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Article

Judith O’Callaghan

Australian jewellers and silversmiths. Helge Larsen (b Copenhagen, 27 Sept 1929) trained and worked as a jeweller and silversmith in Denmark and the USA before migrating to Australia in 1961. Darani Lewers (b Sydney, 4 April 1936) trained with an Estonian jeweller, Nina Ratsep, in Sydney and began working with Larsen in Copenhagen in 1959. They married in Sydney in 1961. They were prominent in the late 20th-century Australian crafts movement and exhibited their work internationally. A recurrent theme in their jewellery is the Australian environment, particularly expressed through the incorporation of objets trouvés (e.g. Headpiece, 1986; see 1986 exh. cat.). Many pieces are articulated in order to respond to body movement (e.g. Kookaburra Pendant, 1976; Sydney, Mus. Applied A. & Sci.). Their later work is based on a construction method using cut and folded sheet metal, usually anodized aluminium. Important commissions included ecclesiastical silver for the Wentworth Memorial Church in Sydney (...

Article

M. B. Whitaker

(Rueben)

(b New York, Oct 14, 1939).

American fashion designer (see fig.). Lauren is the founder of Polo Ralph Lauren, a fashion company with men’s, women’s, children’s and home brand extensions. Lauren’s collections draw inspiration from romantic, vintage Americana and genteel British aristocracy. Conceptual themes that recur in his work include: equestrian and other sports, yachting, prep school style, rugged and utilitarian work clothing, cowboys, safari (see fig.), Native Americans and the Southwest, English haberdashery and vintage cars.

Born Ralph Rueben Lifshitz to an Eastern European Jewish immigrant family in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City, he changed his name to Lauren at the age of 16. As a child he enjoyed sports, films and the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lauren, who would arguably become the most influential tastemaker of American style in the latter 20th century (see fig.), cultivated his image from an early age. While his neighbourhood friends were wearing motorcycle jackets and jeans, he preferred tweed Bermuda shorts and button-down shirts. He worked in a department store throughout high school and spent most of his $50-a-week salary on clothes....

Article

Marvin Cohodas

[Keyser, Louisa]

(b Washoe territory, CA–NV border, c. 1850; d Carson City, NV, Dec 6, 1925).

American basket-weaver of Native American Washoe descent. She worked, originally as a laundress, for Abe Cohn (1859–1934) and Amy Cohn (1861–1919), owners of the Emporium Co. clothing store in Carson City, NV. With their encouragement, she created a fine art curio style of basketwork, imitated by most Washoe weavers, and by 1897 she had developed the coiled, spheroid degikup basket type, finely decorated with red (redbud) and black (bracken fern) designs in a scattered arrangement. She also created a collection of miniature baskets for Amy Cohn and made simpler twined basketwork souvenirs. She spent winters at the Emporium Co. in Carson City and summers at their outlet, The Bicose, at Tahoe City, Lake Tahoe, CA. In 1922 a short documentary film was made about her work, and in 1925 Edward S(heriff) Curtis photographed her at the Emporium. Amy Cohn kept a ledger of Dat So La Lee’s baskets, recording their dimensions, dates of inception and completion, along with her interpretation of the designs. The ledger is preserved in the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, which also houses over a dozen of Dat So La Lee’s major works. Most of the information promulgated by Amy Cohn about Dat So La Lee was fabricated to make her appear more traditional and less innovative, including giving her a birth date before the start of continued Euro-American influence in the region. In contrast to her treatment of other weavers, Amy Cohn referred to Dat So La Lee by her Washoe name, disregarding the weaver’s own preference to interact with Euro-American society under her English name, Louisa Keyser. Amy Cohn promoted her as an ‘Indian Princess’, claiming special family rights to basket shapes and designs. She also fabricated a ceremonial function and design vocabulary for Dat So La Lee’s baskets and interpreted them as records of Washoe history and mythology. As Abe Cohn considered her major pieces to be works of art, he demanded high prices and in ...

