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Melissa Marra

(b Paris, Nov 4, 1908; d New York, Feb 13, 2002).

American fashion designer of French birth ( see fig. ). A versatile designer, Trigère was an integral figure behind the development of the New York fashion industry. Her designs merged European craftsmanship with the contemporary American spirit.

The daughter of Russian immigrant parents, Trigère was born in the Pigalle district of Paris in 1908. She grew up behind her father’s Montmartre tailor shop, the place where, at a young age, she learned to cut and fit fabric. Although she did not recall having an early desire for working in fashion—initially preferring a career as an actress or surgeon—Trigère designed her first dress at the age of 14. While attending Collège Victor Hugo in Paris, Trigère was apprenticed at the couture house of Martial et Armand on the Place Vendôme. After graduating, she took work with the famous tailor and designer Monsieur Arnold, from whom she learned the fundamentals of draping and preparing muslins. With her brother Robert she went on to open a store at 19, Avenue de l’Opéra, which was quickly recognized for its chic suits and dresses. It was through her brother that Trigère met Russian-born tailor Lazar Radley, whom she married in ...


Eberhard Ruhmer

(b Heidelberg, Feb 3, 1851; d Karlsruhe, Dec 21, 1917).

German painter. The son of a goldsmith and jeweller, he began an apprenticeship as a goldsmith. The intervention of Anselm Feuerbach enabled him to overcome his father’s resistance and train as a painter. In 1867 he began to study at the Kunstschule in Karlsruhe, where his tutors included Karl Friedrich Schick (1826–75). Trübner also met artists outside the school, such as Hans Canon, who were very influential. Trübner moved to Munich in 1869 to study with Alexander von Wagner (1838–1919) at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, where he also met Wilhelm Leibl. He continued his studies with Wilhelm von Diez (1839–1907) and met Hans Thoma, with whom, for a while, he shared a studio and models. Trübner acknowledged his debt to Feuerbach, Canon, Leibl and Thoma, whom he described as his ‘leaders and guiding stars’, throughout his life.

In the winter of 1870–71 he met Carl Schuch and with him and other friends worked in Bernried on the Starnberg Lake, where ...


Cassandra Gero

(b Aix-en-Provence, Feb 13, 1933).

French couturier and ready-to-wear designer. Ungaro evolved from designing radical fashions to creating sensual yet empowering clothing for women.

Ungaro was born in France to Italian immigrants; his father was a men’s tailor in Aix-en-Provence and taught Ungaro the trade from the age of 11. As the son of hard-working immigrants, Ungaro was always determined to prove himself. In his early 20s he moved to Paris to become a fashion designer. For six years, beginning in 1958, he worked as an assistant for Cristobal Balenciaga . Ungaro had great respect for ‘the Master’ and learnt a great deal from him. He then worked for his friend and fellow former Balenciaga apprentice André Courrèges for two seasons.

In 1965, Ungaro opened his own couture house with his girlfriend, the graphic artist Sonja Knapp. At this time, Paris couture was under attack as a relic of the past, and ready-to-wear was far more appealing to the younger generation. Ungaro was a pioneer of the new couture; he was anti-establishment, wanting to ‘kill the couture’ as it existed at the time. His early collections were extremely avant-garde and he was often associated with other forward-looking ‘space age’ designers, such as ...


Meghan E. Grossman

[ Schlee, Valentina Nicholaevna Sanina ]

(b Kiev, May 1, 1899; d New York, Sept 14, 1989).

American fashion designer of Ukrainian birth; active in New York. Valentina Schlee, known professionally as Valentina, worked as a fashion designer in New York from 1928 until 1957. She studied drama at Kharkov in the Ukraine until forced to flee the Revolution in 1919; she met her future husband, George Schlee, in the Sebastopol railway station as she attempted to escape. They travelled to Athens, Rome and Paris, where, inspired by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, they founded the theatrical revue Russe. Travelling to New York with the revue in 1923, the couple decided to remain in the city. In 1928, after a variety of fashion-related jobs, Valentina opened Valentina Gowns, Inc. on West 30th Street with her husband’s backing. George Schlee ran the business, while Valentina acted as designer and model. Soon after opening, the business relocated to a townhouse on East 67th Street. During the early years of her career, Valentina travelled to Paris to study the craft of dressmaking. While Paris was still considered the source of fashion design in the 1930s, Valentina was among a small group of pioneering American designers to receive recognition for originality of design and to be featured by name in American fashion magazines....


