Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fashion History Dolls 1

I came across a set of these dolls while searching for dresses on the Met Museum's site.  While I can't say they're perfectly accurate, they do all have research put into them and evoke their periods well.  Here's what the museum says about them:
"In 1947, in response to the suffering of post-World War II France, an American grassroots campaign organized a large-scale relief package. The following year France, moved by this generosity, organized a gift in kind. As the aide was sent to France housed in boxcars and dubbed the "American Friendship Train" the French created the "Gratitude" or "Merci Train", a set of 49 boxcars filled with gifts of thanks. Each of the 48 states was to receive a boxcar with the 49th shared between Washington D.C., and the Territory of Hawaii, which had contributed sugar on the Friendship Train. A wide array of items was included in these cars, from handmade children's toys to priceless works of art. 

The Chambre Syndicale de la Couture de Parisienne, who, to raise money for the French people, had two years prior organized the Theatre de la Mode, a group of fashion dolls dressed in clothing from the 1947 couture collections, chose to create a new set of fashion dolls, this time representing the evolution of French fashion rather than the current season. Once again, the Syndicat tapped the most talented and well-known fashion designers, hairstylists, and accessory designers of the time to create these miniature masterpieces.

The unique design of the fashion doll, originally created for Theatre de la Mode and used again for the Gratitude Train was conceived by Eileen Bonabel, the plaster head by the artist Rebull. Each doll measures approximately 24 inches tall, with bodies made entirely of open wire. Human hair was used to fashion the hairstyles. Each designer chose a year between 1715 and 1906 for which to dress his doll. Their varying sources of inspiration included works of art, literature, and historic fashion plates. The Gratitude Train fashion dolls represent a unique moment in the history of couture as they represent not only creative interpretations of historic fashions by the greatest designers of the period, but also are infused with the unparalleled skill, care, and attention to detail that would have been applied in their full-size counterparts.

I'm posting about the first 10 today, there are 43 overall.
1715: Marcel Rochas. "The inspiration for this dress came from the painting L'Enseigne de Gersaint by Watteau. Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) was best known for inventing the fete galante, a genre characterized by outdoor parties and bucolic scenes in idyllic settings. L'Enseigne de Gersaint was actually completed in 1720, five years after the date of the Rochas design. Watteau created this work for his friend and art dealer, Gersaint's shop, where it is believed to have hung in the window as a sign. This painting, in addition to being an interesting study of everyday life in an art dealer's shop, is an excellent example of the famous "Watteau pleats". The fashionable women in Watteau's fete gallants were so often depicted wearing this style, that they became known as Watteau pleats."

1733: Jean Bader. "Jean Bader used a painting by Lancret for inspiration. Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743) was a French painter known for depicting scenes of light comedy and courtly life under the regent Orleans."

1755: A. Reichert. "This design by the furriers Blondell is credited as being a "Manon Lescaut" style. "Manon Lescaut", published by Antoine Françoise Prévost in 1731 typifies the lyrical emotion of rococo literature and inspired several stage productions including a ballets and operas by Massenet and Puccini."

1762: Edward Molyneux. "Molyneux's contribution features janseniste panniers, and was inspired by a portrait of Madame de Pompadour by de la Tour. Janseniste panniers were shorter and lighter-weight, stiffened with horsehair or boning and popular in the second half of the 18th-century. They were similar to English pocket panniers and allowed the wearer to access pockets in undergarments. Maurice Quentin de La Tour (1704-1788) was the French portrait artist to King Louis XV of France from 1750 to 1773. During his tenure, one of his many subjects was that of Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764), the famous courtesan and official mistress of Louis XV. "Madame Pompadour" (1755) depicts her in her home surrounded by books and works of art, alluding to her desire to enlighten the French court with the intellectual developments of Parisian culture at the time."

1774: Jean Desses. ""Les Adieux" by Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune provided the inspiration for this dress by Jean Dessès. Moreau le Jeune (1741-1814) was a French illustrator and engraver best known for his illustrations recording fashionable dress and interiors in the "Monument de costume physique et morale" published by L.F. Prault in 1776-1783. The original etching and engraving is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection."

1779: Lucille Manguin. "Moreau le Jeune's painting "Le Rendez-vous" was the inspiration for the 1779 doll. Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune (1741-1814) was a French illustrator and engraver best known for his illustrations recording fashionable dress and interiors in the "Monument de costume physique et morale" published by L.F. Prault in 1776-1783. The original etching and engraving is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection."

1785: Maggy Rouff. "Maggy Rouff designed this gown after a fashion plate from "La Galerie des Modes". "La Galerie des Modes" is credited as the first publication of fashion plates, printed by Parisians Jacques Esnauts and Michel Rapilly in 1778."

1787: Mendel. "Philibert-Louis Debucourt's painting "La Promenade au Palais Royal" was the inspiration for this doll by Mendel. Debucourt (1755-1832) was a French printmaker and social satirist known for his depictions of French society. "La Promenade au Palais Royal" caricatures the indulgent and frivolous nature of French society including prostitutes and other undesirables leading up to the French Revolution."

1788: Jacques Griffe. "Jacques Griffe's contribution to the Gratitude Train represents the year 1788. Griffe worked in the house of Vionnet where he perfected his draping and cutting techniques, developing a style similar to Vionnet in its mastery of bias and the human form. Griffe served France during World War II, even being taken prisoner before returning to Paris in 1941 to open his house . This dress was inspired by the polonaise costumes made popular by Marie Antoinette during her sojourns at the Trianon palace. The Petit Trianon is located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. The small chateau and surrounding park were given to Marie Antoinette as a gift from Louis XVI. There she enjoyed dressing in the style of the working class while escaping the pressure and intrusiveness of royal life."


Green Martha said...

Those are gorgeous ! I adored the ones shown in "High Style", it's great to see more of them. Thank you !

Lady Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lady Stephanie said...

The Museum that I volunteer at in Kennesaw, Georgia, has one of the boxcars that was sent from France, along with several artifacts that were in it when it came over. I had no idea, about these dolls. Even if they aren't accurately portraying the years they are assigned, they are still gorgeous and a really cool piece of history.

Thank you so much for sharing!