Article

Sarah Scaturro

(b Paris, 1889; d Anglet, 1958).

French fashion designer. From 1918 to 1948, Lelong was a couturier and pioneering ready-to-wear designer, known for his modern designs executed with understated elegance and fine workmanship. As president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne (Association of Paris Couturiers) during World War II, Lelong is also remembered for helping to ensure the survival of the industry during the German Occupation of Paris.

Lelong’s parents, Arthur and Eleanore Lelong, owned a small couture house in Paris. Lelong joined his parents’ business after graduating from an élite French business school, but enlisted in the French Army during World War I. Wounded during the war, he returned in 1918 to take over his parents’ fashion house, continuing their tradition of luxury materials and quality workmanship. Lelong’s business expertise, strong leadership skills, impeccable taste and network of artistic and wealthy acquaintances ensured that the house of Lelong became one of the most successful in Paris....

Article

Judith O’Callaghan

(b London, June 14, 1869; d Perth, Aug 29, 1947).

Australian silversmith, jeweller, woodworker and painter of English birth. His father was the watercolourist Sir James Dromgole Linton (1840–1916). Having trained as a painter and architect in London, he travelled to Western Australia in 1896 and began practising metalwork after settling in Perth; he was appointed head of the art department of Perth Technical School in 1902. Following a trip to London in 1907, when he attended classes at the Sir John Cass Technical Institute under Harold Stabler, he concentrated on producing metalwork. Working in partnership with Arthur Cross, William Andrews and his own son Jamie Linton (1904–80), he produced ecclesiastical and domestic wares, presentation pieces and jewellery. His designs were influenced by British Arts and Crafts metalwork and were bold and simple, with decoration generally confined to hammered surfaces, twisted wire, hardstones and enamels. A highly influential figure in Perth’s artistic community and an energetic teacher, Linton played an important role in the promotion of crafts in Western Australia....

Article

M. B. Whitaker

French luxury leather goods and apparel house. Founded in Paris in 1854, Louis Vuitton is known for making fine luggage and trunks using superior materials and impeccable craftsmanship. The signature LV monogram is one of the most widely recognized, coveted and counterfeited symbols in luxury fashion.

Louis Vuitton (b 4 Aug 1821–; d 27 Feb 1892) was a layetier, a workman who specialized in packing. During the 19th century, wealthy Europeans travelled leisurely for months at a time and because of the many obligatory changes of dress, required large clothing wardrobes as well as a means of transporting household and other necessities, such as bedding, tablecloths, umbrellas, rugs, lanterns, telescopes and medicine chests. Because of the daunting nature of packing all these things, accomplished layetiers, such as Vuitton, were treated with much respect. With a peerless reputation and the patronage to match, Vuitton opened up Louis Vuitton Malletier (Louis Vuitton Trunkmaker) in Paris in ...

Article

Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

[née Melinotte, Louise; Boulanger, Louise]

(b 1878; d 1950)

French fashion designer. Louiseboulanger is credited with introducing a number of innovations, such as longer hemlines in 1927, and is recognized as one of the leading couturières of the late 1920s and 1930s. At age 13 she was apprenticed to a dressmaker, later becoming a première at the House of Chéruit. In 1927 she married Louis Boulanger and opened her own house at 3 Rue de Berri. She closed it in 1933, after which she briefly designed for Callot Soeurs until re-establishing her own house in 1934 at 6, Rue Royale. A stylish woman who utilized exquisite colour-sense and deft cutting, she created clothes for a sophisticated clientele, including the actresses Spinelly, the milliner Agnès and the socialites Mrs Reginald (Daisy) Fellowes and the duchesse de Gramont.

In February 1927, Louiseboulanger announced the opening of her house and the showing of her first collection with a full-page advertisement in L’Officiel de la Couture...

Article

Lucile  

Molly Sorkin

[Sutherland, Lucy Christiana, Lady Duff Gordon]

(b London, June 13, 1863; d London, April 20, 1935).

