Fashion History: Final Topic Choices

Designer: Edith Head

Date: 1953

Dresser: Audrey Hepburn

 

Edith Head was an American costume designer who won a record eight Academy Awards for Best Costume Design from 1940s to 1970s working with Paramount and Universal. She was a favorite among many of the leading female stars of the 1940s and 1950s, such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Bette Davis.

 

In the image, Hepburn rolls up the sleeves of the V-neck collar shirt and puts it in a high waist midi skirt with buckle belt. The sandals with strips that she got from street vendors show the Roman summer and wild break away journey of the princess. And in the picture, she looks casual, free and delighted.

 

The aesthetic and spirit of this outfit are clean, strong and classic. It doesn’t wipe out her beauty and elegance as a princess. On the other hand, it shows a transformation to her pursuit of independence and adventure. Also, Roman Holiday is the first movie I saw from Audrey Hepburn. I was enchanted by the adventurous love story and was heartbroken for the couple couldn’t end up together at age of 10. This outfit has left an inerasable impression to me and my aesthetics. My designs are relatively considered conservative. Because I like to use classic lines, basic shapes and showing less skin. And as I was designing resort lines, sandals, high waist midi skirt and blouse were all my preferred items.

Designer: William Chang

Date: 1950s-1960s (shoot in 2000)

Dresser: Maggie Cheung

 

Cheongsam (or qipao in Mandarin) is a one-piece Chinese dress for women. It was originally worn loose in Qing dynasty, hanging straight down the body or flared slightly in an A-line. Over the years, the cheongsam was tailored to become a lot more form-fitting. The modern version was first developed in Shanghai in the 1920s.

 

There are over 20 Cheongsams in this film and this one above is my favorite piece. The dress fits perfectly for the human curves even with the smooth lines from neck to shoulder. The pink silk and wool blend cheongsam with burgundy geometric print decorates her body flawlessly with a sense of fluidity and sensuality. It also matches the lighting background of the scene.

 

The designer of all the cheongsams in this film, William Chang, is an art director and always collaborate with Wong Kar Wai. He is known for his nostalgic mood in art directing and frequent use of improvisation and split narratives in film editing. He has received an Academy Award for Best Costume Design nomination for his work in The Grandmaster

 

Cheongsam originates from China so I feel this familiarity with it yet it is so different with my own design aesthetic. There are not a lot of cheongsams that I consider beautiful but this is an eye-catching one.

“Girl in Black and White”

Photographer: Irving Penn

Date: 1950

Dresser: Jean Patchett

Dress Designer: Larry Aldrich

Hat Designer: Lily Dache

Publisher: Vogue

 

Jean Patchett was a leading fashion model of the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s. She was famous for being one of the first high fashion models to appear remote, because previously models had appeared warm and friendly. Irving Penn, was an American photographer known for his fashion photography, portraits and still lifes. His career included work at Vogue and independent advertising for clients such as Issey Miyake and Clinique. He describes Jean Patchett as “a young American goddess in Paris couture”.

 

This photograph was specifically commissioned to replace the color illustrations Vogue had used on its covers since 1909. It is stable, dignified and balanced. Only Jean’s sidelong glance breaks the symmetry a little bit.

195 thoughts on “Fashion History: Final Topic Choices

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