Meghan E. Grossman

[ Garavani, Valentino Clemente Ludovico ]

(b Voghera, May 11, 1932).

Italian fashion designer , active in Rome, Florence and Paris ( see fig. ). Valentino Garavani, known professionally as Valentino, is remembered for clothing that emphasized the elegance and femininity of women. The timelessness of his designs allowed his career to flourish from 1960 until 2007, in both Italy and France. He was schooled in fashion illustration at the Istituto Santa Marta in Milan (1937–49) and in fashion design at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale in Paris (1950–52). He worked as an assistant designer for the House of Jean Dessès , then left with his colleague Guy Laroche (b 1921) to assist at the newly formed House of Laroche (1957–9). With his father’s backing, Valentino opened his own couture house in Rome on Via Condotti in 1959. Soon after he designed his first collections, he met Giancarlo Giametti, who became his business partner in ...


Nele Bernheim

[ Andries ]

(b Schoten, May 12, 1958).

Belgian fashion designer. Born into a family of tailors spanning three generations, Van Noten studied fashion design at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp (1977–81), while working as a freelance designer for Belgian and Italian labels. In 1985, Van Noten launched his own menswear label and the following year made an international breakthrough at London’s British Designer Show alongside the other members of the group known as the ‘Antwerp Six’: Walter Van Beirendonck (b 1957), Ann Demeulemeester , Dirk Van Saene (b 1959), Dirk Bikkembergs (b 1959) and Marina Yee (b 1958). In 1987 he expanded his range to include womenswear and two years later opened his flagship store in Antwerp. In 1991, he staged the first of his memorable fashion shows in Paris. Van Noten is the most versatile, accessible and commercially successful of the Belgian fashion designers, equally recognized for both his men’s and women’s collections. He is known for his eclectic style, his use of original fabrics, especially unorthodox prints and embroideries, a wide spectrum of colours and widely varied sources of inspiration. His silhouettes range from the historic to the exotic to the modern, sometimes within a single collection....


Valerio Terraroli

(b Ligornetto, Ticino, May 3, 1820; d Mendrisio, Ticino, Oct 3, 1891).

Swiss sculptor. He worked first in Besazio and Viggiù as an apprentice doing rough carving, then in Milan at the cathedral workshops as a stone-dresser. While in Milan he attended the Accademia di Brera and also worked in the studio of Benedetto Cacciatori (1794–1871). Like many of his generation of sculptors, Vela was early on in his career profoundly impressed by the works of Lorenzo Bartolini, especially the Trust in God (marble, 1836; Milan, Mus. Poldi Pezzoli). The influence of this statue of a kneeling, nude girl is evident in Vela’s Morning Prayer (Milan, priv. col.). This work, commissioned in 1846 by Conte Giulio Litta, is a clear tribute to the purist tendency of Milanese sculpture during the 1840s.

In 1847 Vela went to Rome, where he associated with Adamo Tadolini, Pietro Tenerani and Giovanni Dupré. The naturalism prevalent in this circle induced him to address new themes with a new plastic vigour, as in his statue of ...


Morgan Falconer

(b Ostend, Oct 3, 1948).

Belgian sculptor and photographer. He was a poet until 1974, when he began to work with black-and-white photography. His earliest images emerged from a conceptualist framework and addressed questions about representation which surfaced in relation to self-portraiture and the nude. Both these subjects continued to be important to him: in the series Portrait of the Artist by Himself (1984; see 1993 exh. cat., pp. 5–7) he posed in front of an abstract, geometric backdrop, gesticulating obscurely and carrying a makeshift mask in front of his face, as a way of continuing the paradoxical themes of absence that he had explored in his earlier self-portraits; in the series Lucretia (1983; see 1989 exh. cat., pp. 22–35) he presented a mythological subject through a series of photographs in which a nude describes elements of the narrative by means of gestures. Vercruysse is perhaps better known for his sculpture, in which he explored similar themes of absence and lack of meaning through the use of cultural archetypes, an approach which has led to comparisons with René Magritte. The series ...


