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- Vivid, graphic patterning on menswear was the biggest surprise in this exhibit. A velour suit (1755) and vest for a politically active gentilhomme during the French revolution (1789-94) might find resonance in Pendletonâ€™s fall styles for Opening Ceremo
- Oooolala, who can refuse the enticing appeal of the over-the-knee leather fetish boot? The one at left is from the 19th century. Joieâ€™s version has the added kick of a gold-tone toe. [$625, Saks ]
- Kind of hard to imagine lacing this one up and going for a drink. Try an unstructured vest by Helmut Lang with cutaways for a more wearable, un-femme approach to corsetry. ($265, Ssense.com]
- This 1910 London-made grey pinstripe suit set the style standard for the quintessential gentleman. J. Crew does a perfect update in its acclaimed and well-priced Ludlow Suit, available in two- or three-button versions. [$590, J. Crew]
- Brilliant color paired with lush patterns is a great way to wear jewel tones. While Pradaâ€™s now-ubiquitous day dress (middle) is out of reach for most of us, you can also try Shoshannaâ€™s strapless mini, which does a sweet job whittling your waist, ju
- Paul Poiretâ€™s early 20th c. style vision loosened up the corset. While itâ€™s hard to imagine wearing chiffon in fall, weâ€™re seeing lots of great new season dresses in creamy off-white silk and lace, like By Malene Birgerâ€™s maxidress, and Loverâ€™s
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's brand new, light filled Resnick Pavilion is jammed with treasures from North America and Western Europe, not least of which includes the exhibition Fashioning Fashion, featuring some of the most exquisitely preserved French and English clothes from the 18th to early 20th centuries we’ve seen in years! This isn’t stuff that your local shopgirl or manservant would wear -- these are garments that exemplify the word couture -- hand woven, hand embellished, painstakingly crafted, and custom-tailored for one very special, well-moneyed person who is happy to spend the equivalent of his footman's salary on solid gold thread and hand woven silk fabric shipped from exotic, faraway lands.
You too can enjoy the magnificent, frivolous splendor of the haute bourgeoisie on your own, and learn a lot about fashion history: of the shift in silhouettes; the emergence of new materials and technologies; and of the extraordinary embellishment techniques used to indoctrinate a rich lady's ball gown or her husband's three-piece suit into the realm of royalty.
But before you go on your way to the unreal fashion worlds of European high society back in the day, we've interpreted some of the loveliest garments in terms of fall fashion now. (Text by Mara Gladstone; images via LA Times and assorted.)
· Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915 [LACMA]