Vintage couture always makes my heart flutter.
It seems vintage fashion becomes even more popular and desirable to wear the further we move away from the past.
Although much can be said about how far (or not) fashion has advanced over the years as an art form, for me fashion today lacks a certain romanticism and design aesthetic that rivals late 19th and 20th century fashion. When we look back at this period of fashion history we realise just how skilled and visionary fashion designers of these eras were. They were some of the greatest artisans the world has ever known – Dior, Balenciaga, Madeleine Vionnet, Madame Gres and Jeanne Paquin.
Just like Christian Dior, at the height of her career Jeanne Paquin was an agent of change designing opulent and extravagant Belle Epoque fashion when the Edwardian age and a new social conscience had emerged. Jeanne Paquin reigned as one of the leading haute couture fashion designers in Paris from 1891 until her retirement in 1920, but her fashion house continued to operate under the direction of many other designers until it closed in 1956.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to collect a few vintage couturier patterns published by Vogue, including one designed by the House of Paquin in the 1940’s. This pattern is believed to be designed by Colette Massignac who headed the House of Paquin from 1945 to 1949. ‘She had the difficult role of keeping the house going in the immediate post-war years, and maintaining its credibility in the face of rivalry from newcomer Dior’s much-publicised ‘New Look’ (Paquin: Parisian Fashion Designs 1897-1954, V&A).
It is a mid-calf length dress and semi-double breasted jacket with a fitted waistline and striking neckline. The design and shape of the silhouette suggests the House of Paquin was strongly influenced by the post-war “New Look” created by Christian Dior in the late 1940’s. The fitted waistline with peplum, the double breasted lapel with a scarf vent and the calf-length pencil skirt are wonderful hallmarks of the organic, tailored feminine lines the “New Look” was famous for.
Below is the pattern envelope. The description on the back reads “…slim skirt without seam at sides has soft fullness on hips. Skirt joins the sleeveless bodice at waist-line. Low front shaped neckline. Centre-back closing for slide fastener. Fitted jacket buttons below collarless neckline. Optional scarf is joined to neckline and pulled through opening dart. Long one piece sleeves may be worn pushed up”.
This is a closeup of the jacket illustration.
And this is a cotton toile of the jacket pattern.
The jacket is small and would fit a size 8-10, Bust 34″, Hips 37″. Alterations can be made to fit a larger size. Suggested fabrics include:
My preferred supplier of high quality couture fabrics is James Hare in the UK. They have a beautiful collection of silk and wool blend fabrics, British tweeds and hand woven silks.
Fabric can also be sourced from high end fabric retailers here in Australia or you can supply your own.
This is truly a beautiful classic vintage couture design that would be perfect for executive business attire or formal wear.
To inquire about a custom made-to-measure jacket or dress in this vintage Paquin pattern, please contact me. For more information about my bespoke couture service please visit Commissions in the main menu.