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Molly Sorkin

Spanish fashion designer, active in Paris. Based in Paris from 1937 to 1968, Balenciaga was a modernist couturier whose designs ranged from the austere to the romantic. His uncompromising vision was defined by his quest for perfection in cut, proportion and construction. Influenced in part by the historical art and culture of his native Spain, Balenciaga’s style was often ahead of its time even as it slowly evolved over more than 40 years. Balenciaga dressed an élite group of women who understood and appreciated how his designs took shape on the body (...

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Melissa Marra

American fashion designer. A modernist, Beene’s inventive geometric cuts and in-depth understanding of the human body made him one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.

In deference to a family tradition, Beene enrolled as a pre-med student at Tulane University in 1943...

Article

Lourdes Font

French fashion designer (see fig.). Chanel was one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. Of the modernists who dominated the inter-war period, only Chanel was still active through the 1960s. She began her career as a milliner c. 1909...

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Ellen G. Landau

American dancer and choreographer. Graham is widely considered a major pioneer and exponent of modernism. Her collaboration with American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who designed costumes and sets for the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1935 to 1966, and the extraordinary photographs of her in performance by ...

Article

Halston  

Cassandra Gero

American milliner and fashion designer. In the early 1970s, Halston represented modernism in fashion design (see fig.). He was known for the high quality of his clothes as well as his celebrity clientele and chic lifestyle.

Halston grew up in Des Moines, IA, where, by age seven he had shown an interest in designing hats. (He once made his mother a red felt hat decorated with a gold pot-scrubber sponge.) Later, while attending the Chicago Art Institute, he worked as a window dresser for the Carson Pirie department store and at night created hats in his apartment. He peddled his wares at the Ambassador Hotel beauty salon and acquired a following that included the actresses Fran Allison, Gloria Swanson and Kim Novak. Halston became so well known that when famed milliner ...

Article

Rebecca Arnold

Venezuelan fashion designer, active also in the USA (see fig.). While Herrera’s designs always contain elements of current fashion, her work is more about the cultivation of a sleek international style that is classically feminine. Her upbringing amongst the élite, leisured classes of South America encouraged her to view clothing as a visual expression of good taste and ease. Rather than following trends, her designs tend to favour clean lines, with a focus on detail....

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 2 June 1877, in Norderney; died 13 September 1945, in Röhrmoos near Dachau.

Sculptor (bronze/stone). Animals. Designs (jewels).

Jugendstil, Art Deco.

Wilhelm Krieger was trained in decorative painting in Bremen, then studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich for a few months and also taught himself sculpture. He took up residence in Herrsching, near Munich. He worked with the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk (united studios for arts and crafts) in Munich. This organisation, which was very important for the development of Jugendstil in Munich, commissioned artists, and sold and exhibited their work. In ...

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Nele Bernheim

The term ‘Modernism’ is widely used, but rarely defined, to mean artistic currents responding to the social conditions of Modernity. While such applications occur in all the arts, fashion relates to these conditions in a particularly intimate way. In 1863 Charles Baudelaire defined modernity as ‘the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable’. Few creations are as ephemeral and fugitive as a fashion intended to last a single season, and yet fashion itself is constant. Thus fashion design, one of the most intrinsically ephemeral of artistic practices, could be considered a quintessentially modern art. Further, the emergence of social modernity in cities such as Paris in the mid-19th century was accompanied by the development of the structure of the modern fashion industry. The ...

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Austrian, 20th century, male.

Born 3 April 1887, in Sankt-Michael, near Salzburg; died 16 April 1923, in Mödling, near Vienna.

Painter, designer, architect, designer. Designs for wallpapers, jewels, ceramics, fabrics and glass, furniture.

Art Nouveau.

Wiener Werkstätte group.

The brother of Ernst Peche, Dagobert Peche received his architectural training from Friedrich F. Ohmann at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. In Vienna he produced fabric designs for the decoration firms of Johann Backhausen, Philipp Haas, the Wiener Porzellanmanufaktur Böck, the Vereinigte Wiener und Gmunder Keramik. In ...

Article

Anne van Loo

Belgian architect, teacher and designer. He was the son of a jeweller from Brussels and trained in precious metalwork at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels before taking drawing courses at the Gewerbliche Fortbildungsschule (1890–91) and the Kunstgewerblicheschule, Munich. He began work as a goldsmith, later working with master ironworkers (...

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Marijke Küper

Dutch architect and furniture designer. He started work in his father’s furniture workshop at the age of 12, and then from 1906 to 1911 he worked as a draughtsman for C. J. Begeer, a jeweller in Utrecht. During 1904–8 he took evening classes in drawing and the study of ornamentation at the Kunstindustrieel Onderwijs der Vereeniging of the Museum van Kunstnijverheid in Utrecht. His interests nevertheless extended further than the applied arts. Around ...