She is an artist. I always loved the Jacqueline de Ribes collections and was disappointed when she closed the doors to her house in 1995. Last Friday at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition on Ms. de Ribes' aristocratic background and her body of work, it was revealed to me, by surprise! why I admired her work so much. As it turns out Ms. de Ribes loved designing through draping. She said that the only way to design is by working with fabric either on the mannequin or a live model. On display were gowns with asymmetric collars, dramatic sleeves and ruching. There is not an over indulgence of decoration and glitter. Instead the structural complexity of the fabric is the adornment while concurrently, preserving the sexuality, femininity and allure of the female form. She indulged herself with this art form and the result is evident. There is a certain shape and sensuality that draping presents regardless of the period in time. I found it quiet interesting how draping can influence design aesthetics among fashion designers years apart. Ms. de Ribes' one armhole/one shoulder [pictured above] from 1988 echoed similarities to a design I created in 2001. Same concept...one armhole/one shoulder.
Another striking similarity born out of the draping process was Ms. de Ribes' draped ruffle cocktail dress on the left with my idea 15 years later on the right. By working with the bias organza pieces indiscriminately, the form, and draping, the design takes shape. All the while allowing the creator to view the process and progress allowing time for the discretionary eye and hand to design or alter. At the forefront, always maintaining the importance of the female shape.
It may be challenging to identify the differences between those designs which are draped and those which are flat sketched, but if you take into consideration these few reminders you will be one step closer. 1. Draping highlights the curves of the female form 2. There is an interest of fabric manipulation minus the overindulgance of decoration 3. It may look simple, but it's all in the details.