21 April 2011



from the Neue Galerie Exhibition

The power of the past and its influence on design is something we talk about here all the time.
How can it not be so? I appreciate the modern , the new-but let it be grounded in the firmament of history. For me-it doesn't count if it does not spring from the past.

Madeline Weinrib is always reaching back to create vibrant new designs from the past for modern life. Her Ikat textiles and carpets are saturated in updated rich color and their patterns evolve from her years of travel and diligence in working with the authentic and  skilled craftsmen to stretch those contexts into the future. She does it like no other. I find her bespoke approach to be a unique one in the world of mass, mass, more, more. One of her ongoing collaborations is with Neue Galerie, here she creates a special kimono in the Opium pattern in celebration of their VIENNA 1900 Exhibition.

According to Neue Galerie the OPIUM KIMONO was inspired by the photograph of Viennese photographer  Madame d'Ora. The Weinrib kimono fully reflects the mode of the photograph's Eastern influence. Viennese artists took Eastern influences for their own and indelibly marked them as theirs during the artistic Renaissance in early 20th century Vienna. The Opium pattern by Weinrib is exclusive to Neue Galerie and is woven from resist-dyed silk threads over many months.

Madame Dora Kallmus was the first woman to be admitted to study theory at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt (Graphic Training Institute) & was also a member of the Vienna Photographic Society. Kallmus used the name "Madame d'Ora" professionally throughout her professional life and was a favorite of the aristocracy and celebrity in Vienna and Paris where she had studios. In 1940 Madame fled Paris when the Nazis invaded France.

Artist self-portrait 1925
revealing her beautifully long hands and heavy lids

Madame D'Ora portraits of Maria Ley IM Rokoko 1924, at l., & Tamara Lempicka, at r., 1929
two of my favorite photographs by D'Ora

story LINKS below:
the Opium Kimono is available at the Design Shop, Neue Galerie-here
the Exhibition runs through June 27 of this year, more information here
in the Gallery here
Vienna 1900 art works  here



  1. Gaye,

    Madame D'Ora has the most fabulous style. her fine art photography is stunning! Is there a book of her works?

    The Weinrib Opium Kimono is ver special indeed!

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my Fashionable Giveaway from the French Basketeer!

  2. What a cat-portrait ... Gorgeous!

  3. These photo are amazing. What a talented photographer she D'Ora was.

  4. I assume it will, one day, be established that one's marginal interest in the garments of our species is not why I visit this page. And here, dressed as a contextual illumination of the creation of garments, one finds yet another quite fundamental, if not almost fundamentalist, reason for visiting, in the phrase, "it doesn't count if it does not spring from the past." This seemingly arbitrary audacity is as close a formulation of the crisis of our time (it is said, all persons of middle age think so; but this is said by twits, whose blogs are all about us) as one can expect to find in a setting of such deference to others. For one's own part, this is not even a matter of opinion; it's one of logic. How can one expect to be the first itinerant on the frame of human life; and if one can, how can one conceive of what its many, many, many uses are, which one has not discovered?

    The other day, the blogger offered one a pair of reading trousers. This was not only astute, it drew from experience one can't be alone in having. Certain trousers, by cut, size, and material, are inordinately more conducive to the suspended state of reading, than others; and forgive one for continuing to state the obvious.

    But to hold one's interest, which is quite slender on the matter of trousering for others, somebody has to say to me, "I'm talking about questions of design and pleasure which are at least as ancient as the swaddling clothes of Moses."

    So, keep telling me what I need to know.


  5. Laurent- there has to be some link between the blog that disrobes and the blog that keeps piling it on- it is that fundamental logic of which you speak. pgt

  6. Being the true Austrian I am I of course LOVE that period in Austria. So inspiring and so ahead of its time in design and architecture.

    Madame d'Ora's portraits are smoldering.





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