Off the rack? 

The Comtesse d’Egmont Pignatelli pictured here was a fashionable noblewoman who only wore custom-made clothing. Ready-to-wear clothing wasn’t an option for women until the early 1900s, and even when it was, royalty eschewed it for bespoke fashions. When you have piles of cash, why wear something others can buy?

Avant-garde designers Viktor & Rolf took inspiration from the Comtesse and her ilk for their fall 2015 haute couture collection. Couture describes one-of-a-kind clothing that’s often more conceptual than practical. The garments make the wearer appear as if she’s taken a painting off the wall and bent it, frame and all, into something resembling a garment. If the Comtesse were around today, she’d likely be seated in the front row of the runway show. 

—Juline Chevalier, Head of Interpretation

July 22


Photo credit: From Tom + Lorenzo blog,