The French fashion house of Vionnet has had a few stops and starts on its road to revival. But Hollywood's love affair with the label shows no signs of waning.
Thursday night, Amber Heard walked the red carpet at the premiere of the film "Paranoia" wearing a Vionnet sky blue, black and ivory silk cady draped dress with a navy silk satin skirt featuring ivory beads arranged in a modern design.
The color combinations were fresh and the beading detail unusual. It made you look twice -- in a good way.
Madeleine Vionnet, the French designer who invented the bias cut and drew inspiration from Greek statues for her famous pleating, closed her business in 1939.
The revival of the brand began in 2006. Under the ownership of Arnaud de Lummen, Vionnet cycled through two designers, Sophia Kokosalaki and Marc Audibet.
Then in spring 2009 Vionnet was purchased by Matteo Marzotto, the Italian textile and fashion magnate who worked for 15 years at Valentino. Under his leadership (and at first, designer Rodolfo Paglialunga, then twin sister design duo Barbara and Lucia Croce) Vionnet did remarkably well bringing the house tradition of draping, color and pleating to Hollywood, but not so well at retail.
Last year the brand changed hands again, bought by London-based businesswoman Goga Ashkenazi. A Kazakhstan-born entrepreneur with interests in oil, Ashkenazi has deep pockets and is extremely well connected. (Referred to as a socialite in some circles, she's been linked romantically to Agnelli family heir Lapo Elkann.)
Ashkenazi hired a new group of designers for Vionnet, and on the red carpet at least the results speak for themselves. In addition to Heard, Rita Ora, Cate Blanchett, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ginnifer Goodwin have all been spotted in Vionnet in recent weeks.
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