Last year, I was alerted to a TV news program here in Switzerland about a unique couture collection that had all belonged to the same woman, that had been bought up in bulk by Rosmarie Amacher of à ma chère Haute Couture, Zurich's one and only couturière. Unfortunately, the program can't be viewed anymore online, but it was pretty spectacular. From what she said then, they were looking at housing this amazing collection in a historical building in Rorschach, and making it accessible to fashion students and professionals for study etc - and maybe even putting it on show for the general public.
Whilst poking around on Facebook recently, I came upon her page and actually found out what has been going on with this collection. First of all, I have unknowingly already posted a few photos of items from this collection on this blog - turns out that the couture items on show at the Textile Museum in St. Gallen last winter came from there - have a look at my original post: http://dollsfashionart.blogspot.ch/2013/12/exhibitions-at-textile-museum-in.html. A new association has been founded to own the collection, called the Swiss Textile Collection, and if you click through their website, you will spot a close-up of the amazing sequinned accessories that I photographed then:
What's still written in the stars though is if the collection will really ever be housed at the said building in Rorschach - apparently it's pending a local referendum what actually happens to the building. So the collection is currently housed somewhere very different, at the TMC in Zurich. The TMC is a wholesale center for the fashion industry - companies hire showrooms there to show their new collections to buyers a few times a year. Unless it's an "ordering day", it's closed to the public. As it happens, this month, Mondays are ordering days, and the collection is open for everybody to go and have a look!
Well, of course that's one thing I couldn't let go buy, so my mom and I paid a visit to the collection recently. There were a few items on mannequins that we were free to examine (yes, touch, turn up hems etc.). Most of it is safely stored though in big cardboard boxes, carefully numbered and with a photo of the contents on each box. Stuffed with tissue paper, some things are on hangers, some in boxes on shelves - very well cared for. There were two other visitors beside us, who arrived almost at the same time, and then the action got underway! The lady lookin after things that day pulled things out for us to look at - touch, examine, see how it's made. In short - it was amazing. I've never seen couture like that upclose like this, and I feel like I've learned a ton of things!
The main part of the collection is made up of the collection I mentioned above, but they are also buying other items to add to it. The initial collection was a rich industrialist's wife's wardrobe, ranging in styles ca. from the 1950s to the 1980s from what I could see, and she had them all made at the same couture salon in Zurich, often after designs from Paris coturiers. There's obviously a fair amount of evening wear, but day wear too. She really must have had something made for every special occasion. And there aren't just dresses, she also had matching accessories made - hats, bags, gloves and more.
I couldn't take photos - and wouldn't have anyway, we were much too busy oohing and ahhing and examining things! The lengths they went to! There was a suit of a loosely woven bouclé-type fabric of fairly thick threads. To make a matching vest, they actually unravelled some of this fabric to the threads, and someone knitted the vest from them! Similarly, from another ca. 60s item, they had created a contrasting effect for the top of a dress by taking threads out of a similar kind of fabric and thus creating a kind of lattice-work effect (it was lined of course). Incredible work!
Of the things we were show, there was one utterly amazing item, that had also been on show in St. Gallen, and it was definitely the "star piece" of what we got to see:
It really was a great experience, and we wholly enjoyed it. I will be following this what happens further and hopefully there will be more great stuff to report on!