In the 1920's, a young French designer named Madeleine Vionnet created a virtual tornado in the in the fashion industry when she developed the bias cut. By cutting fabric against the grain, she enabled it to cling, drape and give in a way that was flattering to the body. Vionnet went on to build an enviable and innovative business, dressing clients such as Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo.
The house was shut down during the Second World War, but since then, Vionnet's technique has been widely used by numerous acclaimed designers, including Azzedine Alaia and John Galliano, who has made the bias-cut dress one of his own signatures.
Now, almost 70 years after it faded into oblivion, the House of Vionnet may not be dead for much longer. Not if Vionnet CEO Arnaud de Lummen has something to say about it. Over the past few years, he has been quietly laying the foundation to resurrect this once-great house to its former glory. De Lummen's father bought the rights to the Vionnet business 20 years ago and has waited until now to task his son, a Harvard-trained lawyer, to make this ambitious vision a reality.