dynamic art’ and ‘simultaneity’, term used often in Michel-Eugène Chevreul’s theory. The bold combination of colours and fabrics found often inspiration in music from which Sonia Delaunay constructed the first ‘simultaneous dress’ in 1913, consisting from mixed colours as ‘antique rose, yellow-orange, Nattier blue, scarlet, etc., appearing on different materials[…] woollen cloth, taffeta, tulle, flannelette, watered silk, and peau de soie’.
|Simultaneous Dress, 1923|
In 1921 she started to see inspiration in Dada Movement and among the Surrealist Poets. So, she developed a new style, called poem-dresses, by juxtaposing geometric blocks of colours and lines of poetry by Tristan Tzara and Philippe Soupault onto garments.
Delaunay’s textiles were very different from the naturalistic design popular at the beginning of the decade. She produced a range of fabrics incorporating geometric shapes like squares, triangles, diamonds and stripes, of both, strong and bold colours like blue, red, yellow.
|Simultaneous fashion, 1923|
|Window display of the designs|
Delaunay’s success with fashion stays partly in the adoption of liberating the silhouette for female clothing from the World War I. Her creations and art had influenced the work of contemporary fashion designers as Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, Perry Ellis or Yves Saint Laurent.
Here are some of the creations inspired by Art Deco for AW/12.
|Ralph Lauren AW12|
|Holy Fulton AW12|
|David Koma AW12|
|House of Holland|
Bonnie Cashin, the Twentieth Century Fox designer
The first half of the twentieth century was marked by numerous significant political and social changes: war, activism, changes in the perception of women, all manifested themselves in fashion. During the 1940s, movie industry had a massive impact on how clothes were understood.
Because of the War, Paris was no longer exclusively dictating fashion and Hollywood became now a source of fashion trends. In this context the American designer was born. American designers had now the freedom to develop new styles using unique materials. The adornment of feathers, raffia and other leftover items, not rationed, provided a creative outfit.
|Bonnie Cashin in 1950|
One of the most important American designer’s of the time was Bonnie Cashin, a pioneer in the sportswear industry. In 1937 Carmel Snow, the Harper’s Bazaar editor, an admirer of Cashin’s costume designs, encouraged her to work in fashion. So, she arranged for her to become the head designer at Adler and Adler, coat and suit manufacturer.
However, from designing sportswear, in 1942 she moved in California where she signed a six-year contract as a costume designer with Twentieth Century-Fox. From the lead established by Hattie Carnegie, Bonnie Cashin’s designs avoided extravagance. Cashin designed costumes for the female characters in more than sixty films, with her favourite projects: Laura (1944), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) and Anna and the King of Siam (1946).
Linda Darnell in ‘Fallen Angel’, costumes designed by Bonnie Cashin
|Jane Tierney in the film ‘Laura’|
Cashin’s designs for Laura’s star, Gene Tierney, were very different from the motion pictures of the 1940s tending to showcase their female stars as glamorous ladies: ‘Gene Tierney’s wardrobe...is like no other of the period. She wore not costumes for an actress’s part, but real clothes that could have been owned by a real woman: separates, a witty raincoat and hat’.
The Regulation L85 which limited fabric use, width, length and trim restrictions affected the cut of clothing. Cashin responded to this in ingenious ways and all dress patterns were adapted to these requirements. Contrast cutting became very popular. The casual wear of the 40s was dominated by the idea of separates like two-piece full-skirt, just bellow the knee, popular in cotton with bright plaids and stripes. The blouses and shirts had puffed sleeves or padded shoulders. Sleeve lengths were short, three-quarter length or long. Casual skirts, designed for easy movement, were the A-line skirt, often with vents or pleats and the dirndl skirt, full, gathered into a waistband, often trimmed with ribbon or ricrac, in floral prints.
Bonnie Cashin returned to New York, and to Adler and Adler, in 1949 and in 1953 she teamed up with the leather importer and craftsman, Philip Sills. Through her work for Sills she is credited with introducing layering into the fashion lexicon.. Her layered garments were easily transformed to suit different temperatures.
|Bonnie Cashin dress - Harper's Bazaar, December 1974|
Cashin favoured timeless shapes for the history of clothing: ponchos, tunics, Noh coats, made from luxurious organic materials such as leather, suede, mohair, wool jersey and cashmere.
|All photos from http://www.flickr.com|