Архів категорії: Fashion history

Charles James

Charles James

James, who was born in England in 1906. At the age of nineteen, James opened his first milliner shop in Chicago, using the name of “Charles Boucheron”, as his father forbade him to use that of James.

“Charles Boucheron”

 In 1936, he established the company Charles James (London) Ltd., using his own name officially for the first time. He showed his first collection in the French capital in 1937. That same year, he created a one-of-a-kind white satin quilted jacket described by Salvador Dalí as “the first soft sculpture”.

James moved permanently to New York in 1939 where he established Charles James, Inc. Later Charles James becomes best known for his ballgowns and highly structured aesthetic. James describes fashion as “what is rare, correctly proportioned and, though utterly discrete, libidinous.” James is in the details as well as in the larger shapes. He grants every aspect of his garments — seams, draping, fabric, color — a distinct autonomy, and you see them for themselves and as part of a whole. 

James retired in 1958. He died in 1978 of bronchial pneumonia. James inspired many designers, including Christian Dior, who said he was “the greatest talent of my generation”. Since 1982, Charles’ works have been exhibited in the best museums in the world.

Look also: Костюми в Музеї Бенакі (Greek Costumes at the Athen’s Benaki Museum)

Charles James


Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932. However, the country of Spain was his earliest style muse.  At the age of 18, he moved to Madrid to attend the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. As a student, de la Renta immersed himself in the culture of
Spain and, to make extra money, took up fashion sketching.

It was also in Madrid where he first became a fashion illustrator for the couture house of Cristobal Balenziaga in 1957.

Oscar de la Renta

Arriving in Manhattan in 1963, he worked for Elizabeth Arden and Jane Derby before going it alone, quickly became part of the fabric of the city’s fashion and social scenes.

Oscar de la Renta

De la Renta began his own signature ready-to-wear label in 1965. His designs were ladylike without being stiff, and he could whip up an airy summer dress with the same facility as he could a red carpet gown.

Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta

The label ” Oscar de la Renta” was an immediate hit thanks to De la Renta’s use of colour, his vibrant prints and romantic rendering of Spanish and Caribbean silhouettes. He said: “I fell madly for Spain, its people, its landscape and life in Madrid. The sights, sounds and drama of Spanish culture — bullfights, flamenco and the most festive celebrations such as the traditional ferias of Seville and fallas of Valencia — were burned forever in my imagination, defining my own aesthetic.”

Oscar de la Renta

Highly respected by his contemporaries, de la Renta served as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 1973 to 1976, and from 1986 to 1988. In 1990 the CFDA gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. He also won the CFDA Womanswear Designer of the Year Award in 2000.

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta became the creative director of Balmain Haute Couture in 1992. Between 1993 and 2002 he designed the haute couture collections, becoming the first Dominican to design for a French couture house.

By the late ’90s and early 2000s, his work became the preferred wear of American first ladies. He dressed first lady Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, and then provided the gowns for inaugural events for both Hillary Clinton in 1997 and Laura Bush in 2005.

Nancy Reagan in the Oscar de la Renta red dress

De la Renta had been diagnosed with cancer during the first decade of the 2000s. He died on October 20, 2014, at the age of 82. His brand continues to function, and his creations are displayed in the best museums in the world.

Look also: ГЕНІАЛЬНО: Сюрреалізм VOGUE PORTUGAL від Rafal Olbinski

Costume history in Signe Vilstrup’s photoes

Photographer Signe Vilstrup began her career as fashion photographer in 2002. Since then she creates many beautiful, intriguing and magical universes for a wide range of fashion brands and magazines.

Signe Vilstrup

Her work is delicate, romantic and dreamy. With her photography Vilstrup is driven by the possibility of freezing a dream, in time and space. It is the filmatic staging of her photography always carries a unique touch that tells stories one can only imagine. In her photos we we often see stylizations of historical costumes: Rococo, Baroque, Renaissance.

