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Jacket

Madame Grès1939

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

In this dinner jacket, Alix reworks the conventions of tailored pattern pieces with the dressmaker's practice of pleating. The technique, which recalls Alix's draped jersey evening dresses, references the skeleton and musculature of the wearer. Typical of Alix's use of asymmetry for its poised disequilibrium, the jacket's center front opening is shifted to the left of the body. Alix eschewed surface decoration, believing that ornament should be integral to construction. It is precisely this architectural minimalism that imbues this jacket with such grandeur and confidence. In the competitive world of café society, the wearer of this majestic tomato red dinner jacket would be no less visible than if she was wearing one of Schiaparelli's lavishly embroidered creations.

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