Reign

There’s a well-used adage which goes “don’t judge a book by its cover” and as I’ve recently discovered, in the case of the television series Reign, the dictum can equally be applied in saying that you shouldn’t judge this programme by its preview, as after watching its 30 second promo, I was despairingly sobbing in my corset at yet another failed American misunderstanding of English heritage in translating the Elizabethan era Royal courts into a contemporary OC (Orange County) country club. However, preview aside and largely thanks to Megan Follows, who I’ve adored since my early childhood after watching her brilliant performance as Anne in Anne of Green Gables, I have to admit that I’m now hooked, unable to take my eyes of the screen as I watch her in the role of Queen Catherine de’ Medici, portraying an intelligent but manipulative, conniving woman who will do anything to make sure that her son’s future as the next king of France is secured, treating everyone like pawns in a game of chess where everyone is disposable.

 

Megan aside, it’s fair to say that Reign has taken a lot of liberties with historical events and not surprisingly, has been fiercely criticised by those who are passionate about the period for its wildly fantastical interpretation of Mary Queen of Scots, around whom the story is based. But to those people who continue to criticise Reign, I say… “Get a grip” it’s a soap opera, not a documentary and if you’re not willing to lose yourself in the transportation in time of a fictional love triangle between Francis II the heir to the French throne, his bastard half-brother Bash and Mary Queen of the Scots then simply don’t watch it and perhaps do a bit of gardening now that the weather is warmer. I on the other hand, am totally absorbed by not only the fictional fancy of the many Machiavellian scheming’s but also the show’s costuming which looks surprisingly modern in its fabrics and designs, albeit with a straight-laced grasp of the era in which it is set. Costume designer Meredith Markworth-Pollack is responsible for creating the looks for each and every character on the show and I love, that she opted for designers such as Alexander McQueen and Basil Soda whose gowns fit Reign’s mood, a dark fairy-tale, that is designed to entertain much in the same way as a Shakespearean tragedy, like a glove. It was while I was watching the show, that it hit me, one of my favourite outfits, hidden in the dark corner of my wardrobe had been waiting for this the right moment to come to life again. I don’t think I wore it even once since I’ve moved from New York City to London and Batcave aka Downtime was the last venue at which it made an attendance. The velvet and lace coat was designed and hand made in the 80’s by Kimmono, best known for having styled WASP for their album covers and who I till this day consider one of the most creative and eccentric designers I’ve met in my years in USA.

 

Megan Follows as Queen Catherine, Adelaide Kane as Mary

Reign. Adelaide Kane as MaryReign.  Adelaide Kane as MaryReign. Adelaide Kane as Mary

 

Reign. Megan Follows as Queen Catherine, Adelaide Kane as Mary

 

 For the “look of the day” I’m wearing a velvet dress pre-owned by Demi Moore and a velvet & lace vintage coat designed by Kimmono.

Dominique de Merteuil  editor of Its Beyond My Control fashion blog

Dominique de Merteuil editor of Its Beyond My Control fashion blogDominique de Merteuil  editor of Its Beyond My Control fashion blog

Dominique de Merteuil  editor of Its Beyond My Control fashion blog

Dominique de Merteuil  editor of Its Beyond My Control fashion blog

Dominique de Merteuil  editor of Its Beyond My Control fashion blog

 

 

Designer Discounted.

I’ve been recently asked by DesignerDiscounted.com to give an interview about my fashion finds and if you are curious where to shop in London…Read! Share! Shop!

 

It's Beyond My Control

And for those who don’t have eagle eyes…

 

Name:

Dominique de Merteuil

Occupation:

Editor at itsbeyondmycontrol.com fashion blog.

Favourite designers / brands: 

I’m asked that question a lot and perhaps surprisingly, the answer hasn’t changed much in years.

I wear a lot of Vivienne Westwood, in fact 60% of my clothes are by that particular designer and the reason behind it is simple. She creates timeless pieces, doesn’t compromise on the quality of the fabrics and her jackets fit me like a glove! I also love Alexander McQueen especially form the time when Sarah Burton became the creative director for the brand.  What can I say, I simply love the theatrics! In a perfect world where I could be wearing nothing but Haute Couture all day long (sometimes days I actually do) I would opt for Elie Saab whose creations remind me of the 1940’s Hollywood Glamour which I’ve always been fond of. Last but not least, the list wouldn’t be complete without my favourite new Haute Couture designer Veroni Deco, whose dresses are a real piece of art and belong either in a museum or my closet…Clothes from her first two collections are one offs which makes me particularly happy to be the proud owner of one them…It’s Beyond My Control!

