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img279Did you know that the Metropolitan Museum in New York had an exhibition on Cubism and Fashion in 1999? The exhibition was made possible with financial assistance from the PRADA Company of Italy, not an unknown name to the more fashion conscious among us. The fabulous 160 page hardcover catalog produced on that occasion has a drawing by an Italian designer from the early part of the 20th Century (1923) on the cover shown above. Ernest Henry Michahelles was his real name and THAYAHT was his well known artistic pseudonym.

img285img286Thayaht (1893-1959) was of Anglo/Swiss origin his great grandfather was the American Sculptor Hiram Powers. In 1918, he went to Paris and became the collaborator of Madeleine Vionnet the famous Parisian fashion designer for whom he designed the logo she used in her business and transposed on paper, for publicity purposes, some of Madeleine’s famous creations, some of them could have easily been his as well. We will never know for sure. Some of these drawings are used in the French fashion magazine “Gazette du Bon Ton”.

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img284The Museum catalog shows a number of them all dating around the early 1920’s. The role of Thayaht and his influence on Vionnet and her designs cannot be understated as outlined in the catalog (below). For a brief few minutes you can see the youtube video of some of Thayaht’s designs in an exhibition held by Vionnet Paris. Enjoy!

In 1919 he proposed a fashion creation, designed with his brother, called la Tuta which he named a “universal costume“, revolutionary in its day. Today we know a take off of that costume as an “overall”. The picture below courtesy of Derbylius in Milan shows Thayaht in his Tuta.

Clipboard01In 1921, he departs for Boston where he attended a course by Professor Denman W. Ross at Harvard University about the scientific use of color and where he also learned about the related research in Dynamism by Jay Hambridge. None of this important information along with the logo and advertising produced for Vionnet will you find in that exhibition catalog. We show below (from our archive) signed and dated 1919 by Thayaht , on the back cover

img278of the French Art Magazine “Art et decoration” attesting to the importance of his role for the Vionnet fashion house.

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img289In the years past, several museums worldwide have paid more attention to the role Thayaht played in the development of Futuristic Art in the 20th Century (The Rovereto Modern Art Museum in Rovereto, Italy is one) and some monographs have been written on the artist as well. To the Metropolitan Museum in New York should go our kudos for providing this interesting exhibition relating Cubist Art to Modernist Fashion Design and the interesting dresses displayed during the exhibition and in the catalog some of which we post here.

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