Sunday, June 6, 2010

INSPIRATION Robert Piguet 1949... BALENCIAGA FW 2008//9

...beautifully draped peplums!...Dorian Leigh photographed by Richard Avedon in a Robert Piguet dress from 1949 [center] and two outfits from Balanciaga's FW 2008//9 collection [left, right].
Robert Piguet [1901-1953] headed his own couture house for nearly two decades. He learned his craft in two of the more important houses of the early 20th century, Poiret and Redfern. Both houses were fashionable and influential, but they espoused widely divergent philosophies of fashion and appealed to very different customers. In developing his own style, Piguet combined the imagination and awareness of Poiret at his peak with the quality and stability of Redfern.
Like Poiret, Piguet understood and employed the links between high fashion and the arts. His collections often reflected his sensitivity to the cultural environment of the moment. An example is his response to the historical romanticism of the 1930s, an important movement fed by theatrical and motion picture costume dramas. These provided Piguet with inspiration for everything from suits to evening gowns.
It might be said that Piguet's most lasting contributions to postwar fashion were the designers he employed and encouraged. Dior, Givenchy, and Balmain each worked for or sold designs to Piguet in the 1930s and 1940s, and went on to open houses of their own. Whether Piguet hired them because an inherent romanticism in their work agreed with his fashion sense, or they learned from him traits which each would use to advantage in his own business is not a matter of record. 
Piguet's wisdom in choosing able designers, however, was more than matched by his skill in maintaining the identity of his house and collections, no matter who produced the actual sketches.