 

Daily uniform: 

I’m probably the most impractical person when it comes to fashion, which explains why I have almost nothing casual to wear… I love the Victorian/equestrian inspired look so I wear jodhpurs with long but nicely fitted jackets, lots of vintage lace and hats, which I collect.

I’m a little bit eccentric I guess, or at least that’s what I’ve heard others say about me so you might see me in Haute Couture gown in the middle of the day, especially when the only pair of jeans I own is in the laundry.

Best designer item you got on a discount, and where: 

It will have to be a pair of Fendi  pumps  which I bought at the Secret Sample Sale (not so secret anymore!) in London. Sample sales are a great way to save lots of money on some spectacular clothes and accessories of so many brilliant designers, you just have to remember to go as early as possible because every minute counts and as my husband once said” women shopping during sales are vicious!”, so arrive very early and be fast!

 

Shopping tips:

I hardly ever shop for anything in particular, it’s always an accidental find, but when the craving for something new hits the zenith I go straight to Vivienne Westwood shop at 44 Conduit St in London. When I have very little time but a large shopping list with a variety of items not limited to clothes, I always go to Harrods because I know where everything is and don’t need to waste precious time. I have to admit, I’m not a very patient shopper. My absolutely favourite place to shop for vintage clothes and accessories is The London Vintage Fashion, Textiles & Accessories Fair in Hammersmith. I’ve found some of my most precious possessions there such as; an authentic, Victorian funeral cape in mint condition, dozens of beautiful 1940’s hats as well as vintage laced gloves.

For those readers interested in shopping for vintage fashion in London read this article I’ve written some time ago about the subject matter and you will find a list of venues worth visiting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

1920's fashion

Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis)

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is undoubtedly my favourite newly discovered costume drama. Set in 1920s Melbourne, portraying  adventures of the glamorous, fearless, sharp as a tack, boundary-breaking and at times outrageous, lady detective, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, played brilliantly by Essie Davis. The ABC Australian TV show is based on the series of detective stories entitled  Phryne Fisher Mysteries written by Kerry Greenwood, and continues to be as much of a success now as it was in 1989 when ”Cocaine Blues” the first novel of the series was published. I have no intentions of spoiling it for you by revealing the actual storyline but I promise, that you will not be disappointed if you choose to indulge yourself into watching what I call the sexiest detective drama ever filmed. I put the blame of my addiction to watching and re-watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on my Australian mother-in-law who introduced me to the show, probably as an attempt to get me hooked on all things Australian and to tempt me to spend some time there, writing about Australian fashion and beyond.The temptation is indeed more and more difficult to resist and I’m already planning the trip starting of course with building a lavish wardrobe inspired by the 1920s fashion and Miss Fisher herself. It’s not going to be an easy task considering that in those days outfits were designed to be part of an ensemble so that everything matched perfectly, from the shoes, hat and gloves to the actual dress and underwear, after all it’s what’s underneath that counts most! But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when you take into consideration that different outfits were required for different time of the day, a true sense of occasion that’s not at all apparent in our times.

If I do end up in Melbourne, I will definitely make an attempt to meet up with the talented costume designer Marion Boyce who is responsible for the incredibly beautiful and dazzling wardrobe of Phryne Fisher, that consists of over 120 pieces, some original 1920s items, others designed and made by Miss Boyce with the assistance of her talented team, including  the milliners Mandy Murphy and Gareth Blaha, who’s hats should definitely be in a museum or in my own wardrobe.

 

“I don’t look for crime, crime finds me”  

1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's fashion 1920's fashion 1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's fashion1920's1920's fashion

 

If you love Miss Fisher’s style as much as I do here are few modern pieces of wardrobe that will help you create the 1920′s inspired look!

1920's shoes

Miu Miu metallic leather and suede Mary Jane pumps
£550

 

showgirl shoes

Veroni Deco couture blue feather pumps. POR

 

showgirl shoes

Veroni Deco haute couture pink feather pumps. POR

1920's haute couture

Veroni Deco couture pink feather skirt from “Rococo” collection.

Veroni Deco gold couture dress from “Minion Rococo” collection.

Lets not forget about the red nails and lips!

CHANEL Pirate nail polish

CHANEL Pirate nr 08 nail polish

 

YSL red lipstick Rouge Pur Couture

YSL Rouge Pur Couture lipstick

 

 

Vintage in autumn.

