Madeleine Vionnet’s many aficionadas included Soviet dancer Maya Plisetskaya who appreciated the fluid, sensuous allure of her bias-cut dresses. Creative Director Goga Ashkenazi used this as inspiration for the latest Vionnet Pre-Fall 2017 collection.

“Sometimes people don’t even know what ‘cut on the bias’ means; they ask me: ‘What is it?’” said Ashkenazi in mock exasperation, while presenting her Pre-Fall collection. The collection featured a slew of fashion terminology such as: knife pleat, bias, fold, zigzag, draping, plissé, and appliqué, were stitched on the outfits, marking the corresponding technical detail in a sort of idiot-proof Fashion 101 description.

Although key heritage elements were visible in the elegant, elongated silhouettes of long pleated dresses in silk jersey, they were far less traceable in a series of boudoir-inspired robes de chambre in silk velvet, pajama suits, and lingerie-looking wrap dresses worn over high-cuffed denim pants or knee-length culottes. The same could be said of the plissé technique so inherent to Vionnet’s language, whose luscious yet sculptural quality was just a faint mémoire. Cases in point were a couple of short black tiered dresses in mesh tulle and lace; they looked sweet and au courant, yet lacked the sensual, polished finesse one expects from such an historic house. The archive was mined extensively for shearling coats in bright colors cut with the handkerchief shape that was another famous couture technique chez Vionnet. Elsewhere, an old pattern was used to give a drapey shape to a midi denim dress, worn with a cashmere turtleneck.