Pink Saturday - Beverly, at the blog "How Sweet the Sound" hosts Pink Saturday. Let the color pink inspire your creativity!
I was at a vintage fashion exhibit show recently, and one booth was displaying this fantastic magenta velvet coat.
It dates from the 1920s, and the style was known as a "cocoon coat" because of the way it envelops the wearer from head to toe and tapers in at the feet - like a cocoon.
Coats like these were designed by the French designer Paul Poiret. Poiret is known for revolutionizing women's attire at the turn of the century, freeing them from structured and pieced garments that required heavy bony and corsets, and dressing them in clothes they could relax in. He was so shocking and so successful that he became known as "The King of Fashion."
In 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited photos and sketches of his work. If you click on this link, you can view a gallery of his fashions.
Influenced by Asian clothing and the clothes of dancers, Poiret crafted his clothes by draping fabric directly on the body, rather than by intricate tailoring. His clothes were often made of fabric with vivid, unusual, and bold patterns, echoing some of the works of the artists who called themselves Fauve, or wild, and Primitive. His wife Denise was his model, and her slim build helped inspire simple, modern clothes that were totally unlike anything that had come before.
Poiret was also revolutionary in his overall approach to fashion - not only did he create gowns and coats, but also hats, accessories, perfume, and interior design - making one of the first "lifestyle" designers.
Poiret's work in French couture was interrupted by World War I, when he worked for the government to supply uniforms. When the war ended, fashion had changed - women loved the chic, well-made fashions created by Coco Chanel that were not only comfortable but easy to move in - Poiret's "hobble skirt" had actually been so narrow at the hemline that women were unable to walk.
This coat was probably made in America, a knock-off inspired by Poiret. It's made in velvet brocade damask, with a solid cherry velvet shawl collar, and lined in violet silk.
If you like coats like this - and wouldn't a warm coat be a lovely thing on a cold weekend like this ? - you could search vintage shops and shows, or you could make one yourself. This pattern company, Birch Street Clothing, has a selection of Poiret-inspired patterns. Cocoon coats, with their unstructured lines and flowing fabric, should be relatively easy to sew.
This Pink Saturday I'm traveling for business and also trying to recover from an annoying cold. I'll visit your posts later in the weekend.