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”

Jane Austen, Persuasion

Autumn’s warm, gold and fiery red colours have awaken in me the desire to wear more vintage, dramatic clothes that add a slightly theatrical feel to my persona or personality. The opportunity to wear silk, vintage gloves, which a lady should never be seen without, not even in the summer, is simply impossible to resist, same goes for a beautiful vintage, velvet custom made cape, which was a gift from a very dear friend of mine, who shares my passion for both; vintage and the theatrics.

Dominique de Merteuil It's Beyond My Control

Dominique de Merteuil It's Beyond My Control

vintage bag

vintage cape

vintage cape

Vintage cape

vintage cape

vintage cape

vintage capevintage bag

 

Pink vintage dress

Black silk/satin vintage gloves bought at a vintage fair in London

Black velvet vintage cape, a wonderful gift from my dear friend Blon!

Pink cashmere top by Prada

Black vintage bag which was a gift from my mom!

Black tights by Givenchy

 

 

The Versailles of Maria Leszczyńska – Court Art in 18th-Century France

The Versailles of Maria Leszczyńska – Court Art in 18th-Century France is an exhibition currently on show at the Royal Castle in Warsaw and if you are as obsessed about 18th-Century French court life as I am, then you’ll think nothing of the 2.5 hour flight from London in order to see it. If you need information or where to stay or dine like a Queen during your visit to Poland’s capital, stay tuned as I will be doing a post on that very subject matter soon.

If you’re not familiar with who Maria Leszczynska was then here’s a few interesting facts about France’s Polish Queen to get you up to speed.

  • Maria Leszczynska, daughter of Stanislaw Lesczynski the Polish King in exile, was wife to Louis XV (King of France from 1715 to 1774), whom she married when she was 22 and he was 15.
  • She was hated by the courtiers of Versailles but loved by the common people. When reproached for not dressing smart she responded by saying: “I do not need gowns when the poor have no shirts.”
  • Queen Maria bore Louis eight daughters (including a pair of twins) and two sons one of whom was Louis XVI, husband to Marie Antoinette and the last King of France.
  • The substantial age difference probably not helped by nine pregnancies, contributed to her husband Louis’ philandering in particular his tryst with the Marquise de Pomapadour. As a result of this very public affair, the Queen sought refuge among close friends and withdrew from court life. Ultimately dying at the age of 65 Queen Maria, if there was to be any small consolation, outlived her rival Madame de Pompadour by four years.

The exhibition is a collaboration of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and the Palace of Versailles. It features over one hundred items, mainly paintings of the sophisticated court centred aound Louis XV, among them the works by the crème de la crème of 18th Century artists such as; Jean-Marc Nattier (one of my favourite painters of that period), Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Jean-Baptiste van Loo, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Alexander Roslin, Pierre Gobert, Alexis-Simon Belle, François-Hubert Drouais and Joseph-Marie Vien. The names alone should get you excited enough to abandon your shopping plans for purchasing the new season Givenchy bag this weekend and hop on the plane to Warsaw. After all, it’s the new ‘it’ place to visit.

 

 

 

Queen Maria Leszczynska by Jean-Baptiste Martin

Maria Leszczynska by Jean-Baptiste Martin

 

Queen Maria Leszczynska by Alexis-Simon Belle

Maria Leszczynska by Alexis-Simon Belle

 

Maria Leszczynska by Louis Tocque

Maria Leszczynska by Louis Tocque

 

Queen od France Maria Leszczynska by Charles Amedee Van Loo

Maria Leszczynska by Charles Amedee Van Loo

 

Queen Maria Leszynska by Jean Marc Nattier

Maria Leszynska by Jean Marc Nattier

 

Jean-Baptiste van Loo,-Portrait-of-Maria-Leszczynska

Portrait of  Maria Leszczynska by Jean-Baptiste van Loo

 

Madame Henriette as Flora by Jean Marc Nattier

Madame Henriette as Flora by Jean Marc Nattier

 

Louis XV and Infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain by Alexis-Simon Belle

Louis XV and Infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain by Alexis-Simon Belle

 

The Versailles of Maria Leszczyńska
Court Art in 18th-Century France Royal Castle In Warsaw
Gallery of Temporary Exhibitions 2nd fl.
21 September 2013 – 5 January2014

Exhibition organised by the Royal Castle in Warsaw
jointly with the Palace of Versailles

 

 

Top 6 Make-Up Removers!

