Costumes de Théâtre by Redfern (1908)


Exposition à l’Hôtel des Modes. Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1908 via


Exposition à l’Hôtel des Modes. Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme , 1908 via


Revolutionary Belle Epoque Fashion: Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix

Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix has been neglected by fashion historians. She inherited her couture house from her mother Mme. Margaine, in 1899. The following year she changed the name to Margaine-Lacroix.

She influenced the new slender line of fashion. She was famous for her revolutionary corsetless dresses and her ground-breaking front-lacing corsets. In the 1900s, Paris was the fashion capital of the world. Couturiers routinely sent mannequins to the racecourse, wearing their latest designs. Her models caused a sensation at Longchamp in 1908.

Three mannequins walked onto the racecourse dressed in blue, white and havane brown creations by Margaine-Lacroix. According to newspapers, spectators called the three women a “monstrosity”, accused them of being semi-naked and showing revolting décolletage .

However, soon women everywhere were wearing dresses after Margaine-Lacroix’s design.


In the Spring of 1908, three women walked onto the Longchamp racecourse in Paris and caused a scandal by the semi-naked clothes they were wearing via


Longchamp racecourse, Paris 1908 via


Tanagréenne back drape on Sylphide dress by Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix. Here is an example of her slender, corsetless line, the robe-tanagréenne. It is worn by her favourite model, who small bust and simple hairstyle were avant-garde for the time and contrasted strongly with the generally accepted ideals of fashionable feminine beauty in the first decade of the twentieth-century, 1908 via


Sylphide dress with Tanagréenne back drape by Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix, 1908 via


Margaine-Lacroix mannequins pictured in the Parc de Vincennes in March 1910, wearing the new jupe-culotte – an early version of trousers via


March 1910. Margaine-Lacroix mannequins in the new jupe-culotte via

Two Drawings of Louise Chéruit by Paul César Helleu

Madame Louise Chéruit (1866-1955) was among the foremost couturiers of her generation, and one of the first women to control a major French fashion house. Her salon operated in the Place Vendôme in Paris under the name Chéruit from 1906 to 1935.

Chéruit is best remembered today as the subject of a number of portraits by artist Paul César Helleu, with whom she conducted an affair before opening her couture house and for the appearance of her name in two celebrated works of literature, Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (1910) and Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies (1930).

Her name is also frequently associated with the fashion photography of Edward Steichen whose favorite model, Marion Morehouse, often wore gowns from the house of Chéruit for Vogue magazine in the 1920s. One particular Steichen image has become iconic: Morehouse in a jet-beaded black net Chéruit dress, first published in 1927.


Louise Chéruit by  Paul César Helleu (1859-1927)




« Madame Chéruit », drypoint etching by Paul-César Helleu, reproduced as plate XXIX in: Montesquiou, Robert de (1913), Paul Helleu, Peintre et Graveur, Paris: H. Floury (circa 1900)



France, Turn of the Century, by The Seeberger Brothers

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By Fréres Seeberger (Jules, Louis et Henri)


Seeberger brothers. 5761213845_3b40bf3e86_b

By Fréres Seeberger (Jules, Louis et Henri)



By Fréres Seeberger (Jules, Louis et Henri)


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By Fréres Seeberger (Jules, Louis et Henri)


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By Fréres Seeberger (Jules, Louis et Henri)


Lily Elsie in the operetta The Merry Widow (Dressed by Lucile)

Lily Elsie (8 April 1886 – 16 December 1962) was a popular English actress and singer during the Edwardian era, best known for her starring role in the hit London premiere of Franz Lehár’s operetta The Merry Widow.

Early 20th-century fashion designer Lucile designed the costumes (including the plumed hats that became an extraordinary fad) and thereafter used Elsie to promote her fashions, designing her personal clothes and costumes for several of her other shows.

Lucile later wrote:

“I realised that here was a girl who had both beauty and intelligence but who had never learnt how to make the best of herself. So shy and diffident was she in those days that a less astute producer than George Edwardes would in all probability have passed her over and left her in the chorus.”

The production opened in June 1907 and ran for 778 performances at Daly’s Theatre. The show was an enormous success for its creators and made Elsie a major star.

Lily Elsie in The Merry Widow dressed by Lucile, 1907


NPG x135274; Lily Elsie (Mrs Bullough) as Sonia in 'The Merry Widow' by Foulsham & Banfield, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd

Lily Elsie in The Merry Widow dressed by Lucile (1907)

by Foulsham & Banfield


© National Portrait Gallery, London

NPG Ax160392; Lily Elsie (Mrs Bullough) as Sonia and Joseph Coyne as Prince Danilo in 'The Merry Widow' by Foulsham & Banfield, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd

Lily Elsie as Sonia and Joseph Coyne as Prince Danilo in ‘The Merry Widow’ (1907) by Foulsham & Banfield


© National Portrait Gallery, London

Beautiful Vintage Jacques Doucet Fashion & Design Photos (1900s-1920s)

Jacques Doucet (1853–1929) was a French fashion designer and art collector. He is known for his elegant dresses, made with flimsy translucent materials in superimposing pastel colors. His clothes were of perfect taste and luxury, his name the only one equalled with Worth.

Jacques Doucet was born in Paris in 1853 to a prosperous family whose lingerie and fine linens business, Doucet Lingerie, had flourushed in the Rue de la Paix since 1816. In 1871 Doucet opened a salon selling ladies’ apparel.

His most original designs were those he created for actresses of the time. Cecile Sorel, Rejane and Sarah Bernhardt (he designed the famous white costume she wore in L’Aiglon) all wore his outfits, both on and off the stage. For them 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, and gradually faded from popularity during the 1920s.


Portrait of Jacques Doucet by Pierre Berger



Hat by Jacques Doucet, 1900



Dress by Jacques Doucet, 1901



Evening dress by Doucet, Les Modes June 1909.



Jacques Doucet, Sarah Bernhardt in Aiglon



Robe de style by Doucet, photo by Henri Manuel, Les Modes June 1923.



Robe de style by Doucet, Les Modes June 1923. Photo by Henri Manuel.



Evening gown by Doucet, photo by Henri Manuel, Les Modes June 1923.



Jacques Doucet’s apartment Photograph by Pierre Legrain Published in L’Illustration, c. 1929.



Jacques Doucet’s Hall, Studio Saint James at Neuilly sur Seine


Mariano Fortuny (1871 – 1949) – Early 20th Century Couture

Spanish-born artist and designer Mariano Fortuny (1871 – 1949) was active in Italy, where he established a textile workshop and a commercial silk printing factory. The multi-tasked artist spent most of his life in Venice where he was an architect, couturier, inventor and painter.

Working in the early 20th century, Fortuny’s gowns were especially popular among the avant garde women of ’20s and ’30s who were seeking both freedom of movement and a hint of exoticism in their wardrobe.

Fortuny rebelled against the style lines that were popular during his time period and created the Delphos gown, a shift dress made of finely pleated silk weighed down by glass beads that held its shape and flowed on the body. The pleating that he used was all done by hand and no one has been able to recreate pleating that is as fine as his or has held its shape like his dresses have for many years. He also manufactured his own dyes and pigments for his fabrics using ancient methods. With these dyes he began printing on velvets and silks and dyed them using a press that he invented with wooden blocks that he engraved the pattern onto. His dresses are seen as fine works of art today and many survive, still pleated, in museums and many people’s personal collections.


Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi wearing an Eleanora dress, 1920s



Lillian Gish wearing Fortuny



Mrs. Condé Nast wearing a Fortuny tea gown, 1917