the Madeleine dress

In case you haven’t guessed, one of the things I love doing most in my free time is looking at books on historical costume and famous designers (especially the kind with lots of pictures!) Recently I had two such specimens out from the library. They were on Madeleine Vionnet, who was a very famous Parisian designer in the 1930s.  Her work is really incredible–look her up if you can!

Her designs are so complicated and yet simple that it makes you really think out of the box. She worked frequently with squares and triangles, taking ordinary geometric shapes and draping them on a mannequin to create mind-boggling dresses. Her clothes were truly works of engineering as well as works of art. Vionnet left me and my seamstress Melinda flabbergasted. Well, we thought, let’s make a dress in honor of this highly skilled lady.

The result was the Madeleine Dress. Made in a sumptuous gray satin, it has thick, tasty gathered sleeves cut on the bias (another thing Vionnet is famous for) and a full, flowing skirt. There’s a cute little bodice and two ties in the back that cross into the stylized bow. All in all, a very fetching dress, quite vintage-y and glamorous. If you want to dance the night away and look great doing it, this is the dress for you.

It’s even a great dress for wearing to a photo shoot! I had such a great time modelling for these photographs that it was difficult to change back into my street dress. And when Melinda came up with the tiny pearl choker as the finishing touch to the outfit, well, let’s just say I hope you have as much fun wearing the Madeleine dress as I did! It’s truly an extraordinary dress in memory of an extraordinary lady.


4 thoughts on “the Madeleine dress

  1. I have this huge fashion book of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries from a fashion museum somewhere. I was looking at it earlier this week and found some Madeleine Vionnet designs in it! I looked back at this dress later and realized this was a dress inspired by her! -Claire

  2. Hi Melody, I was wondering if you were going to sell the pattern for this dress at any point? I love how it’s look is so simplistic but elegant.

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