Amazing 19th Century Photos of Countess Virginie de Castiglione by Pierre Louis Pierson

In 1844 Pierre-Louis Pierson began operating a studio in Paris that specialized in hand-colored daguerreotypes. In 1855 he entered into a partnership with Léopold Ernest and Louis Frédéric Mayer, who also ran a daguerreotype studio. The Mayers had been named “Photographers of His Majesty the Emperor” by Napoleon III the year before Pierson joined them. Although the studios remained at separate addresses, Pierson and the Mayers began to distribute their images under the joint title “Mayer et Pierson,” and together they became the leading society photographers in Paris (source).

Pierre Louis Pierson´s most interesting professional project is the close collaboration he led with Virginia Oldoini, the Countess of Castiglione. She directed Pierre-Louis Pierson to help her create 700 different photographs in which she re-created the signature moments of her life for the camera. Both enjoyed creating playful identities within which the countess could be a Madonna, a sensual vamp revealing her legs and feet or a fantasy creature clad in eccentric costumes (source).

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La Comtesse décolletée; Roses mousseuses (Countess Virginia Oldoini Verasis di Castiglione)

by Pierre-Louis Pierson, 1861–67

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Béatrix  (Countess Virginia Oldoini Verasis di Castiglione)

by Pierre-Louis Pierson, 1856–57

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La Psyché  (Countess Virginia Oldoini Verasis di Castiglione)

by Pierre-Louis Pierson, 1860s.

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Stella (autre) (Countess Virginia Oldoini Verasis di Castiglione)

by Pierre-Louis Pierson, 1860s.

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Amazing Vintage Photos of Iconic Designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (1883 – 1971) was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand. She is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Along with Paul Poiret, Chanel was credited with liberating women from the constraints of the “corseted silhouette” and popularizing the acceptance of a sportive, casual chic as the feminine standard in the post-World War I era. A prolific fashion creator, Chanel’s influence extended beyond couture clothing. Her design aesthetic was realized in jewelry, handbags, and fragrance. Her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, has become an iconic product.

Chanel was known for her lifelong determination, ambition, and energy which she applied to her professional and social life. She achieved both success as a businesswoman and social prominence thanks to the connections she made through her work. These included many artists and craftspeople to whom she became a patron. However, Chanel’s life choices generated controversy, particularly her behaviour during the German occupation of France in World War II.

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Coco Chanel à Moulins, 1903 .

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Gabrielle Chanel, Deauville 1913

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Coco Chanel

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Salvador Dalí and Coco Chanel

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Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel 1931

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Coco Chanel Photographed by Cecil Beaton in 1937

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Coco Chanel, 1937. Photo by Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene

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Coco Chanel in her atelier Romy Schneider 1960.

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Coco Chanel in her atelier with Romy Schneider, 1960

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Catching Vintage Photos of Silent Star France Dhélia (1894-1964)

She was born Franceline Benoit, in a village near Blois in 1894, thus raised in the area of the famous French royal castles along the Loire river. She debuted in film under he name of Mado Floréal in 1912, in the film L’Ambitieuse by Camille de Morlhon. Afterwards she played in various comedies with the character Fred, directed by René Hervil,who also played Fred himself. During the First World War she took the name of France Dhélia, did her first film with director René Le Somptier and appeared in her first feature-length film: L’instinct est maitre by Jacques Feyder (1917). In 1918 she rose to stardom when playing Sultane Daoulah in La sultane d’amour (r. René Le Somptier/ Charles Burguet). It was the first film shot at the new Victorine studios in Nice and had sets designed by Marco de Gastyne. At age 45 France Dhélia quitted cinema, and quietly died in Paris in 1964 – a quarter of a century after.

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France Dhélia

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France Dhélia

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 France Dhélia

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 France Dhélia

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Madeleine & Madeleine (Couture) 1925 France Dhélia

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Genevieve Lantelme – Belle Epoque Beauty

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.

