During the Golden Age of Haute Couture, Madame Gres created a sensation with bias cut gowns and liquid, jersey dresses which resembled the ruined columns of Greece. The mastery of drape and manipulation of the bias grain, established her as a grand couturier and master dress maker. For spring 2011, Chadwick Bell, presented a collection that took on the key elements of Madame Gres; soft draped fabrics, beautifully cut bias, and an airiness in his clothes in which great dressmakers learn through an apprenticeship at an haute couture house.
Studio Visit Photos: 1) Bias cut gown with layers of Chiffon to create a Moire effect. 2) Organic Print Dress. 3) "Mudsilk" Gown. 4) Mastered tailoring in a light men's suiting fabric. 5) The georgette gown shown at the end, with beading made to look like crushed, wet, earth.
Vanessa Webster, Bell’s managing director and business partner, recognized Bell’s unique eye and talent, and supported him to launch a label under his own name in 2007. Webster, who has a laid back elegance and charm, has expanded the company from a small made to order business to an established brand creating clothes for everyday lifestyle. Bell, created a vision of sophisticated, beautifully made clothes that have an intellectual approach with an artistic influence, which vary from contemporary art to grand masters of Haute Couture. Bell favors the work of legendary designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix and Gianfranco Ferre, whose architectural background is evident in Bell’s clothes. Chadwick bell’s vision continues on to jewelry and shoes; for spring 2011, the collection features beautiful abstract rosaries and gold chains that have a modern and rustic mood, along with hardy, stacked heel, luggage sandals made in collaboration with shoe designer, Nathalie Elharrar.
Chadwick Bell is on his way to becoming a great American Fashion House, with a more sophisticated view on fashion than most young designers, and establishing himself for the long run. Creating clothes that will outlive the seasonal shelf live, and will carry on to a new generation, perhaps he may even become one of our American masters.
Studio Visit Photos: 6) Perfect Bias Cut Day Dress. 7) Bias cut, pinstriped wool dress. 8) The great White Blouse. 9) Supple Lamb used to create a travel-friendly Dress. 10) Silk gold iridescent Matelasse dress with stacked paillettes embroidery.
Runway shots of the Spring 2011 Chadwick Bell Show, courtesy of WWD
Post Script: All clothes and accessories by Chadwick Bell Spring 2011. Chadwick Bell is available at Bergdorf Goodman, New York.