Paris: Daydou Fils, 1901. Folio. With 42 full-page plates of fashion designs, chromolithographed with additional hand-coloring. Each plate signed by the designer and with a small ink-drawn outline of the back of the gown. Original front printed wrapper bound into calf-backed cloth binding. Item #17591
A wonderful group of colored plates of high couture French fashion at the turn of the century. This group features designs from the six leading Parisian couturiers of the time: Jeanne Paquin (1869-1936), Ernest Raudnitz (1850-1906), Madeleine Laferrière (1847-1912), Gustav Beer (b. 1875), Jacques Doucet (1853–1929) and the Maggie Rouff (1896-1971).
Jeanne Paquin was a leading French fashion designer, known for her resolutely modern and innovative designs. She was the first major female couturier and one of the pioneers of the modern fashion business. Initially, Jeanne favored the pastels in fashion at the time. Eventually, she moved on to stronger colors like black and her signature red. Although black had been traditionally the color of mourning, Jeanne made it fashionable by blending it with vividly colorful linings and embroidered trim. She frequently collaborated with the illustrators and architects such as Léon Bakst, George Barbier, Robert Mallet-Stevens, and Louis Süe. Her business expanded to branches in London, Buenos Aires, Madrid and eventually Fifth Avenue in New York. In 1913, Jeanne accepted France’s prestigious Legion d’Honneur in recognition of her economic contributions to the country – the first woman designer to receive that honor.
Although now largely forgotten, Ernest Raudnitz was a highly regarded couture house founded in Paris at 8 rue Royale, in 1883. Ernest started out working with his sisters in the mid-1870’s; their own business continued until it was taken over by Louise Chéruit in 1901.
Madeleine Laferrière had a very highly regarded Parisian fashion house with quality gowns, which opened in 1869. Laferrière designed for Royalty – Queen Maud of Norway was besotted with her dresses and had a large number of the most elaborate evening styles for her wardrobe. Other clients included Princess Matilda and the Empress Eugine, as well as a number of famous actresses, as her designs were of lace lavishly embroidered with beads, sequins and diamante to stand out on the stage. Long draped skirts to the gowns flowed into trains. Completing the outfits were long evening wraps.
Gustav Beer was born in Germany. After first establishing himself as a designer in Vienna. he relocated to Paris where he opened a fashion house in 1905 in the Place Vendome. He was afterwards followed there by almost all the great couturiers who set up shop in this same famous area. The Place Vendome became the Paris center for great couture salons. Beer produced feminine dresses both for day and evening wear, and was particularly popular for lingerie. Beer’s approach tended to be conservative, emphasizing exquisite construction and fine materials over daring designs. In 1931 the house merged with Agnes-Drecoll although Beer dresses continued to be made till 1953.
Jacques Doucet was a French fashion designer and art collector. He was known for his elegant dresses, made with flimsy translucent materials in superimposing pastel colors. His most original designs were those he created for actresses of the time. Cécile Sorel, Rejane and Sarah Bernhardt (for whom he designed her famous white costume in L’Aiglon) all often wore his outfits, both on and off the stage. For the aforementioned actresses he reserved a particular style, one which consisted of frills, sinuous curving lines and lace ruffles the colors of faded flowers. Doucet was a designer of taste and discrimination who valued dignity and luxury above novelty and practicality,
Maggy Rouff was a French fashion designer of Belgian origin. She was known for her understated sportswear designs at the beginning of her career, and later for the feminine detailing in her garments such as ruffles, shirring, and the bias cut.