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It has been 100 years since Western women were released from their corsets and stays. Designers Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Mariano Fortuny, and LeonBakst, and most famously, Coco Chanel, created a new relaxed elegance with loose, simple, comfortable, practical clothes.
This was largely due to the influence of the Japanese kimono. Japan had been closed to the world for 200 years: the policy of Sakoku. When it opened, beautiful Oriental products, art and ideas found their way to Paris. Artists such as Van Gogh, Degas, and Raoul Dufy collected the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints which then inspired their own work. These prints featured the kimono, and its sleek lines and draped construction soon became a strong fashion trend.
The French Riviera was the centre of creativity during the 1920s. Artists and writers from all over the world gathered to fashion a new way of life - among them Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gerald and Sarah Murphy, Picasso, Stravinsky, Cocteau and Serge Diaghilev and his Ballet Russes. Fortuny, Poiret, and Bakst made exotic couture clothing in the new style for the eccentric Marchesa Luisa Casati, who hosted banquets and parties in her palaces all over Europe. With these loose garments and “beach pyjamas” women, found an undiscovered freedom, and all were eager to experiment with the new styles of clothing that emerged.
This season’s collection featuring thigh-length jackets and cardigans, loose layering, long flippy skirts and drapey pants are reminiscent of this remarkable radical evolution in women’s fashion.
I have introduced a new colour cinnabar, a rich reddish brown, not unlike henna, which creates stunning new colour combinations when worn with brilliant Riviera blue of with soft ballet pink. It also refreshes all the classics of grey, navy and black. The silk prints are lustrous and brilliant in colour and look great with the new “neutrals” for pants of cinnabar and Riviera blue.
There are silks, woollens, appliques and knits from my European mills as well including travel friendly Eurojersey from Italy.
There are also easy-care essential travel pieces in a fabulous fabric from Japan.
This all combines to create easy-to-wear effortless elegance and carefully all made by a wonderful dedicated team in New Zealand.