Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fashion Friday - Fath and Fashion

Genevieve Fath; March 1948

The lovely Genevieve Boucher de la Bruyere and French fashion designer Jacques Fath are my fashion inspirations for today.  Jacques postwar fashion (post World War II, that is), made him a contemporary of Dior and his "New Look".  Fath is probably best known for designing Moira Shearer's costumes in The Red Shoes as well as Rita Hayworth's wedding dress to Prince Aly Khan.

Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth's wedding; 1949
Jacqeus Fath was born in Maisons-Laffitte, France on September 6, 1912.  The son of an insurance agent, young Jacques was obsessed with dresses and would often remake his mother's and sister's dresses and hats without their permission.

Madame Fath outside the Plaza Hotel; March 1948
Upon his father's urging, he was trained as a bookkeeper in 1928.  He worked in the profession for two years, becoming astute in business matters.  This would serve him well later in life

Madame Fath in front of the Plaza Hotel's fountain; March 1948

In 1933 his career took a slight detour.  It was compulsory to serve a year in the military at the time, so he performed his stint.

Genevieve in a blue wool dress; March 1948

After leaving the military, he enrolled in drama school at the urge of French film director Leonide Moguy.  I have never seen one of Moguy's films, but they apparently Quentin Tarantino is a fan.  I'm not generally a fan of French films, but perhaps I'll have to track one down.

Genevieve wearing a jumpsuit with matching polka dot tie and shoes; March 1948

He also met the lovely Genevieve that year.  Having led what I can only assume was a fabulous life, she became the muse of Fath,.  They would marry in 1939, and had one child, Phillippe, in 1943.  Genevieve was an aspiring model and actress, who had been secretary to the legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel.  I can only imagine how amazing that job would have been.  To start out with Coco Chanel and be witness to the inspiration, genius, celebrity, and glamour!  And after that become the muse of one of the chicest post-war designers.  She probably never wore a bad outfit in her life.  I wish more was known about her glamorous life.    

Genevieve and her American Trip Accessories; March 1948

After drama school he immersed himself in the world of fashion.  A self-taught designer, he studied every aspect of the business and excelled in it.  In 1936 opened up his first house, showing his first 20 piece collection in 1937.

Jacques and Genevieve; March 1948

World War II caused a bit of havoc in his Fashion House, as was common in Europe.  I imagine if bombs are going off all around you, "Business as Usual" is difficult.  Jacques would also be drafted by France in 1939 as a gunner.  Without the designer there, the business was on stand-by.  He would even become a German prisoner of war for a short time in 1940 before returning to the business and picking up the pieces.

Jacques and Genevieve; March 1948

1945 would, in hindsight, be a huge year for Jacques Fath and his Fashion House.  Fashion giant Givenchy was his assistant and he would introduce his first fragrance, Chasuble.  Courting socialites with free or little cost clothing, his name rose in the fashion world.  Known for his hyper-feminine clothing, models who worked for him were known to go to extremes to fit in his tight corseted clothing.

Genevieve Fath in a satin bustled evening gown; March 1948

Jacques was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1952.  He would live until November 13, 1954.  His wife, Genevieve would keep the house open until 1957 when the fashion part of his company ceased production.  The brand continues to sell fragrances.

Genevieve wearing a satin evening dress and rhinestone necklace; March 1948

In addition to being being a fashion giant, Fath and his wife were known to have masquerade and other parties.  They were king and queen of the social scene.  They would take America by storm during their March 1948 trip, the trip featured in these great Life photographs.  Jacques would create a 35 collection for the trip, costing an amazing $12,000.  

Umbrella's for Genevieve's trip; March 1948

The expense paid off.  He created a ready-to-wear line carried in many major American cities.  While this was looked down upon by the elite, Fath thought of it as a way to every woman could be a little glamorous.  

Hats for Genevieve's trip; March 1948

Each look is delightful.  Any woman would have been lucky to wear even one of these creations, let alone 35 head-to-toe stunners.  To learn more about the fashion of Jacques Fath, check out Voguepedia.

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