English fashion designer, active also in Paris and the USA. Lucile was the professional name of Lady Duff Gordon, who began her career as a London dressmaker and achieved success as an international couturière. Lucile believed in fashion as self-expression. She was gifted with an artist’s sense of colour and designed in a broad range of styles, creating clothing that was romantic, exotic and modern (see fig.). An innovative entrepreneur, she pioneered modern business practices and used her own fame to promote her couture house. She also played a critical role in the development of the fashion show and the profession of fashion model.

Lucile’s artistic talent was evident early in life and realized in the clothes she made for herself and her younger sister, who would later become the romantic novelist Elinor Glyn. Lucy married James Wallace in 1884 and the following year gave birth to her only child, Esmé. By ...

Article

Molly Sorkin

[Bocher, Main Rousseau]

(b Chicago, IL, Oct 24, 1890; d Munich, Dec 27, 1976).

American fashion designer and editor, active also in France (see fig.). For 50 years Mainbocher defined and promoted the elegance and exclusivity associated with haute couture. As an American working in the rarefied world of Paris fashion, his early careers as editor and couturier were groundbreaking. He later became New York’s most exclusive couturier, eschewing trends in favour of a timeless style that was treasured by the fashion élite.

Born Main Rousseau Bocher, he combined his first and last names into Mainbocher when he opened his couture house in Paris. As a young man he studied art in Chicago and New York and eventually moved to Europe. After military service during World War I, he settled in Paris. An unsuccessful attempt at becoming an opera singer led him to work full time in fashion and in 1921 he became an illustrator for Harper’s Bazaar. His friend, the Vogue...

Article

[Oury, Jules]

(b Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, May 12, 1872; d Montricoux, Tarn-et-Garonne, Sept 7, 1931).

French painter, printmaker and poet. He was the son of a jeweller and at an early age learnt how to produce lithographs and etchings. He quickly established a reputation as a creator of illuminated Symbolist works such as the gouache The Monster (1897; Paris, Flamand-Charbonnier priv. col.; see 1972 exh. cat., p. 64). This was executed in an Art Nouveau style and depicted the common Symbolist theme of woman as the destructive temptress of man. Four works, including this, were shown at the sixth Salon de la Rose + Croix at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris (1897), and he had similar works published in periodicals such as L’Estampe moderne, L’Aube and Le Courrier français.

Marcel-Lenoir’s first paintings were produced with a palette knife or by using paint straight from the tube, as in A Review in the Cours Foucault in Montauban (1907; Toulouse, Mus. Augustins). He produced other townscapes also, such as ...

Article

Judith O’Callaghan

(b Scarsdale, Victoria, June 12, 1868; d Melbourne, Oct 7, 1956).

Australian enamellist, jeweller and silversmith. He trained in Melbourne under J. R. Rowland and in the late 1890s travelled to England, where he worked for a time in the London workshop of Nelson Dawson (1859–1942). By the end of 1900 he had joined C. R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft, and he subsequently moved with the Guild to Chipping Campden, Glos. Though an accomplished silversmith and jeweller, Mark’s skill lay in enamelwork. He and F. C. Varley were largely responsible for the fine painted enamels produced by the Guild. He worked independently in Chipping Campden after the Guild failed in 1907 and eventually returned to Australia in 1920. He established a studio at his home in Melbourne, where he stayed until his death. The greater part of his production comprised ecclesiastical commissions, notably the silver and enamel processional cross (designed by Louis Williams; c. 1931) of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, and the plate and fittings (...

Article

(b New York, April 22, 1901; d Rincón, Jan 15, 1995).

American fashion designer. One of the pioneers of American women’s sportswear, Maxwell tailored her timelessly tasteful clothes to the average woman. Influenced by Coco Chanel, Maxwell rose to fame in the 1950s with effortless suits and dresses that merged style with practicality (see fig.).

