Geneviève “Ginette” Lantelme (Mathilde Hortense Claire Fossey, b. 1883) was a French stage actress, socialite, fashion icon, and courtesan. She frequently collaborated with Madeleine Vionnet and Jeanne Paquin, two prominent French fashion designers of her day, to produce her memorable clothing ensembles. Lantelme was also known for her voluminous hats, as can be seen in the postcards and other images of her that are collected to this day.
Considered by her contemporaries to be one of the most beautiful women of the Belle Epoque, she is remembered for the mysterious circumstances of her death: on the night of July 24/25, 1911, she fell from the yacht of her husband, Alfred Edwards.
The official verdict was that the actress had drowned as the result of a tragic accident. However, many people speculated that Edwards had murdered his wife. In the autumn of 1911, two French newspapers, La Depéche Parlementaire and La Griffe, published their accusation that Edwards had murdered Lantelme; Edwards sued the publication for libel and won, although both newspapers escaped severe punishment.
Geneviève Lantelme in a big hat, photo circa 1910.
Geneviève Lantelme by Reutlinger, photo circa 1902.
Geneviève Lantelme, photo circa 1910.
Genevieve Lantelme in Madeleine Vionnet’s déshabillé,
designed in 1907 at Maison Doucet.