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Geneviève Lantelme in a big hat, photo circa 1910.

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Geneviève Lantelme by Reutlinger, photo circa 1902.

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Geneviève Lantelme, photo circa 1910.

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Genevieve Lantelme in Madeleine Vionnet’s déshabillé,

designed in 1907 at Maison Doucet.

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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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Stunning Female Portraits by Pioneering Photographer Félix Nadar

Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (1820 – 1910), a French photographer, caricaturist, journalist, novelist, and balloonist.

Nadar was born in April 1820 in Paris (though some sources state Lyon). He took his first photographs in 1853 and in 1858 became the first person to take aerial photographs. He also pioneered the use of artificial lighting in photography, working in the catacombs of Paris and later became the number one portrait photographer for the French elite.  In April 1874, he lent his photo studio to a group of painters, thus making the first exhibition of the Impressionists possible. Nadar died in 1910, aged 89. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Today, examples of Nadar’s photographic portraits are held by many of the great national collections of photographs.

Petite fille, ca 1887 Felix Nadar

Selika Lazevski was an écuyère who performed haute école – which means she was an equestrian who rode high school dressage in French circuses in the 19th century, by Félix Nadar 1891 via pinterest

Polaire (1874-1939) by Félix Nadar via blogspot

French photographer Felix Nadar was the first to take aerial photographs and later became the number one portrait photographer for the French elite. [Sarah Bernard]

Sarah Bernardt  by Félix Nadar via wiki

Cléo de Merode by Felix Nadar, c.1900

Cléo de Mérode by Félix Nadar, c.1900 via pinterest

George Sand by Félix Nadar 1864 via wiki

Berthe Morisot, 1875,  by Felix Nadar via blogspot

Stunning Photos of Belle Epoque Beauty Cléo de Mérode

Dancer Cleo de Merode  (1875 – 1966) became famous at a young age. Born in Bordeaux, France, she came from an aristocratic family. Her father was a member of the Belgian nobility and a landscape painter.

In 1896, King Léopold II attended the ballet and saw Mérode dance. The 61-year-old Belgian King became enamoured with the 22-year-old ballet star, and gossip started that she was his latest mistress. Because the King had had two children with a woman reputed to be a prostitute, Cléo de Mérode’s reputation suffered, and she had to live with it for the rest of her life. Nevertheless, Cléo de Mérode became an international star, performing across Europe and in the United States. 

Mérode became renowned for her glamour even more than for her dancing skills, and her image began appearing on postcards and playing cards. A particular new hairstyle she chose at age 16 became the talk of Parisian women and was quickly adopted as a popular style – parted in the middle, pulled back over the ears and wound into a chignon at the back, often worn with metal band.

At the peak of her popularity, she chose to dance at the Folies Bergère, taking the risk to do something other elites of the ballet had never done before. Her performance gained her a whole new following. Her fame was such that Alexandre Falguière sculpted The Dancer in her image, which today can be seen in the Musée d’Orsay. In 1895, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec did her portrait, as would Charles Puyo, Alfredo Muller, and Giovanni Boldini.

Mérode continued to dance until her early fifties, when she retired to the seaside resort of Biarritz in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of France. In 1955, she published her autobiography, Le Ballet de ma vie (The Dance of My Life).

She died in 1966 and was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris in Division 90. A statue of her, mourning her mother, who is interred in the same plot, decorates the gravestone.

Carte postale, (envoyée en 1901), illustrée d’une photographie de Cléo de Mérode en costume de scène via wiki

Studio NPG, Portrait of Cleo de Merode, 1903 via theredlist

Leopold Reutlinger, Portrait of Cleo de Merode, 1900 via theredlist

Cléo de Mérode by Reutlinger via blogspot

Cléo de Mérode via blogspot

Charles Ogerau, Cléo de Merode, 1893 via via histoire-image.org

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Cléo de Mérode via pinterest

Cleo de Merode , 1910 via  theredlist