Vintage French Designer Dresses




Vintage Designer Dresses


Gazette du Bon Ton

The French magazine - Gazette du Bon Ton - was a unique Parisian fashion journal started by Lucien Vogel in 1912.

by Joanne Haug


Doucet vintage dress

Robe du soir de Doucet, 1914

The French magazine Gazette du Bon Ton, was a unique Parisian fashion journal started by Lucien Vogel in 1912. Vogel, in an effort to emphasize the connections between fashion and art, provided exquisite fashion plates created by modern artists such as  Paul Iribe, George Lepape, Georges Barbier, Charles Martin, Pierre Brissaud and others. Marketed towards the Paris elite, prints of exclusive and trend-setting fashions appeared in limited editions, but without an explanatory text. Many designs were idealistic leisure scenes of the well-to-do, illustrating the latest creations of Paris vintage fashion houses such as Worth, Lanvin, Doucet, Poiret, Callot Soeurs, Paquin and Beers. Each fashion pochoir (stencil) print was hand-painted in vivid colors on handmade paper, thus, Gazette du Bon Ton is one of the most desired vintage fashion magazines for collectors.


Paul Poiret, (1879-1944) was one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century. In Poiret vintage dress1896, Poiret joined the House of Doucet as an assistant, where his first design-- a red cape-- was extremely popular. Soon he was selling designs to Madame Cheruit, Redfern and Maggy Rouff. Poiret's dramatic flair for the rich and exotic soon replaced the soft pastel coloring made fashionable by Callot Soeurs. Poiret threw in vivid greens, royal blues and brilliant reds; within four years he had Paris at his feet. The stage brought Poiret his first success; under the patronage of Rejané, a popular actress of the day, he opened is own salon  in 1904. Poiret promoted turbans, harem pants and the hobble skirt. Artists Paul Iribe and Georges Lepape were commissioned by Poiret to illustrate his creations in Les Robes de Paul Poiret and Les Choses de Paul Poiret. 

Poiret vintage dress

Vintage dress from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-USZ62-85524]

Poiret vintage dress Poiret vintage dress

Robe du soir de Paul Poiret, 1914


Robe du soir de Paul Poiret, 1914



Poiret vintage dress

Poiret vintage dress

Robe du soir de Paul Poiret, 1914

Robe du soir de Paul Poiret, 1914



Callot Soeurs (Callot sisters) was a prominent French fashion design house opened in 1895 on Rue Taitbout in Paris. The fashion house was operated by the four Callot sisters: Regina, Marie, Marthe and Joséphine. In 1914 they relocated their couture house to grander quarters in Avenue Matignon. Callot Soeurs sold a line of vintage clothing known for its exotic detail; they designed day wear, lingerie, exotic gowns with an Oriental theme, and evening dresses made from antique fabrics and lace. Their gossamer silk lingerie creations were embellished with bands of exquisite lace and bouquets of silk flowers. Callot Soeurs were among the first designers to use silver and gold lame during the 1910s and 1920s for evening wear, thus their vintage designs were popular with actresses and high society patrons. Designer Madame Madeleine Vionnet, who trained at Callot Soeurs, stated, "Without the example of the Callot sisters, I would have continued to make Fords. It is because of them that I have been able to make Rolls-Royces." During the 1920s, Callot Soeurs was one of the leading fashion houses in Paris, catering to an exclusive American and European clientele. 


Callot Soeurs

Vintage dress from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-USZ62-85521]



Paquin vintage dressJeanne Paquin trained at the French fashion house, Maison Rouff.  In 1890 Jeanne and her husband, Isidore Paquin, opened their own Maison de Couture on Rue de la Paix, just next door to the great house of Worth. Jeanne Paquin transformed the 19th century mournful look of the color black by lining black coats with bright shimmering red silk or embellishing a sedate black gown with iridescent jewel-tone embroidery and lavish lace. Jeanne Paquin was president of the Fashion Section of the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900; and was the first Parisian couturier to open foreign branches in London, Buenos Aires and Madrid. Although noted primarily for her vintage Edwardian fashions, Paquin did develop a more modern style which was illustrated in Gazette du Bon Ton by Iribe and Barbier.

Paquin vintage dress

Paquin vintage dress

Robe du soir de Paquin, 1914. Illustrated by G. Barbier


Paquin vintage dress

Vintage dress from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-USZ62-85522]



House of Worth vintage dressHOUSE OF WORTH:

The House of Worth was founded by Charles Frederick Worth in 1858 and continued into the 20th century under the control of his two sons, House of Worth vintage dressGaston-Lucien and Jean-Philippe. While Gaston was the business administrator, Jean-Phillippe was the designer who modernized the Parisian couture house and created his own name with his dramatic use of fabrics and lavish trimmings. The House of Worth flourished throughout the early 20th century and was continued by four generations of the family before the great fashion dynasty was taken over by the house of Paquin in the early 1950s.


Doucet vintage dress  


Jacques Doucet was one of the great designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Doucet was popular with actresses, royalty, and socialites; his vintage designs were noted for their appealing pastel colors. Doucet opened his own couture house in 1875, the Doucet house merged with Doeuillet after his death in 1929






Although Beer was a German fashion designer, he opened a couture house in Paris' fashion elite Place Vendome in 1905. Beer designed feminine day and evening wear and was particularly popular for his lingerie creations. As his popularity grew, Beer opened other couture salons in Nizza, Italy and Monte Carlo.


Gustav Beer

Vintage dress from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-USZ62-85523]




Doeuillet was one of the prominent and successful couture houses in Paris in the early 20th century. His vintage designs were of highly detailed dresses of elaborate designs. The House of Doeuillet merged with Doucet in 1929.


Gazette du Bon Ton at the Races
The vintage French magazine Gazette du Bon Ton shows the latest haute couture for the races by Worth and Redfern.