Meghan E. Grossman

(b Reggio Calabria, Dec 2, 1946; d South Beach, FL, July 15, 1997).

Italian fashion designer , active in Milan and Paris. Versace was a prolific and energetic designer of the 1980s and 1990s, known for manifestations of overt sexuality in both men’s and women’s clothes ( see fig. ). Born in Reggio Calabria, a small town in southern Italy, Versace spent his childhood in his mother’s dressmaking shop. In 1972 he moved to Milan to begin a career in fashion design. Versace worked as a freelance designer for several Italian firms, including Genny (1977–82), Complice (1977), and Callaghan (1976–9). He opened his own design house, Gianni Versace SpA, in Milan in 1978. While turning out designs for his own lines of women’s clothing and menswear, the designer continued to contribute designs to other Italian ready-to-wear labels. Gianni’s older brother, Santos, joined the firm as the business manager, while his younger sister, Donatella, became the house’s public relations manager and, in ...


Milo Cleveland Beach

(b Metz, 1854; d 1942)

French jeweller and collector. Vever directed the family jewellery business, begun in Metz by his grandfather Pierre-Paul Vever (d 1853). After the capture of Metz in the Franco-Prussian War (1871), the family moved to Luxembourg and then Paris, where the Maison Vever became well established on the Rue de la Paix, winning the Grand Prix of the universal expositions in 1889 and 1900 and becoming a leader in the Art Nouveau movement. Vever gave an important group of Art Nouveau works to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. His early interest in contemporary French painting led him to assemble a large and important group of works by Corot, Sisley, Renoir and Monet, of which he sold the majority (Paris, Gal. Georges Petit, 1897) to concentrate on Japanese and Islamic art. Vever had begun to collect Japanese prints in the 1880s and in 1892 joined the distinguished private group ...


Mai Vu

Dutch fashion house. Founded in Amsterdam in 1993, Viktor & Rolf is the fashion house created by Viktor Horsting (b 27 May 1969) and Rolf Snoeren (b 19 Dec 1969). The two met while studying fashion design at the Hogeschool voor de kunsten Arnhem (HkA). Upon graduation in 1992, they moved to Paris to take part in the fashion world but quickly found themselves alone and unemployed, with few opportunities in the major fashion houses they had dreamed of working for. As a side project, the two turned their humble apartment into a design studio and created a few garments as a means to exert their creative forces. As they became more involved, their side project turned into a full-time partnership and resulted in a collection of ten ‘reconstructed’ garments. The designers took apart used suits and shirts and reassembled them into looks reminiscent of 19th-century riding habits. The idea was to layer materials and morph the body into something unrecognizable in order to parallel their sentiments of being outsiders of Paris fashion. They presented this collection at the Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in Hyères and gained coverage by the French fashion media....


Lourdes Font

( Marie Valentine )

(b Chilleurs-aux-Bois, June 22, 1876; d Paris, March 2, 1975).

French fashion designer. Vionnet was one of the most innovative and influential dressmakers of the 20th century. She brought a brilliant analytical mind, superb technical ability, and the rigorous taste of a modernist to the craft of dressmaking. Vionnet’s designs revealed the body and followed its movements; she worked by draping and cutting fabric in the round on a mannequin. Although Vionnet is known for the bias-cut, her method was based upon a thorough understanding of the structure of textiles, which she described as the three ways of fabric: the straight grain, cross grain and bias.

Vionnet was raised by her father, a toll collector, in the suburbs of Paris. Although she was an excellent student and hoped to become a teacher, when she was 11 her father was persuaded to apprentice her to a local dressmaker. This early training laid the foundation for Vionnet’s extraordinary technical abilities. At the age of 17 she moved to the Maison Vincent, a small couture house in Paris, and within two years she became a ...


Julie Aronson

[ née Potter, Bessie Onahotema ]

(b St. Louis, MO, Aug 17, 1872; d New York, March 8, 1955).

