Vivienne Westwood, Cristobal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Ralph Lauren are the most recent designers to be featured in the ‘Vogue On’ series in association with Quadrille Publishing. Recently the authors of these editions, went to the Victoria & Albert Museum to talk about their forthcoming books, and what makes these designers so important.
Alexandra Shulman, Editor of British Vogue, comments “Vogue On offers an authoritative overview of the work of the 20th century’s most influential designers. Unique access to the treasures of the Vogue library combined with concise, elegant and informed writing ensure that this series is an unmissable addition to any student or enthusiast of fashion’s library.”
Vivienne Westwood is written about by Linda Watson, who regards Westwood as the ultimate maverick, who helped create punk, fetish wear for the office and restyled Harris tweed as well platforms and the crinoline. Now Westwood uses her collections to reflect her political causes, most notably the environment and human rights. For over 40 years Westwood has dominated all those who wish to be alternative but still fabulous, and it is a credit to her skill and vision how many of her early designs are still as popular today as they were then.
Ralph Lauren, by Kathleen Baird-Murray discusses the profound effect that Ralph Lauren has had upon the fashion industry. Looking to men’s tailoring for inspiration when he started out, Ralph Lauren has given us so many iconic designs, such as reworking an American take on the British upper-class, rejuvinating the polo shirt and even revamping Hamptons blue-blood style. Understanding the need to provide his brand with a recognisable entity, Ralph Lauren has surpassed all that was expected to create a 50 year legacy.
Cristobal Balenciaga, discussed by Susan Irvine, shows us that Balenciaga’s influence over fashion, frequently referred to as the master of proportion and line. Known to some as the greatest couturier, Balenciaga experimented with volume, rarely using structure or pinning. Balenciaga, gave us the cabbage cape, the sack dress, and the barrell suit, all of which challenged the waisted, overtly feminine designs that Dior was producing at the time. His flat refusal to partake in any marketing or self-promotion, left Balenciaga as somewhat of an engima, as he preferred to allow his clothes to speak for themselves.
Hubert De Givenchy, recounted by Drusilla Beyfus, made us see that although hugely influenced by Balenciaga, Givenchy understood the need to be an ambassador of his brand and self-promotion. Givenchy imbued his clothes with a femininity and sexuality as well as retaining his love of minimalism. His first collection was based on separates, now an obvious concept, yet at the time was somewhat revolutionary. Famously having dressed Audrey Hepburn, in ‘that’ little black dress, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Givenchy has since been credited with having dressed many of the most glamorous women of the last 50 years, including Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy and Deborah Carr.
Each book brings something new to these recognisable and legendary designers, allowing the reader an insight into their lives and designs.
(Each book £15 from Quadrille Publishing)