There are many crimes a woman can commit against her own skin but the one that leaves most damage is not removing make-up before going to sleep. We’ve all been there and done it I know but dry skin, spots, blackheads, premature ageing and fine lines should be enough to scare any woman, convincing her of the benefits of a daily routine in removing make-up and cleansing the skin.

As someone who has an insanely capricious and demanding skin, I have to be very careful what I apply on it and I’ve learned over the years that it’s best to stick to what really works, leaving experimentation to the teenagers. For my top 6 make-up removers I’ve chosen luxurious products, that I’ve been using for a long time and are definitely worth recommending!

 

Dominique de Merteuil editor of It's Beyond My Control fashion blog.

BEFORE YOU FALL ASLEEP
Model: Dominique de Merteuil. Photography: Nadya Lev

No 6) Bioderma Sensibio H20

Bioderma is one of the most popular make-up removers among models doing endless back-to-back fashion shows, which is quite understandable considering that no water is required during the make-up removal process. It’s very gentle on sensitive skin but strong enough to remove water resistant mascara. It’s fragrance and alcohol free, which I personally like and it’s wonderfully cheap, for a 
250 ml bottle you will only have to part with £9.95.

 

No 5) Eve Lom Cleanser

I don’t believe there is even one woman on this planet who hasn’t at least heard of the Eve Lom cleanser. It’s a real favourite among fashionistas, beauty product addicts and certainly not without a reason! It’s a deep cleanser, that removes very stubborn waterproof make-up and leaves the skin feeling soft and fresh. Eve Lom cleanser has the consistency of a thick cream which you apply onto your face and neck. The make-up remover comes with a muslim cloth which you wet in warm water and place over your face, leaving it for few seconds (personally I leave it for about a minute), which helps to open and cleans the pores. Many women including myself have experience the occurrence of minor spots after using Evo Lom cleanser for the first week but I can reassure you, that it’s temporary and if you continue using the cleanser on a regular basis it will work wonders on your skin! Designed for all skin types £55.00 for 100ml.

 

No 4) Elemis White Flowers Eye and Lip Make-Up Remover

I don’t think I could ever write a post about top beauty products and not include the brand Elemis! I’m addicted to their anti-aging Pro-Colagen Marine Cream, Tranquil Touch Body Cream and their White Flowers Eye And Lip Make-Up Remover which has saved my skin on several occasions! It’s very gentle on the skin and removes waterproof make-up, suitable for contact lens wearers. What I love most about the product is that it leaves the skin feeling hydrated and fresh. All skin types £19 for 125ml.

 

 

No 3) Crème de la Mer The Cleansing Lotion

Crème de la Mer Cleansing Lotion is definitely on top of my list as far as best make-up removers go. I call it the little miracle worker as it not only removes make-up but also purifies the skin and makes it feel like it should after a good facial! I always use it on dry skin, massage for a couple of minutes to melt the make-up down and finish with a rinse with warm water. £60.00 for 200ml.

 

 

 

No 2) Sisley Eau Efficace Make-Up Remover 

Both my mom and I are devoted fans of Sisley beauty products and we buy almost every new product they put on the market. Eau Efficace Make Up remover is a very luxurious treat but oh so worth trying! Deeply cleansing, designed for sensitive eyes leaves the face hydrated and plump. £71.00 for 300 ml.

 

 

 

No 1) Shu Uemura Classic High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil

My absolute favourite make-up remover, which I simply can’t live without. Two pump sprays are sufficient to remove even the most stubborn make-up. I always heat the oil up on my palms for about 10 seconds, apply on a completely dry skin and massage the face for about a minute or two, followed with a rinse with warm water. The skin feels incredibly hydrated and almost brand new! There are several types of Shu Uemura cleansing oils available depending on the skin’s needs. The one I’ve been using for several years is the Classic High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil suitable for all skin types. All skin types £29.50 for 150ml.

 

 

 

 

 

Eleuterio Jewels– Tomorrow’s Vintage

 

“The French are glad to die for love, they delight in fighting duels but I prefer a man who lives and gives expensive jewels.” I find it difficult to resist the allure of rubies with their rich red hue, nor sapphires who speak a thousand words for me, then there’s the elegance of emeralds of course and well… the mere mention of diamonds may cause this girl’s heart to skip a beat. And I know I’m not alone for what is it about jewels that delight us ladies from such an early age and never let us go?

