American portrait artist John Singer Sargent served as the inspiration of Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig for the Marchesa Fall 2016 RTW collection. Sargent’s subjects were most often European elite, as he worked in Paris and London as one of, if not the leading portrait artist of his Edwardian era.

He was known for pushing the societal boundary, and his most famous work was the scandalous and provocative Portrait of Madame X, which displayed his subject’s decolletage in a plunging sweetheart neckline in 1884, during the era in which showing your ankle could ruin your reputation.


In this era of bare it all, nothing is off limits, and nothing shocks us, it may be hard for millennials to understand the idea of public shame and the modest reputation. But for those who’ve been there for Madonna‘s “Like a Prayer” video, or the Monica Lewinski moment, the Portrait of Madame X was similarly a major controversy that significantly damaged Sargent’s career and reputation.

There was no “any press is good press” attitude, and no twitter boob shot was going to increase Sargent’s insta followers. He was so publicly shamed for pursuing and painting his subject in that manner, that he moved to London to salvage his career and reputation.

But Madame X was only a small part of Marchesa‘s total inspiration of the gorgeous portraits by John Singer Sargent.The Marchesa interpretations of Edwardian high society fashions were regal and dramatic, with high, jeweled necklines, incredible embellishments of embroidery, floral appliques, fringe, sparkling rhinestones, pops of lattice, a sheer ruffled peplum, feathers, gilded brocades, and yards beyond yards of floor sweeping sheer fabrics.

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Luca Tombolini – Indigital

Marchesa - Photo Luca Tombolini - Indigital10
Luca Tombolini – Indigital

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Luca Tombolini – Indigital

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Luca Tombolini – Indigital

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Luca Tombolini – Indigital

Dress worn by Katy Perry and made the best dressed list at AMFAR Gala at Cannes 2016

Marchesa‘s version of the gown worn by Madame Pierre Gautreau in Portrait of Madame X was a stunning black off-the-shoulder gown with 3D florals along the bust and a diagonal high slit showing lots of leg.

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Luca Tombolini – Indigital

Sexy, gorgeous, and oh-so-scandalous. Ok, maybe not. But really, when nipples are shown on the runway and Ciara is one large step and a wind gust away from showing us the kitchen sink, can anything really be scandalous anymore?

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Luca Tombolini – Indigital

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Luca Tombolini – Indigital


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