The Vionnet Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2013/2014 Collection was presented July 3, 2013, in Paris, a day late, according to WWD, due to technical problems. Forced to recreate the dresses on the spot, the team managed to present 11 of the 15 dresses originally in the collection. With no formal training in design, owner and creative director Goga Ashkenazi got mixed reviews for this collection, which relied on Madeleine Vionnet’s archive of the early thirties and recently acquired illustrations of her designs.
The dresses are glamorous, some bringing old Hollywood to mind, some more reminiscent of Scarlett O’Hara. The cobalt blue gown with cape-style sleeves was pure glamour, and the sleek red pleated floor length dress with a trio of beaded belts across the midriff and mounded beaded shoulders was elegant. But it has to be said that one or two of the dresses resembled the green-drapes trick, and it’s hard to know where you would wear that lace onesie with the blue satin cover-up—too fancy for hanging around the house and too skimpy to wear in public.
In designing this line that she is calling “demi-couture,” Ashkenazi and her team worked hard to cut costs (from $100,000 to $10,000) without sacrificing style. “We figured out how to make the dresses more affordable but use the same couture techniques,” she said. As to whether that’s a good thing, the jury is still out.