Elizabeth Taylor summed up at least part of my feelings for precious stones when she said “I’ve never thought of my jewellery as trophies. I’m here to take care of it and love it, for we are only temporary custodians of beauty.” Yes, it’s not about the stones at all really despite the beauty of their sparkle and their shape, as Ms Taylor pointed out, it’s about what they become when grouped together, a sometimes magical mix, an object d’art that for once, can leave a woman speechless. And Elizabeth Taylor had good reason to consider herself a custodian of beauty as her collection was perhaps only surpassed by that of the other Elizabeth, her Majesty the Queen that is and contained such delicacies as the heart-shaped yellow diamond which was originally a gift given in 1621 by Shah Jahangir to his favourite wife, Mumtz Mahal, for whom he built the Taj Mahal.

It won’t come as a surprise to hear that other Hollywood goddesses have also harboured a weakness for jewellery. Marlene Dietrich loved Emeralds and often wore her own Jewellery in her films, most noticeably in Desire from 1936. Joan Crawford was so notoriously keen on sapphires that the press called them “Joan Blue” after her. One of her favourite pieces was a bracelet set with three star sapphires of 60 carats each. Star sapphires are half-dome-cut sapphires with a star-like effect that seems to glide across the surface of the stone, the way the sliver does in a cat’s eye. She was also the owner of a 70-carat star sapphire engagement ring, and a 72-carat emerald-cut sapphire, which she often wore together on the same finger!

For me, nothing could be more mesmerising than to know that the stones draped around my neck, those wrapped around my wrist or placed upon my finger, had belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich or Joan Crawford and it’s not just because of their historic importance or intrinsic value, as vintage pieces have always been my preference over modern designs which leave me feeling cold. That is until recently when I discovered Eleuterio Jewels who’s designs embody a vintage elegance.

It was the ‘Jazz Age’ the time of the Great Gatsby when Eleutério Antunes exhibited his first pieces. His inspiration was not only the ‘Roaring 20s’ world around him but also the 18th Century and this is still very apparent in the designs created by Susana Martins for Eleuterio Jewels today. I’m absolutely in love with a pair of delicately hand engraved white-gold earrings from their Art Deco collection, which are destined to become tomorrow’s vintage pieces. The passion that Eleuterio Jewels have for their craft is truly apparent and I’d like to share with you just a small sample of their creations because a girl can’t get by without a little sparkle in her life.

My Absolute favourite and definitely on the top of my Wishlist, hand engraved earrings in white gold from the Eleuterio Jewels Art Deco collection.


Eleuterio JewelsEleuterio Jewels. Art DecoEleuterio Jewels. Art DecoEleuterio jewels. Art DecoEleuterio jewels. Art DecoEleuterio jewels. Art DecoEleuterio jewels. Art DecoEleuterio jewels. Art DecoEleuterio jewels. Art Deco

Eleuterio Couture Collection:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From 1st to 4th of September 2013, Eleuterio Jewels will be at International Jewellery London showcasing at stand H139 so don’t miss your chance to see the spectacular jewellery up close!

 

 

Vanessa G. – The Art of Fashion

Fashion and art make for strange bedfellows and yet they’re inseparable. Art thrives off fashions fondness for change while fashion wraps art in the warming glow of its keen embrace. It’s been that way ever since pop art paraded onto the scene in the 1960s with Andy Warhol, Bridget Riley et al and now that the bonds of matrimony have been made, it’s never likely to change.

Vanessa Gounden is a fashion designer who goes further than simply embracing art, she creates it and then applies it to her fashion. Her latest collection entitled the “Mining Landscape” consists of three separate ranges: Rare Earth, From Discovery to Creation and my personal favourite Chain Reaction, which are all inspired by nature and mining. This is a theme very close to the heart of Vanessa as she’s also one of the most successful women working in the mining industry today, the first woman mining-magnate in South Africa.

Her incredible dresses covered in prints rich in colour are simply mind blowing and this is coming from someone who usually refuses to wear colour. I’ve always believed that there are no other colours I could wear apart from black and occasionally red, and I bet my CHANEL ballerina pumps, that the majority of my darlings wouldn’t consider anything that’s not black either, but trust me when I say; experiment a little bit with a colour and you might discover the new black! The same can be said about prints, don’t be afraid to try something completely different and outside your comfort zone, I know I have and it was worth it.

