Claire McCardell Wearing Amazing Dresses of Her Own Creation (1945)

Claire McCardell (May 24, 1905 – 1958) was an American fashion designer in the arena of ready-to-wear clothing in the 20th century. She is credited with the creation of American sportswear.

In 1942, McCardell created her famed “Popover Dress.” It was a response to a Harper’s Bazaar challenge to create something fashionable you could wear to clean the house and then wear to a cocktail party. The simple grey dress came with a matching potholder which fit into the dress’s pocket. The “Popover Dress” sold for $6.95 and over 75,000 were sold in the first season alone.

These dresses became a staple of McCardells collections and over time she made version in different lengths and fabrics. The “Popover Dress” received a citation from the American Fashion Critics Association and in 1943, McCardell won a Coty Award.

Beginning in 1945, McCardell was featured as an “American Look” designer by Lord & Taylor’s department store.  In 1946, McCardell won the Best Sportswear Designer Award and in 1948 she won the Neiman-Marcus Award.

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Claire McCardell in a Dress of her creation, 1945 via

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Claire McCardell in a Dress of her creation, 1945 via

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Claire McCardell in her Futuristic Dress (cut only of triangles), photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld, 1945 via

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Costumes de Théâtre by Redfern (1908)

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

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

Beautiful Belle Epoque Couture by Redfern

Redfern & Sons (later Redfern Ltd), was a British tailoring firm founded by John Redfern (1820-1895) in Cowes on the Isle of Wight that developed into a leading European couture house (active: 1855–1932; 1936–1940). By the early 1890s the business had branches in London, Edinburgh, Paris and New York.

The Paris extension was operated as a couture establishment while its other branches functioned primarily as tailors and importers.

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“Robe de bal en chantilly blanc, incrustée de chantilly noir, bordée de sequins noirs. Au bord du décolleté et dans le bas de la jupe, haut marabout de sequins.” Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1902 via

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“Robe en crêpe de chine avec incrustation d’angleterre ; devant en tulle plissé ; ceinture liberty brodée de perles fines.” Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1903 via

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“Robe en tulle et dentelle d’Alençon, laissant entrevoir la taille, ceinte d’un ruban Pompadour.” Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1903 via

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“Robe avec guirlandes de liserons en paillettes nacrées, sur tulle blanc ; épaulettes en perles fines , guirlande de liserons sur l’épaule gauche.” Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1903 via

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“Robe en linon blanc brodé. Pélerine avec incrustations de valenciennes ; jupe avec incrustations et volant de valenciennes, monté sur fond Pompadour. Ceinture faite d’un large ruban Pompadour et munie de longs pans.” Photograph from Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1903 via

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“Robe en linon royal et broderie anglaise avec entre deux et volants de valenciennes ; ceinture de taffetas Pompadour.” Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1904 via

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“Robe en voile blanc ; ceinture en taffetas brodé Pompadour ainsi que l’empiècement en dentelle du corsage”. Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1904 via

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Robe d’après-midi par Redfern 1904 via

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“Robe en velours bois de rose, guirlandes de roses de velours, brodées vieux tons. Grande veste en faille noire tissée de roses de France ombrées vieux tons d’or, garnie de chinchilla.” Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1906 via

Famous Belle Epoque Actress Eve Lavallière Being Fashionable in “Les Modes”

Ève Lavallière was born at 8 rue Champ-de-Mars in Toulon. Her birth was not desired, and she was placed, up to school age, with a local family of peasants. At school age, however, she was enrolled by her parents in a private school of excellent reputation. After the death of her parents in tragic circumstances, and after running away from home. she arrived, as a teenager, in Paris. She became an actress renowned in the Belle Époque, including the Théâtre des Variétés in Paris.

Later she became a noteworthy Catholic penitent and member of the Secular Franciscan Order.

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Eve Lavallière dressed in Jenny. Les Modes, May 1914 via

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Eve Lavallière in Les Modes, 1902 (dresses for the comedy Les Deux Ecoles) via

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Eve Lavallière in Les Modes, 1902 (dresses for the comedy Les Deux Ecoles) via

Vintage Photos of Gorgeous Dresses by Jacques Heim

French fashion designer and costume designer Jacques Heim (1899 – 1967) ran from 1930 to his death in 1967, the fashion house House of Jacques Heim, which closed in 1969.

Under the presidency of General de Gaulle, he was appointed designer of the general’s wife, Yvonne de Gaulle. His most prominent clients were Sophia Loren,Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Mamie Eisenhower and actress Gloria Swanson. In 1956, Heim made the bikini an international sensation when Brigitte Bardot wore one of his designs.

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1964 Jacques Heim

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1960 Jacques Heim

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1959 Jacques Heim

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1959 Jacques Heim

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1958 Jacques Heim

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1956 Jacques Heim

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1956 Jacques Heim

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1952 Jacques Heim

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1951 Jacques Heim

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Gorgeous Belle Epoque Jeanne Paquin Fashion Photos

Jeanne Paquin (1869 – 1936) was a leading French fashion designer, who created alongside her husband, Isidore Paquin, an influential couture business. In 1890 the couple opened Maison de Couture Rue de la Paix in Paris, close to the celebrated House of Worth.

The Maison Paquin quickly became known for its eighteenth century-inspired pastel evening dresses and tailored day dresses, as well as for its numerous publicity stunts, including organizing fashion parades to promote her new models and sending her models to operas and races in order to show off her designs. Jeanne Paquin withdrew from the House in 1920. She was a beautiful woman and a style icon herself, who imagined youthful and exquisite garments

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Jeanne Paquin, 1910

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Jeanne Paquin, 1910

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Jeanne Paquin. Evening gown. Reutlinger, Les Modes May 1902

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Jeanne Paquin. Afternoon dress by Paquin. Reutlinger, Les Modes May 1902.

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Jeanne Paquin. Tailored suits by Paquin. Félix, Les Modes June 1909.

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Jeanne Paquin

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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.

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Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi wearing an Eleanora dress, 1920s

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Lillian Gish wearing Fortuny

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Mrs. Condé Nast wearing a Fortuny tea gown, 1917

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