Within the realms of vintage fashion there are many fashion milestones that we’d love to revisit and Hermès Paris’s collection of trompe l’oeil aka trick of the eye (optical illusion) dresses is one of the most desired. So while we adore the new breed trompe l’oeil dresses on the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Kylie Minogue, let us just take you through what Hermès Paris did with them back in 1952.
Over 60 years back in 1952, Hermès Paris devised this gorgeous yet simple collection of trompe l’oeil dresses that made a mark for their unique design technique. Simplistic in approach and smart in design sense, these dresses are no rocket science and yet gorgeous enough for us to want to revisit them.
The designer brigade of 1950s at Hermès Paris took plain lengths of fabric and screen printed them with painted details like lapels, buttons and pockets. The plain length fabric was then cut accordingly and stitched into the clever dresses that continue to remain a milestone in fashion history.
Trompe L’oeil dresses at the crust of it are basically illusion dresses, made with a design trick that works on three-dimensional details that creates an illusion of a thinner look. And while the technique is now being incorporated by multiple designers, the first copy of this collection happened in the same year itself.
Legend has it that immediately after Hermès Paris aced this technique the dresses were copied with permission in the US by Herbert Sondheim. The Sondheim dresses were made of rayon that was woven to look like linen. Each dress style was made available in 4 colours – white, navy, black and copper. The Sondheim copies are said to have sold for $29.95 in 1952.
Also, back in Paris, Hermes applied the same technique to raincoats. The buttons and pockets were screen-printed and the coat closed with a hidden zipper in the front.
Written by Khubi Amin Ahmed on Apr 20, 2015