Signe Vilstrup
Signe Vilstrup


Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Inspiration From Ancient Greece

Dolce & Gabbana  fw 2019/2020 Alta Moda

Dolce & Gabbana  fw 2019/2020 Alta Moda collection was inspired by Ancient Greece. “The new D & G classicism was shown in the look of female divinities in slender draped dresses, white, but glinting with gold embroidery and burnished filigree headpieces. The latter might be Egyptian or Roman circlets – or maybe pieces of ruined sculptures balanced on the head. They were matched by classic Greek and Roman figures used as decoration on relatively simple dresses” – Suzy Menkes wrote in her review for Vogue.

Dolce & Gabbana  fw 2019/2020 Alta Moda

The Ancient Greece theme was decided by Karl Lagerfeld in his Resort 2018  collection for Chanel.

The Ancient Greece by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Resort 2018 

To me, the Dolce & Gabbana  fw 2019/2020 Alta Moda collection looks very traditional for the brand – a literal reading of the theme and the banal use of ornaments and accessories, especially the sculpture hats. But the luxury of finishing and presenting the collection to the public is really impressive.

Dolce & Gabbana  fw 2019/2020 Alta Moda
Dolce & Gabbana  fw 2019/2020 Alta Moda
Dolce & Gabbana  fw 2019/2020 Alta Moda

Designers have once again confirmed that the history of the costume is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for modern fashion.

Look also at the Costumes of ancient Mesopotamia:


The Ancient Greece in Fellini film

Joe Eula – Master of Fashion Illustration

Joe Eula, an illustrator who was a free spirit and who drew quickly. His illustrations accompanied Eugenia Sheppard’s fashion columns in The New York Herald Tribune. He was present for Yves Saint Laurent’s first collection for Dior, in 1958, and for his last, in 2002. 

Joe contributed a great many illustrations for American Vogue, Italian and French Harper’s Bazaar. In the 1980’s, he handled the fashion illustration for such houses as Chanel, Givenchy, Versace.

Joe Eula also created eye-catching posters for Marlene Dietrich and Liza Minelli.

Read also:

Fashion collages by Myroslav Melnyk




by Myroslav Melnyk 
A.P. of art

In the scientific discourse of the early 21 ST century, the most researchers connect the concept of “glamour” with a total consumer cult and consider that it is “the spirit of the time”. Glamorous life demonstrates numerous of movies, TV shows, fiction and glossy publications, it is analyzed in numerous monographs and scientific articles. Such a comprehensive coverage of this phenomenon makes the word “glamour” fashionable. Many authors speculate it to attract the broad public’s attention. So the concept of “glamour” is not very clearly defined and it’s studying remains relevant.

Among the most influential scientific researches glamour can be identified in the work by Steven Gundle “Glamour: A history” (2008), where the author consider the evolution of glamour in different socio-historical conditions [1]. An interesting approach to the understanding of the topic sends Dmitry Ivanov in the monograph “Glam-capitalism” (2008). The author stresses that in the beginning of the 21ST century glamour turns into the fundamental logic of the society functioning [2]. In Ukraine academic research of glamour only begins and presented in a few articles. Summing up, we can state that in theoretical studies of the glamour phenomena the emotional approach prevails over the scientific analysis.

The most profound analysis of the word “glamour” we can find in the article by Iryna Kazimirova “Associative aura of the concept of “glamour” (2009). The author defines the modern interpretation of glamour as the certain quality, which makes the objects and peoples look not what they really are. It connote with artificiality and illusions, deliberate external shine. The scientist identifies the following substantive components of the glamour as shiny clothes, crystals, massive jewelry, fur, hats, bright accessories, small dogs, brilliant makeup, fake nails etc. Kazimirova accents that the glamour is linked to the social and property status (la boheme, elite, “golden youth”) and, especially, with the world of fashion and beauty, glossy magazines, show-business and Hollywood stars, which is defined as the “glamorous world”[3].

The substantive components of the glamour are shiny clothes, crystals, massive jewelry, fur, hats, bright accessories, small dogs, brilliant makeup, fake nails etc.