When leading Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured America in 1910, she inspired a young Vera von Huppé, who attended a New York performance with her Austrian parents, to take up dancing. By the age of 15 she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, where she stayed until her marriage to Raymond Maxwell in 1924. Her dance training taught her how to carry herself and a few years later Maxwell found herself in the centre of New York City’s Garment District modelling ski clothes and riding habits. However, Maxwell decided she would rather join the rank of Seventh Avenue’s anonymous patternmakers and designers. This was the era before designer-driven labels, when wholesale manufacturers dominated the market. For the next 18 years, Maxwell designed for Adler & Adler, Max Milstein, Glenhurst and Linker & Klein. However, through such innovations as the cotton jumpsuit for the women workers of Sperry Gyroscope Corporation, Maxwell was able to transcend obscurity. Subsequently, she independently established Vera Maxwell Originals in ...

Article

Amy Widmayer

(b Frederick, MD, May 24, 1905; d New York, March 22, 1958).

American fashion designer (see figs 1 and 2). Often referred to as the founder of democratic fashion, her revolutionary and stylish, yet simple, designs made her an undisputed leader in American ready-to-wear. She was named one of the 100 Most Important Americans by Life magazine in 1990.

The only girl of four children born to Maryland State Senator Adrian Leroy McCardell and his wife Eleanor, McCardell exhibited her flair for fashion at an early age. As a child she cut paper dolls out of her mother’s old fashion magazines, and when the family seamstress visited the house, McCardell observed her every stitch. During McCardell’s adolescence she began making her own clothes, sometimes inspired by the theatrical costumes she saw during performances at Washington’s National Theater.

At 18 she enrolled in Hood College in Frederick, MD, leaving after her second year to pursue fashion illustration at Parsons School of Design in New York City. While living in Manhattan, McCardell stayed at the Three Arts Club on West 85th Street, attending its frequent rummage sales for discarded couture garments that she could study, dissect, alter and wear. In ...

Article

Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

(b London, March 17, 1969; d London, Feb 11, 2010).

Engish fashion designer. Self-styled ‘electric, eccentric’ McQueen is known for his impeccable tailoring techniques and fantastical fashion shows. One of six children born to a cab driver and a social history teacher in London’s East End, McQueen owed his success to an innate genius for fashion design and execution as a whole, as well as remarkable perseverance. McQueen dropped out of school at the age of 16 and, although having few qualifications, soon landed an apprenticeship at Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard, spending two years there before moving to Gieves & Hawkes. Departing Savile Row, he joined theatrical costumiers Bermans & Nathans. Through his apprenticeships, he mastered traditional tailoring techniques, which are evidenced in his fashions and cutting-edge collections that frequently reference such historical elements as corsetry.

At the age of 20, McQueen began working for Romeo Gigli (b 1949), having booked a one-way ticket to Milan with the sole purpose of working for the designer. Within the year McQueen had returned to London, applying for a position teaching pattern-cutting at the renowned Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Instead, he was offered a spot in the school’s graduate design programme, where he excelled. His entire ...

Article

Ticio Escobar

(b Asunción, Jan 6, 1948).

Paraguayan painter. He studied in the studio of the painter Cira Moscarda but was basically self-taught and gained his formative experience in various Latin American countries working as a designer of theatre costumes and scenery. His early work, biting and irreverent in style, and with psychedelic and Pop art elements, created a considerable stir in Paraguay’s artistic community. Much of this work was in the form of drawings and paintings, but he also devised environments, happenings, audio-visual experiences and montages (see Escobar, 1984, pp. 172, 194). His subject-matter comprised unrealistic hybrid characters, animals and objects from Classical mythology, popular Latin American subjects, kitsch opera, circus and cabaret, television and gossip columns, portrayed in a style linked to Latin American Magic Realism and to expressionist caricature. Humour, eroticism and the absurd animate his work, giving it a flavour of hallucination and nightmare.

