Goga Ashkenazi takes history very seriously. The creative director of Maison Vionnet, who took full control of the century-old brand last fall, has one thing on her agenda: keeping the DNA of the house intact.
So when a personal contact led Ashkenazi to a private collection of watercolor drawings from a collaboration between founding designer Madeleine Vionnet and Italian futurist artist Thayaht, the heritage-embracing house struck gold. “The roots of the house are a constant source of inspiration and research,” Ashkenazi told DuJour. “These drawings are translators or interpreters of those roots.”
The rediscovery is essential for the expanding brand, which has its first show at Paris Fashion Week on March 6th and plans for a Paris flagship and a new advertising campaign by the end of the year. “Madeleine’s pioneering history has given us newly discovered tools to help create an image and style for the clothes of the house of today, however we [are] committed to adding a modern twist and try to dress a modern woman the way Madeleine would have,” said Ashkenazi. “My vision for the brand is in constant evolution—these works of art are a reminder of the house’s heritage and forward-looking vision.”
The collection of 60 never-before-seen drawings, dated from 1919 to 1925, are now on display at Milan’s Poldi Pezzoli Museum until February 25th in an exhibit entitled Thayaht: Between Art and Fashion. W magazine’s Stefano Tonchi, stylist Anna Dello Russo, model Anja Rubik, photographer Tommy Ton and designer Luisa Beccaria, among others, joined Ashkenazi in fêting the exhibit’s opening on Thursday night.
The celebration is as much for Vionnet’s pioneering past as it is for what lies ahead. In Ashkenazi’s words, “I am convinced that the future of the house cannot be separated from its glorious past, whose legacy must be cultivated and modernized.”