Archives for posts with tag: christian dior

Francesco Merletti, First Lady, 2008, tecnica mista, 22 x 23,5 x 28,3 cm, collezione privata

Francesco Merletti, First lady, 2008, mix media, p.c.

For my last post on feathers I have decided to put together a selection of extraordinary feathered items I have come across. One thing is certain it takes character to wear feathers, just as it does to carry off real fur (yes! fur posts coming soon).

scarf and muff of sea-gull feathers, 1880-99,MET NY

Sea gull muff and scarf, 1880-99c, Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, USA

And it takes a real woman to carry off a whole bird – eyes, beak and all. This skillfully made “set” of sea gulls from the US seems totally audacious today, but probably less so back in the 1890s when there was a genuine vogue for stuffing and wearing just about any form of living species.

Emanuel Harry of London, gold earings with bird heads, 1865c, V&A

 Emanuel Harry, London, gold and bird head earings, 1865c, Victoria and Albert museum, London, UK

In 20th Century fashion, the trend re-emerges during the 1940s in the form of exquisite little hats:

LIFE cover 1942

cover of LIFE magazine, 1942

Hattie Carnegie, feather hat, 1940, MetNY

Hattie Carnegie, birds hat, 1940, Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, USA

Caroline Reboux, feather hat suede base, 1946, V&A

Caroline Reboux,Paris, bird hat, 1946,Victoria and Albert museum, London, UK

And finally lets not forget shoes! In this example (image below) Roger Vivier not only covers the exterior in feathers but also echoes the fluid shape of an exotic bird in the silhouette of the shoe – a masterpiece

Roger vivier for Dior, feather covered shoe,  1960c,Met NY

Roger Vivier for Dior, feather covered shoe, 1960, Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, USA


Arsenic_And_Old_Lace_Poster Some of you may be familiar with this war-time comic (well I found it comic) thriller by Frank Capra. OK I am not going to talk about this film at all. I just wanted to nab the title to make a sophisticated pun for those of you who know italian. What I want to talk about in this post is a an italian artist who totally grabbed the attention of FASHIONARCHAEOLOGY recently. I think you will understand why

Francesco Merletti, Vatalaro col., IT

Francesco Merletti, Vatalaro col., IT

MERLETTI means “lace” in italian. He only seems to paint one woman and her slightly bulging eyes are as unsettling as they are hypnotic. Merletti’s sense of style is wonderful – hats, gloves, shoes, all chosen with great precision. This artist is not just a talented painter but also a sophisticated communicator of fashion history. I think of Christian Dior and the uncompromizing glamour of early 1950s Haute Couture when I look at some  his work.

C.Dior, black velvet new Look robe manteaux, 1947,p.c.

C.Dior, velvet New Look robe manteaux, 1947,p.c.

Lilly daché hat,photo: E.Steichen for Vogue USA, 1946

Lilly daché hat,photo: E.Steichen for Vogue USA, 1946 is his gallery in Milan where I believe he lives and works. Next time I will post his sculptures. Amazing!