Madeleine Vionnet (1876 – 1975) was a French fashion designer. Called the “Queen of the bias cut” and “the architect among dressmakers”. With her bias cut clothes, Vionnet dominated haute couture in the 1930s setting trends with her sensual gowns worn by such stars as Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo.
Vionnet’s vision of the female form revolutionized modern clothing and the success of her unique cuts assured her reputation. She fought for copyright laws in fashion and employed what were considered revolutionary labor practices at the time – paid holidays and maternity leave, day-care, a dining hall, a resident doctor and dentist.
Vionnet was also the first designer to introduce a prêt-à-porter (ready to wear) line based on her couture pieces, which she sold in the United States. Today, Madeleine Vionnet is considered one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century.
Edward Steichen. Marion Morehouse and unidentified model wearing dresses by Vionnet. 1930 Courtesy Condé Nast Archive © 1930 Condé Nast Publications
Cecil Beaton, Madeleine Vionnet
Madeleine Vionnet, 1935
Vionnet hound’s tooth coat with three buttons and a transformable collar, 1930