The glamorization of the society connected with the flourishing of bourgeois culture in the 19TH century, when the bourgeoisie claimed its social status by imitating the symbolic codes of the aristocracy. But nouveau riches not only copy the  cultural samples, they also create the new, mainly with the elements of artificial and theatrical luxury. This conspicuousness differ the glamour from the aristocratic standards.  Marginal social classes (courtesans, actresses, dancers, mannequins) use  the glamorous goods to hide their “low” origin. So at the end of the 19 TH century the rapid development of fashion and beauty industries was started. The luxury becomes more accessible and the improvement of cosmetics allows creating the “appearance of beauty”.

More opportunities to create the illusion of the beauty come from the cinematograph. But in the beginning of the 20 TH century it was guided by the principles of the Victorian puritan morality.  The poor heroes prevailed on the silver screen. Young Mary Pickford attracted the audience in the film adaptation of the bestseller “Polliana” with the idea “It is better to be poor but honest”.

The screen images glamorization began in the late 1920 – early 1930-ies. That time Europe was recovering from the consequences of the First world war and the invention of the Lumiere brothers was most effectively used the in the United States, where the largest world center of the cinema industry – Hollywood – was organized. This “dream factory” has become the main “sweet life” guide.

The crash of the New York stock exchange (1929) was not prevented the Hollywood development because cinema remains the most accessible, the most popular and the most mass art. That time fashion has come to the cinema so close that the screen became the basic fashion trendsetter. Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Mae West, Carol Lombard and Marlene Dietrich were the most glamourous stars of 1930 – 1940-ies.

Jean Harlow

However, time has changed. The Second world war strengthen the influence of Hollywood on fashion, but it changed the public ideas about the ideal woman. Glamorous “goddess” began to be ousted from the screens of more down-to-earth girls. Betty Grable, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Jane Russell brought the new erotic elements into fashion: tight sweaters, swimwear, shorts. They gives the new erotic meaning to the glamour.

Rita  Hayworth

Since 1947, together with the dreams of a bright future, glamour returned to the fashion by the Christian Dior’s New Look. The precious silks, corsets, hats, jewelry, cosmetics and perfumes turn a woman into an unreal beautiful creature. It is the paradox that in the 1950s-1960s, the cinema images was not really luxurious: the “stars” have started to play diverse roles and often radically changed their looks in the real life. They wished to be like the “next door girls”.

Beside this, fashion deglamourization  thanks to the post-war development of low-budget European cinema: Neo Realism in Italy, New Wave in France and Free Cinema in Great Britain fully update the cinematic language in order to show the “real life”. The main characters of the films were the “common” students, workers or unemployed peoples. Dressed very simply, the young Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Jeanne Moreau, Brigitte Bardot embody the new beauty standards without the glamour, which instantly became the fashion trend.

Sophia Loren

La dolce vita” (1959) by Federico Fellini is the significant film for understanding the evolution of the society perception of glamour. The title of the film characterizes the style and philosophy of wealth. But the director demonstrates the futility of the bohemian life with all the easy accessible pleasures. One of the main heroines – American star Sylvia (Anita Ekberg) – danced without the shoes, bathed in the fountain wearing the evening dress and embodies the children’s spontaneity instead of the glossy glamour.

Glamour came back in the fashion and cinema only in the 1980s with the most popular TV-series “Dallas” (1978 – 1991), “Dynasty” (1981 – 1989), “Santa-Barbara” (1984 – 1993). The costumes of the heroes were luxury and overwhelmed by decorative elements and massive jewelry.


Film stars of the 1990s are mostly not so glamorous: popular Meryl Streep, Sharon Stone, Meg Ryan, Jodie Foster, Julia Roberts show democratic casual style on the screen and in the real life.  The indicative examples of this are the stars’ looks on the most glamorous presentation – Oscar awards: in 1992 Foster appears in a gray pants suit, and the following year Stone caused admiration, wearing a simple white shirt.

Jodie Foster

In the beginning of the 21ST century the Red Carpet become the most powerful promotion event: fashion houses and jewelry companies compete for the right to make the celebrity glamorous.

The street fashion is also glamorous, but it’s mostly eclectic. The most popular sport-glam style is represented with sparkles on t-shirts, jeans and sweaters.

