Ensemble: dress and corset
Silk organza, leather
Spring 2009, UK
Museum purchase, 2014.38.1
An Alexander McQueen floral printed organza cocktail dress with matching leather corset from the 'NATURAL Dis-Tinction, Un-Natural Selection' collection, Spring-Summer, 2009. The strapless dress with integral corset is printed with grasses, butterflies and wild flowers and the skirt falls in polonaised drapes. The faux crocodile corset with white top-stitched detailing is shaped to emphasise the curve of the waist. (description and image from Kerry Taylor Auctions)
Agatha Ruiz de la Prada
White silk taffeta and paint
Spring 2014, Madrid
Gift of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, 2014.44.1
Since starting her Madrid-based company in 1981, Agatha de la Prada has become known for bright colors, and unusual volumetric shapes, such as the exaggerated bow on this hand-painted, polka dot dress.
evening coat (authorized reproduction)
Museum purchase, 2014.40.1
This Paul Poiret evening coat was discovered on Instagram, which is a highly unusual way for the museum to begin the process of acquiring a new object. More often, pieces are donated directly to the museum, or they are purchased at auction. In this case, the seller had to be tracked down. The evening coat was then authenticated.
The coat is an authorized reproduction of an original design by Poiret. It served as a sample for a ready-to-wear line that the designer wanted to create especially for the American market. Poiret conceived the line as a safeguard against unauthorized copying. However, it never went into production, and this coat is therefore one of only three that exist. An extensive conservation treatment was performed on the coat to prepare it for public display. You can watch a video of that treatment here.
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
"Chubby" style coat
Museum purchase, 2014.36.1
In January 1971, Yves Saint Laurent showed a now infamous couture collection inspired by the fashions of the 1940s. The press called the collection ugly, kitsch, trampy, and wildly inappropriate for seemingly commemorating the period of the Nazi occupation of Paris. Despite this reaction, Saint Laurent launched similarly inspired styles through his Rive Gauche line. This green maribou-feather coat is a Rive Gauche adaptation of the vibrant green fox fur version which had appeared in the couture collection.