American sculptor. Vonnoh was known for small, distinctive compositions of women and children in dress of the period. Created in an impressionistic style, her sculptures capture the essence of her subjects. Born Bessie Onahotema Potter, she grew up in Chicago. In 1886, she entered the studio of the sculptor Lorado Taft and enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he served as instructor of modeling. Newly arrived from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Taft taught Vonnoh the latest French techniques and stylistic tendencies, including a fluid approach to form and the retention of the evidence of her touch. After she graduated in 1891, her education advanced with the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), where she exhibited her work and gained practical experience as one of the “White Rabbits;” a group of women who assisted Taft with the enlargement of sculptors’ models.

In 1894, a circle of artists and writers calling themselves “The Little Room” convened in Vonnoh’s Chicago studio. Discussions ensued on the merits of American subject matter and Impressionism, a movement in painting that used active brushwork to engage with contemporary life. Seeking a three-dimensional equivalent to Impressionism, Vonnoh modeled statuettes of women in the dress of the day with lively surfaces, cast them in plaster and delicately tinted them with color. Some she assigned titles such as ...


John-Paul Stonard

(b Chigwell, Essex, May 25, 1959).

English painter, sculptor and video artist. He studied in London at the Chelsea School of Art (1978–81) and Goldsmiths’ College (1983–5). From the mid-1980s his work has addressed the traditions and values of British society, its class system and organized religion. The range of approaches he has adopted reflects his wish to have a broad appeal and highlights his roots in a tradition of British left-wing thought. In the early 1990s he began using a personal enthusiasm for horse racing as a theme through which to explore issues of ownership and pedigree. Race Class Sex (oil on canvas, four parts, each 2.3×3 m, London, Saatchi Gal.), consists of four highly finished renderings of thoroughbred race-horses. As well as evoking the equestrian portraiture of George Stubbs, these works also direct attention toward issues of identity and the inheritance of social structures. This thematic culminated in A Real Work of Art...


Deborah J. Haynes

(b Hamburg, June 13, 1866; d Hamburg, Oct 26, 1929).

German art historian. His research interests ranged widely, including the art of the Renaissance, costume, festivals, medicine, astrology and magic, but his primary contribution to cultural history is the Warburg Institute.

Warburg was born into a wealthy Jewish banking family and was never obliged to seek academic employment. He trained at the University of Bonn with scholars such as Hermann Usener (1834–1905) and Karl Lamprecht (1856–1915), becoming interested in psychology, in a broad evolutionary perspective and in historical periods of transition. He continued his studies in Munich, Florence and Strasbourg, finally completing a dissertation in 1891 on how Botticelli’s Primavera and the Birth of Venus demonstrate the ‘afterlife of the Antique’. At this time Jacob Burckhardt’s interpretation of the Renaissance as a period of emancipation from medieval values and the rise of the modern individual was being challenged by scholars such as Henry Thode, who argued for an important role for Christian influences. Warburg can be seen as siding with Burckhardt in this disagreement; but whereas Burckhardt conceived of history as progress and the Renaissance as a cultural unity within that progressive movement, Warburg interpreted the Renaissance as a period of transition and uncertainty, viewing it as if abstracted from the course of time. For Warburg history was a vital and energetic tradition, communicated through images as well as words, but these documents could best be understood by looking for their non-temporal unity. Such themes were particularly evident in his dissertation and his writings of ...


Alexandra Noble

(b Greenburg, PA, March 29, 1946).

American photographer. He studied under Lisette Model and later became a major figure in international fashion photography. His best-known work derives from advertising assignments for the fashion designers Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld, presenting the unique synthesis of an uncompromising personal vision with an interpretation of varied historical influences. His low-angle shots of men in heroic poses recall the images of Aryan youths made in the 1930s, while some of his studio portraits evoke the spirit of classic Hollywood portraiture. His work contains a highly charged eroticism and plays on sexual ambiguity, as for example in his photographic journal O Rio de Janiero (New York, 1986).

