Category Archives: Fashion

The London Couture House of Zorene Ltd

A prominant London couture atelier in the Jazz Age was that of Zorene Ltd based in and around Hanover Square, W1. Zorene Ltd was founded in 1919 and thrived through the 1920s and into the 1930s and was described as Court Dressmakers.  It was owned and run by Zoe Florence A. Benn and another lady called Irene, hence the name Zorene.

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Val St Cyr and Baroque Ltd

Val St Cyr and Baroque Ltd

Val St Cyr as the house of Baroque was a major force in the dress-designing world of London in the Jazz Age and beyond. Long forgotten and ignored, Val St Cyr’s  work was nevertheless magnificent and was characterized by being original, idiosyncratic, innovative and daring.

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Merci et Cie the Movie Modiste

Merci et Cie the Movie Modiste

Post World War 1 there was renewed optimism for the British Film industry and various moves were made to improve the quality of productions with effective and original costume design recognised as being of crucial importance. Between 1919-1922 this was evident by the formation of two dress designing departments at the newly formed Islington studio for Famous Players Lasky, headed by Marcelle de St Martin and the Alliance Studios, headed by Gladys Jackson. But there were various other independent designers rising to the occasion as well. One such person was the fashion designer and costumier Mde de Petier of Merci et Cie (sometimes spelt Mercie) based at 90 Charing Cross Road, whose business was described as ‘milliners.’

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Sophie Rosenberg

Sophie Rosenberg

The discovery of a feature in Dance Magazine from December 1924 about the New York modiste Sophie Rosenberg has sent me on a slight detour from my current research. It would appear that she was a significant figure in the New York fashion design world from 1915 right through to the mid 1950s. Taking her inspiration from her yearly trips to Paris, Rosenberg created original designs with a Parisian air. Her enterprises evolved in 1915 in conjunction with her husband under various names and in 1935 she entered into a rather disastrous and short-lived business arrangement with Gloria Vanderbilt before re-establishing her independence.

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Who was Ninette?

Who was Ninette?

A few years ago I spotted a series of rather simple, yet wonderful adverts that appeared in several theatre programmes from the early 1920s for the fashion house of Ninette. With two outlets in London at 47 Cranbourne Street and 79 Shaftesbury Avenue, Ninette was rather well placed. But who was Ninette? At first, all attempts to locate any further information were elusive, so who was behind this rather wonderful British fashion house that flourished in the Jazz Age but now completely forgotten?

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Dolly Tree costume design at MGM

The Evolution of a Screen Gown by Dolly Tree at MGM in the 1930s

In the 1930s MGM was regarded as Hollywood’s premier film production company and renowned for the excellence of its costumes and gowns from its two designers Adrian and Dolly Tree and an array of costume makers. How did this incredible team produce such wonderful visions of beauty?

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Mae West and the gowns for She Done Him Wrong (1933) the film version of Diamond Lil (1928)

Le style Mae West, c’est magnifique! The gowns for She Done Him Wrong (1933) the film version of Diamond Lil (1928)

Mae West’s gowns for She Done Him Wrong (1933), the film version of Diamond Lil (1928), seemingly caused a sensation at the time. But what is the story behind them? And who created them?

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The Artistry of Jean Peron Couture

The Artistry of Jean Peron Couture

Jean Peron Couture was a thriving couture establishment with outlets in Paris and London that flourished in the Jazz Age. During the 1920s Peron received glowing praise for its gowns in publications such as The Queen and The Times and The Era announced in one feature that ‘Peron prides himself on always being a little in front of fashion.’

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