Friday, October 15, 2010

The return of Vinspiration! Jacques Griffe

Oh man oh man oh man! Vinspiration is back! Why did it stop you say? Well, mostly because it's a lot of work to find information on certain subjects. I love to research don't get me wrong, but with the ridiculous search for a wedding venue within our budget going on I had trouble justifying the 2-3 hours of research and photo finding time that were sometimes necessary for a vinspiration post.

I've found myself missing my vinspiration lately and I figure you all wouldn't hate me too much if I slacked off a wrote shorter posts every once in a while. So today's Vinspiration are pieces by Jacques Griffe.

The History Lesson (I'll be brief today): Jacques Griffe was born in France in 1917. He was apprenticed to a tailor at age 16, fought in World War II where he was eventually imprisoned for 18 months, was employed at the House of Vionnet, and later opened Jacques Griffe Evaluation, in rue du Faubourg Saint-HonorĂ© in 1947. He retired in 1968.

Jacques Griffe created some amazing structured designs in the 1950s-1960s. His runway gowns especially were structured to the point of wearable sculpture.

February 1951. 
Black Cocktail Dress with a very deep V in the front. Look at that thing, it goes almost to her belly button. A little more risky then anything I would wear, but I love the tight waist and structured bit above the pencil skirt. This is from the Paris Spring Fashion Show.

Probably the most famous Griffe gown of all time. I have no idea how those scallops were made. Can anyone shine any light on this subject? I have to say this isn't my favorite evening gown of his... mostly it just reminds me of a pineapple.

Griffe very often used these Kimono sleeves in his dresses. Here combined with a belted waist and some seriously structured undergarments they make this model look like she has no waist at all. To me she looks like she's missing ribs. That's pretty darn skinny. I just love the draping on this garment. We can see the deep V neckline that Griffe favored here again, but this time the added ruffled collar and fur make it much more wearable.

Suzy Parker. October 1953. 
What can you say about this other than what a beautiful beautiful dress. Just looking at it gives me the warm fuzzies. The color, the shape, the outer wrap. This reminds me a lot of the Fortuny Gowns. The empire waist and that little bow are just too sweet.

 February 1956
Look at the structure of this mermaid dress. Can we say gravity defying? The cut is beautiful, the layers or skirt have such a great shape. This is one of my all time favorite Griffe gowns. Do you ever wonder if these pieces still exist somewhere? How much I would give to get my hands on this dress and figure out it's construction.

Moving into the 1960s now. Again we have the V neckline, but it's softened with the high scarf like drape across the neck.  We also see more of Griffe's fantastic fabric draping. The shape here is much softer and much more 60s. Griffe was an interesting fellow. He very often had his hands in every part of a garments construction. Not only could be design, but he was an expert at draping and sewing as well.

Griffe later goes on to do several designs for Vogue patterns. I can tell you from experience that if you can find one of Griffe's patterns for sale they tend to be very expensive. I stumbled into this baby, but I don't think the seller really knew what they had... I'll admit that I didn't tell her either. It's missing one piece, but I'll take that over the $125 uncut pattern selling on etsy right now.  Don't you wish high end designers still designed for pattern companies today? Now don't get my wrong. I love Kay Unger, but she's no Vera and she's certainly no Griffe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also saw a Griffe cocktail dress for sale on etsy. Wish I could fit into it, I'm no 6...