The Woman Behind Valentino and Chanel

Did you know that designer greats Coco Chanel and Valentino Garavani didn’t achieve fashion icon status on their own? As it turns out, French designer Madeleine Vionnet was more than a little responsible for their massively successful couture feats. Not only did she reshape the fashion world with the “invention” of the bias cut, cowl neck, halter top, and handkerchief dress, she helped create a truly progressive style for women in the early 20th century. You know how French women always look gorgeous, modern, and like they never try too hard? That was her. Now, there’s a new book out about her fashion prowess and forward-thinking feminism. (Vionnet was known to offer her seamstresses maternity leaves and presented models with bare legs.) If you find yourself in Paris before the year’s out, check out the exhibition about her at Les Arts Décoratifs. [Cool Hunting]