Monday, February 22, 2010

Sewing's in the Blood - Paquin

I am mucho excited today dear readers as my darling mummy has promised she will teach dressmaking when she comes over for a holiday in March. I have already been busy buying up vintage dress patterns on Ebay and Etsy and finding a machine that was not to expensive. I settled on this one. I think it will do me as a beginner just fine.

It seems sewing is in the blood in my family as my Great Grandmother on my Mum's side was a First Hand Fitter for French Couturier Paquin in the 1920s - 30s. Now I know these days not many people have heard of Paquin but in my GG's day they were a big deal. My Great Grandmother - Magret Ethel Temple would have been a well respected employee as her job was to fit some very prestigious costumers such as famous actresses and Ladies.
Born in 1869, Jeanne Paquin trained at the French fashion house Maison Rouff. In 1891, 22 years before Coco Chanel, Jeanne Paquin was the first woman to open her own fashion house. Her husband Isodore financed the venture which Madame Paquin daringly situated right next door to the great designer Worth on the Rue de la Paix in Paris.
Paquin soon became famous. She was know for using fine silks, furs and fancy trimmings . She changed the dowdy black the was predominant in the 19th century by lining with red silks and with the use of beautiful embroidery. Paquin also used Egyptian and Chinese motifs. Paquin introduced the empire waist dress in 1906 as an imitation of the Regency style.
Paquin was excellent at marketing her clothing. This she did by sending her models to big event such as the opera and the races and having them parade in her latest designs. She was also the first person to sell her items to department stores and wholesalers and the first to open businesses overseas in London, Buenos Aires and Madrid.
Madame Paquin resigned in 1920. During the 1920s designs were executed by a Mlle. Madeleine. After Madam Paquin’s death in 1936, the designer was Antonio del Castillo, who remained until 1944. Colette Massignac gave the House a new direction in the 1950s. In 1953, the House of Paquin merged with Worth. Paquin-Worth was closed in 1956.
More information about the House of Paquin can be found in Dominique Sirop's book A Historical Overview of the House of Paquin.

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