Weber, Bruce Per lui (Milan 1985) Branded Youth and Other Stories, text by M. Harrison and C. S. Smith (Boston, New York, Toronto and London, 1997) Bruce Weber Photographs (Pasadena, 1983) J. Cheim, ed.: Bruce Weber (New York, 1989)...


Judith O’Callaghan

(b Dageling, ?June 1830; d Adelaide, Sept 7, 1917).

Australian silversmith and jeweller of Danish birth. He served his apprenticeship in Dageling, Denmark, before moving in 1854 to Adelaide, where he established a business that within a decade became one of the city’s two main retail outlets for silver and jewellery. Branches were subsequently opened at Mount Gambier in South Australia and Broken Hill in New South Wales. From 1862 the firm regularly exhibited at intercolonial and international exhibitions, receiving awards, for example at the Australian Intercolonial Exhibition of 1866–7 in Melbourne, Victoria, the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia and the Exposition Universelle of 1878 in Paris. In 1867 Wendt was granted a royal warrant by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (1844–1900), during his visit to the colonies. He appears to have specialized in presentation pieces, ranging from standing cups and epergnes to mounted emu eggs. Many incorporate such local motifs as cast figures of aborigines, kangaroos and emus. The best of these pieces (e.g. the Schomburgk Cup, ...


(b Melbourne, Aug 31, 1936).

Australian jeweller and teacher . In 1976 she graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with a Diploma of Art in gold- and silversmithing. From 1979 she lived in Sydney, where she taught jewellery and design at Sydney College of the Arts. Her early work is predominantly made in stainless steel, generally in sheet form using rivet construction. In the late 1970s she began to experiment with surface textures: hammering, abrading and painting the metal. The origins and symbolism of body adornment became a dominant and continuing concern in her work, and her jewellery was reduced to such basic formal elements as bibs (e.g. Bib for an Ostrich, c. 1982 (Protection Factor 5.6), 1982; Canberra, N.G.) and discs using not only steel but also lead, stone, wood and feathers. From the mid-1980s she began to produce work that questions ‘the contextual qualification of meaning’, as described in her ‘Work Statements’ (...


( Isabel )

(b Glossopdale, Derbs, April 8, 1941).

English fashion designer. The early phase of her career was closely affiliated with contemporary music, including costume design for the rock band the New York Dolls. Over the course of more than 30 years in fashion, Westwood became known for her use of historical sources and her enthusiasm for British dress and textile traditions ( see fig. ).

Westwood grew up in Derbyshire, where her parents managed a post office. The family moved to north-west London when she was 17. After her grammar school education, Westwood attended Harrow Art College, where she studied fashion and silversmithing, but left after one term. She trained to become a primary school teacher, married Derek Westwood in 1962 and had a son, Benjamin, one year later.

Westwood had a subsequent relationship with Malcolm McLaren (1946–2010), whom she met in 1965 after her divorce from her first husband. They had a son, Joseph Ferdinand Corré, in ...


G. Lola Worthington

(b Arizona, 1950).

American jeweler, sculptor, painter, and silversmith, of Mescalero Apache–Navajo descent. White Eagle began his career as a silversmith under the tutelage of legendary Navajo artisan Fred Peshlakai , at age five, learning by observation and developing an artistic understanding of Peshlakai’s aesthetic approach. At nine, he began making and selling his own jewelry at Union Square in Los Angeles. Later moving to Palm Springs, CA he continued to generate and sell his jewelry on the street under the date palms trees.

Always handmade, his jewelry pieces used the finest available quality of semi-precious stones. Singular details and features demonstrated his exclusive and unique artistic vision and styling. In 1973, the Yacqui artist, Art Tafoya, began a silversmith apprenticeship with White Eagle, studying the hand-stamped old style embossing skills of jewelry; he continued the historic creation of extraordinary designs.

Bold and substantial, White Eagle’s jewelry balanced a focal fluid turquoise stone against deeply carved flora and linear design lines. His pieces represented transcultural combinations of traditional Navajo silver interwoven with mainstream expectations of Native American style. He daringly counterbalanced mixed semi-precious stonework with irregular fusions of silver positive space. Smooth, amazingly detailed stamp work combined with bent offset features providing an overall asymmetrical daring quality....