Bailly, Christiane

Bailly Christiane (1932-2000). French designer, considered one of the pioneers of prêt-à-porter. She made her début in the world of fashion as a model.

Bailly Christiane (1932-2000). French designer, considered one of the pioneers of prêt-à-porter. Born in Lyon, she made her début in the world of fashion as a model: first, in 1957, working almost exclusively for Balenciaga, and later working freelance for Chanel and Dior. When she decided create her own designs, she opted for a style that was functional and reduced to essentials. Her start, in 1959, was similar to that of many other designers of the time: a portfolio under the arm and a lot of time spent in waiting rooms.

Thanks to a sketch sold to Marie Chasseng, one of her designs made the pages of Women’s Wear Daily. The critics were favorable, but commercial success was still far off, and soon her partnership with Emanuelle Khanh, which had the help of Rabanne, their assistant, came to an end.

Bailly was one of the first designers to create a complete knitwear collection. The American journalist Hebe Dorsey invited her to present her collection in New York in a group with other new talents. It was 1966, and her clothes caused a sensation. But she was unable to start her own business and worked for others: 4 years for Missoni, 6 for Aujard. From 1981 to 1983 she again tried to start her own griffe. She fell back on prestigious collaborations with Cerruti, Rabanne, Hermès, and Scherrer. According to the critics, she had much less success than she deserved.

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