Edward Molyneux – Leading British Fashion Designer

Edward Henry Molyneux (1891 – 1974) was a leading British fashion designer whose salon in Paris was in operation from 1919 until 1950.

Molyneux found employment as a sketch artist for the London magazine Smart Set where his drawings of fashionable women attracted the attention of the celebrated couturier Lucile (in private life Lady Duff Gordon). She hired him as a sketcher in her London salon in 1910 and by the end of the following year had him promoted to assistant designer at her Paris branch

Molyneux opened his own fashion house in Paris at 14 rue Royale in November 1919 (later, 5 rue Royale), expanding to Monte Carlo in 1925, Cannes in 1927, and London in 1932. The designer quickly became known for an impeccably refined simplicity. Molyneux was, as historian Caroline Milbank wrote, “the designer to whom a fashionable woman would turn if she wanted to be absolutely right without being utterly predictable in the Twenties and Thirties.” Frowning on superfluous decoration, he regularly dressed European royals, including Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. He was also a favorite with trendsetting actresses like Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Gertrude Lawrence, Margaret Leighton, and Vivien Leigh. Proteges included future couturiers Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain, and he was friends with playwright Noël Coward.

Model Dinarzade in Sleeveless Dress by Molyneux

Edward Steichen, Dinarzade in sleeveless dress by Molyneux, 1924

© Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

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Jacqueline in Molyneux Dress and Scarf

George Hoyningen-Huene, Jacqueline in Molyneux dress and Scarf, 1931

© Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

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Wedding Dress for Princess Marina de Grecia y Dinamarca

when she married the Duke of Kent, November 25, 1934

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Horst P.Horst, Mistinguett, robe de Molyneux, 1934 © Horst

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atelier

A model pauses to regard herself in the grand mirror of the Molyneux atelier, Paris, 1934

From Eisenstaedt: Remembrances

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Elsa Maxwell in Sequined Gown with Birdcages

Horst P.Horst, Elsa Maxwell in sequined gown by Molyneux with birdcages, 1937

© Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

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Horst P.Horst, Lisa Fonssagrives wearing a silver lamé wedding dress by Molyneux, 1938

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Edward Molyneux, Evening dress, Vogue, 1939

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Wedding dress, 1946

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