O. Blinder and others: Arte actual del Paraguay (Asunción, 1983), pp. 47, 48, 49, 162, 173, 174, 192...

Article

Missoni  

Diane Maglio

Italian fashion design partnership. Tai [Ottavio] Missoni (b Ragusa, 11 Feb 1921) and Rosita Missoni [née Jelmini] (b Golasecco, 20 Nov 1931) occupy a unique position as high fashion artisans. Their daring fusion of multi-hued space-dyed yarns with kaleidoscopic patterns layered within each ensemble became their signature look (see fig.). For more than 50 years the Missonis have flawlessly merged creativity and technology, designing distinctive fabrics in flame stitches and chevrons, patchwork mélange and tartans for women, men, children and household products. Considered one of the most successful family-managed companies in Italy, the company continued after the original Missonis’ retirement under the direction of their three children Angela, Luca and Vittorio at their headquarters in Sumirago.

Rosita and Tai each had fashion backgrounds before they met. Rosita’s fashion ‘school’ was her grandmother’s business in the province of Varese making quality nightwear and Venetian shawls. Tai, a teenage champion runner, formed a small knitwear business in Trieste with his partner Giorgio Otberweger (...

Article

Mai Vu

(b Hiroshima, April 22, 1938).

Japanese fashion designer, active in Tokyo and Paris (see fig.). For his Autumn/Winter 1998 collection, Issey Miyake sent all his models down the Paris catwalk in a single stream of red, knitted tubing. Unlike the typical fashion show where the season’s look is unveiled in its finalized form, Miyake’s show was a presentation of his process. In collaboration with designer Dai Fujiwara, Miyake developed a radical approach to fashion design. Utilizing technological advances in fibre, fabric and computer science, he created a system to manufacture individual garments from a single thread. The method, known as A-POC, an acronym for ‘A Piece of Cloth’, is Miyake’s solution to the complicated manufacturing methods of traditional cut-and-sew garments.

Miyake was born in Hiroshima 1938 and witnessed the destruction and devastation of his country during World War II, but also saw its rise and redemption in the following years. This strength imbued in him allowed his artistry and discipline to grow. In ...

Article

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 haute couture house and the department store, two economic institutions that would seem to be diametrically opposed but are actually profoundly interconnected and interdependent (...

Article

Molly Sorkin

(Henry)

(b London, Sept 5, 1891; d Monte Carlo, March 23, 1974).

English fashion designer, active also in France. In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Molyneux’s elegant and often understated designs helped define multiple eras in fashion as he influenced a generation of designers including his great admirer, Christian Dior. A successful businessman, painter and collector of fine art, Molyneux embodied the sophisticated lifestyle of the women he dressed.

While still in his teens, Molyneux worked as a fashion illustrator. By 1910 he was employed by the couturière Lucile and his early illustrations reveal the confident hand of a skilled artist. As an assistant designer, Molyneux’s talent was encouraged and his original designs were included in Lucile’s seasonal collections. His nascent career was interrupted in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I. He joined the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, eventually becoming a Captain, a title he would use throughout his life. Molyneux returned to work for Lucile but left in ...

Article

Nancy Deihl

(b Abbiategrasso, Feb 27, 1950; d Annone, Sept 18, 1994).

Italian fashion designer (see fig.). Moschino is known for an irreverent, humorous approach to fashion. At various times in his short career, Moschino declared that fashion was ‘ill’, ‘fascist’ and ‘the stupidest, most absurd and amusing thing around. Or it should be’. With a notable lack of respect for buyers, press and other designers, and a portfolio of looks that included a suit with knives, forks and spoons for buttons; plush teddy bears forming a ‘fur’ collar on a well-tailored coat; and a man’s shirt, shaped like a straitjacket, with the slogan ‘For fashion victims only’ written boldly on the back, Moschino was known as fashion’s ‘bad boy’.

Moschino was born in the industrial town of Abbiategrasso, near Milan, where his family had an iron foundry. His father died when Moschino was seven. After a childhood in which he felt isolated from his peers and drew incessantly, he attended the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan from ...