Elsa Schiaparelli and her collaborations
Vintage fashion Surrealism at its best!
Elsa Schiaparelli and Jean Cocteau collaboration 1937
1938 vintage Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali "The Tears Dress"
The Coty Award
The Coty award was an award that was given to American based fashion designers in recognition of their talent and contribution to the fashion industry. It started in 1943 and Norman Norell was the first recipiant of the Coty "Winnie" award, which was its highest honor. Other recipiants that year were Lilly Dache for millinery, Hattie Carnegie for fashion design and retail, Clare Potter and Claire McCardell for American Sportswear, Charles Cooper, and Mainblocher and Valentina for American couture. Some of the subsequent Winnie Award winners include some of the most famous names in fashion: Claire McCardell, Gilbert Adrian, Clare Potter, Tina Leser, Nettie Rosenstein, Hattie Carnegie, Adele Simpson, Pauline Trigere, Bonnie Cashin, Charles James, Ben Zucherman, Anne Klein, James Galanos, Sydney Wragge, Luis Estevez, Arnold Scaasi, Bill Blass, Donald Brooks, Rudy Gernreich, Geoffrey Beene, Oscar de la Renta, Chester Weinberg, Halston, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Mary McFadden, Bill Atkinson, Willi Smith,and Adrienne Vittadini. The Coty award was last given out in 1984.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Charles Worth's first couture fashion house. Who cares? Well, the answer to that might be more important than one would think.
Traditionally considered to be the folly of artists or the indulgence of the wealthy, fashion represents much more and is proving to be very important to historians and sociologists alike. Fashion trends can be important indicators of the changing social climate of the times. Fashion history provides further insight into the political, economic and cultural views of almost every generation.
No decade proves this point perhaps more than the 1940's. The women of that decade hung up their dowdy 1930's house dresses and defined the style of their generation by literally "wearing the pants in the family". The wide shoulder pads of Gilbert Adrian added more strength to their stature and their new found confidence was evident in their suits and dresses. The 1940's were a huge leap forward for freedom in women's fashion and depicted women as strong without sacrificing femininity. Even the wartime rations didn't hamper the creative process for designers like Claire McCardell, who created more casual clothing for women, a category previously ignored.
It is fascinating to follow something as seemingly simple as a piece of fabric constructed in various ways, through history and see how it directly related to the lifes of the people who wore it. That's why fashion history is worth studying! Below are some links to fashion, textile and costume musems that might be helpful in your research!
FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) Museum and Galleries
The Costume Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center
Phoenix Art Museum Fashion Design Collection
The Black Fashion Museum
The Lace Museum
Kent State University Museum
Texas Fashion Collection
Cornell Costume and Textile Collection
Cornell Costume Collection
Haute Couture at the Met
The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology)
Bath Fashion Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
National Museum of Costume
Fashion Textile Museum - London
Museo del Traje in Madrid
Musée de la Mode et du Textile