Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A VFG*** Must See*** Exhibit

Couture Ensembles by Pierre Cardin, 1964-2002 is currently on exhibit at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport, RI.

Pierre Cardin’s rise to prominence in the late 1950s coincided with the young adulthood and marriage of Diane Vernes Brown. Born to a Parisian family long associated with the banking industry, Mlle. Vernes’ marriage to Capt. Nicholas Brown, of Rhode Island, brought her interest in contemporary French design to Newport. It was Mr. Brown, intrigued by press reports about Cardin's promise, who suggested the designer to his wife.

As Cardin's interests expanded and evolved over the next 40 years, Diane Vernes Brown’s devotion to the House of Cardin led to her acquiring numerous custom-fitted creations. Today the collection forms a rare comprehensive and characteristic overview of Cardin’s designs--representing not the fantasy of the catwalk, but couture work produced for a loyal private client.

Comprising evening dresses, cocktail dresses, suits, coats and accessories, the collection ranges widely in style and line, while retaining the precise tailoring, brilliant colors and luxurious materials for which Cardin became celebrated. Sophisticated and intellectually-conceived, the dresses demonstrate Cardin's practical yet innovative side.

Several of the pieces shown in the exhibit were worn by Mrs. Brown to events in Newport—among them an innovative, vintage couture evening dress made of swirling blue lace panels, worn to the 1999 Coaching Ball at The Breakers, and a 1966 pink silk crepe, partially-beaded couture evening dress that is entirely hand-stitched.

The exhibition, curated by Preservation Society Curator Paul F. Miller and Associate Curator Charles J. Burns, will be on display in the second floor costume galleries at Rosecliff from May 23 thru October 31, 2008. Admission to the exhibit is included with any Rosecliff tour ticket.

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