Monday, August 10, 2009

One Degree of Separation

Jacques Fath was one amazing man. Completely self taught, he was part of the triumvarate of fashion in the 1940s-1950s, which also include Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior. His wife, Genevieve, was his muse, and had once been a secretary for Coco Chanel. He later counted as his assistants both Hubert Givenchy and Guy Laroche.

He was literally one degree of separation from some of the greatest fashion of the time.

He loved to show off a woman's figure by accentuating curves, and by adding non-functional accents that were constructed of natural materials like hemp, seashells and walnuts. An amazing mind that somehow found its passion, and brought it to life with no formal training, eventually dressing such women as Greta Garbo and Rita Hayworth. I'm truly in awe.

Sadly, the genius died young, being diagnosed with leukemia a mere four years after these photos were taken. He died three years later -- a tragic loss for those of us who would've loved to see what he could create, had he lived past the age of 42.

Mrs Jacques Fath travelled the US with a $12, 000 wardrobe -- almost $116.000 in today's currency -- all created by her husband, the legendary Jacques Fath. This included 17 hats, 16 pairs of shoes, 10 handbags, four umbrellas, and other accessories, not including 12 trunks full of suits and dresses.

Wow. Just wow.

Mr. Fath reported that American women don't show off their figures enough, and that their skirts were too long. Imagine what he'd say about us now!

"This blue wool dress has a matching cape lined with checked wool, edged with nutria. Genevieve prefers furs or separate capes like this to a bulky coat."

Black wool cape dress has a calf length, slim skirt which is Fath's rule for street wear. Severe lines are relieved by a pique scarf and flowered hat.

Life Magazine, April 19, 1948.

I hadn't planned to add another video today, until I came across this one. Not only gorgeous fashion, but look at how the models glide. No one walks like this during Fashion Week, and look at how perilously close to the edge of the runway the models come, and somehow don't fly off into the crowd. The girl in the ball gown looks rather like she's pushing a plow in comparison, but she'd still win in a walkoff against Heidi, Naomi, or Kate. Amazing stuff:


  1. Wow, they did know how to walk then, didn't they? The last few times I watched contemporary models, I noticed that they appeared to be stomping down the runway. 'Course, the killer platform shoes may have had something to do with it....