Introducing Westbank Fashion

We have handpicked four vintage haute couture dresses from our Westbank Fashion Collection for display in the Fight for Beauty Exhibition. We invite you to come view these four dresses and experience key moments in the history of fashion, when some of the greatest designers of our time were taking some of their greatest risks and challenging the conventions of their eras.

The fantastical designs of the late Alexander McQueen, have surprised and delighted audiences around the world. His 2003 Shipwreck dress currently on display, is an intoxicating story of survival, depicted through torn chiffon that hangs and appears almost wet, as if the wearer were rising out from the ocean. It captures a moment of transformation and rebirth, when survival is most difficult.

The 2007 Salem dress on display is another fantastical creation by McQueen, who drew inspiration from one of his ancestors executed during the infamous Salem witch trials. Look closely and you will see a harrowing portrayal of power through a hand-beaded neck and bodice, melting away to velvet, as it trails along the earth.

Standing beside the Salem, is the Cocoon Coat 1925, designed by Paul Poiret, known for his role in freeing women from corsets and introducing an expression of orientalism during the 20th century. The magnificent Cocoon Coat features hand-beaded lines of black that fade into grey-translucent, creating an ombre effect of meticulous precision. Although designed eighty-two years apart, standing together today, both the Salem and the Cocoon Coat transcend time, to be adored and worn by the same woman.

The fourth dress being displayed is the Yellow Cape and Silk Velvet Dress 1983, by Yves Saint Laurent, one of the most consistently celebrated and influential designers of the past 25 years. The Yellow Cape with signature bow and voluminous yellow silk faille train, is one of only three ever made. Celebrated as a “best of” look in Yves Saint Laurent’s 2002 retirement show, this gorgeous cape and smoking black velvet sheath dress are iconic to the fashion industry, as much to the designer himself.

The Fight for Beauty Exhibition will display these four vintage haute couture dresses, each integral aspects of our ongoing fight for beauty, during public hours, open now until December 17th. Book your complimentary ticket early to avoid waiting in admission lines.

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