We must admit, we adore the opulence and glamour of the couture shows in Paris - the extreme attention to detail, layers upon layers of tulle, masterful craftsmanship and inspiring new proportions - it's one of our favorite spectacles. Luckily for those of us remaining state-side during the presentations in Paris this week, Parsons (our creative director Christiane's alma mater) is helping to keep our fashion-obsessed hearts satisfied with a beautiful new exhibition - Sophie Gimbel: Fashioning American Couture.
We can't wait to examine Sophie's elaborate tucks and pleats, impeccable embroidery and whimsical embellishments up close. This ultra attention to quality and construction is so important to remember in a time when so much focus is on instant-gratification of fashion.
In 1929, Sophie took over as the director of Saks' Salon Moderne, an exclusive haute couture boutique inside the department store that introduced brands like Balenciaga, Vionnet, and Schiaparelli to the states.
In the 1940s, Sophie began selling her own couture designs in the salon. She became known for her ultra-feminine clothing with giant skirts, lots of tulle and a romantic silhouette.
Sophie helped dress many notable women including Marlene Dietrich, Rose Kennedy, and Lady Bird Johnson. In addition she coordinated and organized one of the first showings of American fashion in the 1940s, which morphed into our modern-day Fashion Week.
An intimate fashion show in the Saks Salon.
“Gimbel was an outspoken champion of American fashion,” said Beth Dincuff Charleston, who also curates the Parsons Fashion Archives, which houses the school’s collection of Gimbel garments as well as nearly 10,000 other works that represent a range of styles, time periods and countries.
She helped to popularized many wardrobe staples like bolero jackets, culottes, beaded sweaters paired with ball gowns, and sari dresses.
Sophie helped to lead the American Couture movement during her tenure at the Salon Moderne from the 1930s until its closing in 1969.
A wedding dress created for Saks Fifth Avenue by Sophie that was featured in Vogue.
The exhibition features several garments from the Parsons Fashion Archive that were laboriously crafted by highly skilled artisans who worked in the Salon Moderne workroom
These dresses, gowns and suits showcase Sophie's love of employing delicate techniques like cutting, patternmaking, draping, construction and fitting as well as her use of luxury fabrics and rich color palettes.
We can't wait to check out this stunning show. What are you doing this weekend? We would LOVE to know!