Let’s kickoff Fashion Week in appreciation of Haute Couture! This exhibit of an American Fashion leader explores the career of this seminal, yet little known today, 20th century designer who directed the Salon Moderne at Saks Fifth Avenue and became a champion of American Couture.
The Salon Moderne was the exclusive haute couture boutique within Saks Fifth Avenue, which in the 1920s and 1930s helped introduce preeminent European designers such as Schiaparelli, Vionnet, Mainbocher, and Balenciaga to the American public. In the 1940s, it became a platform for Gimbel's own couture designs, which were intended specifically for American women. Gimbel's work graced the cover of Vogue's inaugural American fashion issue in 1940, and in 1947 she made the cover of Time magazine, the first American designer to achieve this distinction. In timing with the exhibition, Saks Fifth Avenue will feature Gimbel looks in the windows of their flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
American Couture, a term used to identify expertly rendered made-to-measure garments that underwent numerous fittings, was a movement led by Gimbel, who headed the Salon Moderne from the 1930s until its closing in 1969. During World War II, she played a major role in organizing the first combined showing of American fashion in a precursor to New York Fashion Week.
The exhibition is curated by Beth Dincuff Charleston, part-time assistant professor, School of Fashion, Parsons The New School for Design with support from Saks Fifth Avenue. The lecture on Feb. 8th will be followed by a reception hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue, in the exhibition galleries.