The most visible eclectic glamour on the screen was shown in the TV series “Sex and the City” (2000 – 2010), which costumier Patricia Field has received two Emmy awards for costume design. The heroines of the film demonstrate that eccentric designer dresses and shopping can be the modern substitute for happiness.

Sex and the City

In the real life vulgar and available glamour associates with the kitsch and causes irony. The glamorization resistance becomes the successful strategy in fashion: there are such ironically-hybrid stylistic trends as the trash-glam, the gothic glamour and the glam-punk. They are based on contrasts and, in general, make fun of conspicuous luxury consumers.

Another way to resist the fashion glamour is the returning to the natural simplicity and, we believe, it’s the most relevant to the spirit of the 21ST century.

List of sources used

  1. Gundle S. Glamour : A  History / Stephen Gundle. – Oxford University Press, 2008, 464pp.
  2. Иванов Д.В. Глэм-капитализм / Дмитрий Иванов – СПб.: Петербургское Востоковедение, 2008. – 176 с.
  3. Казимирова І. А. Асоціативна аура концепту «гламур» / Ірина Казимирова // Мова і культура (Науковий журнал). – К.: Видавничий Дім Дмитра Бураго, 2009. – Вип. 11. – Т. Х (122). – с. 23

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Я художник 🙂 (my art works)


Sincerely Yours

Myroslav Melnyk )

Fashion inspiration: Peggy Moffitt

Peggy Moffitt (born  1940) is American model and actress, who’s unique look has become iconic of the 60s fashion.  Peggy worked very closely with fashion designer Rudi Gernreich. She developed a signature Pop Art style with asymmetrical hair cut (created by Vidal Sassoon) and Kabuki-like makeup.

Read also:

Поп-арт в мистецтві й моді


Нам так повезло всім… Andre Tan FW 2016

Sincerely Yours,

Myroslav Melnyk )

Discovering: Patrick Kelly

Patrick Kelly Kelly studied art at Jackson State University and then attended Parsons School of Design. While living in Atlanta at age 18 Kelly sold reworked, recycled clothes and served as an unpaid window-dresser at Yves Saint Laurent. YSL chairman Pierre Bergé personally sponsored Kelly in 1988 to form the Paris-based womenswear fashion house Patrick Kelly Paris.


In 1988 he became the American admitted to the Paris’s The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.His first Louvre show, a spoof on the Mona Lisa, included such numbers as “Jungle Lisa loves Tarzan” (decollete leopard-print gowns) and “Moona Lisa” (Plexiglas-bubble headgear and silver- star-studded dresses).

Patrick Kelly’s black mini with framed portraits of the Mona Lisa, spring / summer ’89.

Patrick Kelly made clothes that made people smile, he blurs the line between fashion and show biz. He make a fast rise to the tophigh-profile clients such as screen legend Bette Davis, supermodel of the era Isabella Rossellini and Paloma Picasso.

Patrick Kelly succumbed to AIDS at the age of 35, he died on New Year’s Day, 1990.

Once, when the correspondent ask him: “Are you growing up?”

“No,” said Kelly. “I’m having fun.”

Read also:

Що я побачив у показі STEBLAKIZM ss 2016 на Lviv Fashion Week



Sincerely yours,

Myroslav Melnyk )

Old time photos with Ukrainian national costumes

Some photos, gathered from many different sources

The old photos always touched and inspired me. They always ask the question: who were these people? How they lived?

Old time photos with Ukrainian national costumes are very special for me. They show us how Ukrainians loved and appreciated their traditional culture through different times and circumstances.

At the top photo is movie star Sophia Loren during her visit to Poltava Region for shooting the film “Sunflower” (1970). Pictured below – frame from the film “Chervona Ruta” (1971).

Pictures belov – covers of Ukrainian fashion magazine “Krasa i Moda” (“Beauty &Fashion”) – for more look here.Today, at the beginning of 21-st century, we also can see how styling and some elements of traditional Ukrainian dress enrich contemporary fashion and raise the patriotic spirit of Ukrainians – majestic nation with very uneasy history. And also strong nation with very beautiful traditional costumes…

Sincerely Your’s,

Myroslav Melnyk )


Chernikova на Lviv Fashion Week весна-літо 2015