Based in London, Kerry Taylor Auctions brings over 40 years of expertise to historic and vintage fashion and holds numerous world record auction prices for Haute Couture. Internationally recognised, the auction house is partnering for the first time on July 7th with Maurice Auction, a new venture whose co-founders, Marie Laurence Tixier and Salomé Pirson, are longtime specialists in fine jewels and decorative arts. Here, Taylor singles out one of the most remarkable pieces among the lots.
“I love this Paco Rabanne ‘Armour’ dress because it is not just a garment, but a cutting-edge piece of 20th-century design. It has a timeless beauty that makes it as desirable today as was when made in the 1960s. When first shown on the catwalk, it was regarded as something shocking and radical, and remains so to this day. Paco Rabanne eschewed traditional fabrics for his garments, working with industrial materials such as plastic and metal as well as leather, glass and feathers. This sculptural dress, as a rare surviving example, is constructed of square and rectangular aluminium plates joined with metal rings, with additional ‘barbaric’ studs accenting the bodice. Its allusion to chain mail illustrates Rabanne’s practice of integrating historical elements into a dress that is essentially futuristic, made as it was when man first walked on the moon. Rabanne’s knowledge of architecture and his interest in sculpture are evident in his approach to fashion — an approach that was ahead of most contemporary designers then and now.
Paco Rabanne presented his first collection, Twelve Experimental Dresses, in 1964, followed by a couture collection in 1966 called Twelve Unwearable Dresses, which featured similar but unadorned aluminium ‘Armour’ dresses. With this iconic dress, Rabanne created a garment that was not just clothing can be considered sculpture, something that very few fashion designers (Capucci, McQueen, Chalayan, Yamamoto) have managed to achieve in the intervening decades. No self-respecting fashion museum of 20th century collection should be without a Paco Rabanne Armour dress, and this is a fine example”
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Exhibition in Paris: “We are”, 73, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré 75008
Tuesday July 5th, 10:00 am—7:00 pm and Wednesday, July 6th 10:00 am—7:00 pm
Auction takes place Thursday July 7th at at 4:00 pm