A Valentino Gown That's 'Worth' a Second Look

New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week. This week's lesson? A Valentino gown that takes some serious inspiration from the father of haute couture, Charles Worth.
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New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week. This week's lesson? A Valentino gown that takes some serious inspiration from the father of haute couture, Charles Worth.

New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week.

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The House of Worth is considered the most influential and widely-recognized fashion house of the nineteenth century. Founded in 1858 by English designer Charles Frederic Worth, it is often suggested that the couture house produced its best work under the helm of Gaston-Lucien and Jean-Philippe, Worth's sons. An exquisite dress designed by Charles Frederic's successors, dated at 1898-1900, showcases Art Nouveau's influence on fashionable dress of the period. The S-curved gown features swirling curls of black velvet woven onto a ground of white satin; the black tendrils emulating the vogue for the decorative ironwork popularized in Art Nouveau design.

For Valentino's Spring 2013 couture show, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli cited secret gardens and wrought irons gates among their sources of inspiration, showing a diaphanous white gown paired with a floor-length tulle cloak embroidered with black "ironwork."

Evening dress by the House of Worth, 1898-1990. Housed at the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Evening dress by the House of Worth, 1898-1990. Housed at the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lucy Birley in Valentino Couture Spring 2013, photographed by Tim Walker for W Magazine April 2013.

Lucy Birley in Valentino Couture Spring 2013, photographed by Tim Walker for W Magazine April 2013.

For more comparisons by Part Nouveau, click here.