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Vionnet Resurrected
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Vionnet Resurrected

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Now another former haute couture house is seeking ready-to-wear immortality with new backers and a fresh designer. Testing the limits of the strategy, the brand in question is Vionnet, a masterful label that you probably have never heard of. Its founding designer, Madeleine Vionnet shuttered her business in 1939, and it stayed shut for six decades. So while the name is venerated in fashion circles, it’s not as if every high-school girl is dying to own a Vionnet bag. Yet earlier this year, Matteo Marzotto bought the rights to the Vionnet brand with his friend Gianni Castiglioni, chief executive of Marni. Mr. Marzotto is the sixth-generation scion of an Italian textile family and the former chief executive of Valentino (now “Valentino III”). “We have to re-interpret a bright past, but not reproduce it,” he says. The reintroduction of Vionnet comes just in time to take advantage of the first-ever Vionnet retrospective at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. The exhibit of 130 dresses, with interactive explanations of Vionnet’s techniques, runs through Jan. 31. The show also may remind the public that Coco Chanel was not the only designer who pioneered today’s modern, comfortable clothing. – from WSJ



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