Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Art of the Dress

Happy Birthday, Mr. Kelly

Who: Ellsworth Kelly, artist
Age:  90
Lives: Spencertown, NY
What he did in 1952: designed a dress

Ellsworth Kelly, abstract painter who makes geometrically shaped paintings in pure colors, is celebrating his 90th birthday in May. There will be a slew of shows in the great museums and galleries of the world to celebrate son anniversaire. But my interest today centers around a DRESS that Mr. Kelly designed in 1952.
The original dress made and
worn by his friend, Anne Weber.
The Story:
Mr. Kelly was living in France where he had gone on the G.I. Bill. He had sold some textile designs to a silk manufacturer and had some money in his pocket. He took himself to the South of France with friends. There, in the marketplace of Sanary-sur-Mer, he found some dyed cotton fabric in bright hues which he purchased. After using some of the cloth to make art, he gave the rest to his friend, Anne Weber and asked her to sew a dress of his design.
A bateau à voile plying the waters in the port
of Sanary-sur-Mer.
 Red, white and blue -- the colors of the dress!
Mr. Kelly did not like the way Anne made the dress. The bottom panel was too big. She said that she made it that way because Mr. Dior was showing this below-the-knee hem length at the time.
The dress has been re-created by Francisco Costa, designer for
Calvin Klein. Here it is shown in the pages of the May issue
of Vogue worn by Dree Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's
Mr. Costa and Mr. Kelly, in the current issue of Vogue.
Two New Drawings
In the spirit of fashion as art, here are two of my new drawings for hat designs. 
 Drawing by Carol Markel, 2013. Felt-tip markers and paper.
Drawing by Carol Markel, 2013. Felt-tip markers and paper.

À Bientôt mes amis!


  1. I too love Ellsworth Kelly. I met him and heard him lecture in Philly. I had no idea he designed a dress. 'Color Blocking'... he was obviously ahead of his time with fashion as well as painting.

  2. Your drawings are gorgeous, Carol. As I sit here in my living room gazing at the hat that I purchased from you, which is sitting on my mantel on display for all to see.