I’m also drawn to Vanessa G’s. pencil skirts as well as the flattering, lushes A-line dresses and surprisingly I keep going back to the most ornate and bold designs. Every garment looks like a piece of art or jewelry and like diamonds it can be very addictive.  The second you find your perfect dress from the collection as I did, you will discover the incredible long trench coat and it will be hard to stop there.

FROM DISCOVERY TO CREATION

Vanessa G. From Discovery to Creation.

VanessaGFromDiscoveryToCreation02

VanessaGFromDiscoveryToCreation3

CHAIN REACTION

Chain Reaction

VanessaGChainReactionVanessa_G.ChainReactionVanessa_G_Chain_ReactionVanessaG_ChainReactionRARE EARTH

Vanessa_G.RareEarthVanessa_G.RareEarth02

Vanessa_G.RareEarth03

Vanessa_G.RareEarth4

Vanessa_G.RareEarth5

Vanessa_G.RareEarth

 

 

Colour Me Purple!

No words necessary…except, colour me purple.

Shocking!

Shocking!

My love for jewellery

My love for jewellery

Dominique de MerteuilIt's Beyond My Control

DominiqueDeMerteuilIt'sBeyondMyControl

DominiqueDeMerteuil3It's Beyond My Control

It's Beyond My Control

It'sBeyondMyControl

 

Colour me purple AKA today I’m wearing:

Vivienne Westwood purple blazer

Vivienne Westwood red shoes

Vintage dress bought in London

Vintage bag bought in Paris

Ring bought in Paris

 

Jean Patou – Couturier and Visionary in the era of Flapper Girls.

Jean Patou

Jean Patou

Jean Patou " Joy" Pefume

Jean Patou ” Joy” Pefume

 

Moving house is never a simple task especially if it involves relocating not so much from one borough to another but to an entirely new country. I’ve done this a few times now in my life, lived in many cities around the world but I have to say that I find the whole experience quite cleansing, as it fills my heart with optimism and adventure for new quests. There is however, one inevitable and utterly annoying aspect of moving house, one has no choice but to live out of boxes for as long as it takes for the custom made furniture to be made and delivered… Eight to twelve weeks! I have bedrooms brimming with boxes, a kitchen choked by cartons and I find myself constantly quoting Elizabeth Taylor, who in describing her abode in the film ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf’, exclaimed “What a dump!”
It’s my own doing though and I have so many boxes because of my many holics. Yes I have more than one, after all I’m a Gemini and all of my 12 personalities has to have at least one addiction. There’s the shop-a-holic, the shoe-a-holic, antique-a-holic and my personal favourite, the book-a-holic. Though I managed to kick my habit of paperbacks a long time ago, Hardbacks Anonymous did nothing to stop my compulsive caressing of felt covered volumes and hard spines. So these take up a few… Alright, a lot of boxes and while I wait for the delivery of the bookcase that will house my precious first editions, I find myself burdened with Elizabeth Taylor’s words wondering in which box is what. Within my very own Berlin Wall of boxes there are however two books that I always know the whereabouts of. ‘Hollywood Glamor Portraits 1926-1949‘ and ‘Avedon Photographs 1947-1977′. The later contains some incredible Haute Couture dresses and of those my personal favourites are those by Patou.

Patou Henry Clarke

Patou gown photographed by  Henry Clarke

Dorian Leigh wearing Patou 1955

Dorian Leigh wearing Patou 1955

Patou By Avedon

Patou gown photographed by Richard Avedon

Some of you may instantly recognise the name Jean Patou but for those not familiar with one of the most influential designers of the 20th Century, allow me to take you back to year 1919 when after WWI had ended Jean Patou re-opened his salon at 7 Rue Saint Florentin in Paris. Soon he was to become the toast of Parisian society, known for the simplicity and elegance of his designs that not only made the woman wearing them look beautiful but were also comfortable to wear. When he opened a boutique ‘Le Coins de Sports’, where each room was devoted to a different type of sport, he cemented his place in couture history. His sports fragrance ‘Le Sien’ was the first unisex perfume, as was his idea to create perfumes for his collections. One of his perfumes ‘Joy’ is still the second most popular perfume in the world today. He was the first designer to put his initials on sweaters and being one of the first to develop the off- the-rack concept, he created a range of non-shrinking swimwear that every modern woman would desire. Jean Patou’s genius lay in creating very modern designs and trends that would be … for years to come. Not long after his success however, in 1936 Jean Patou departed this world at the age of 49 and sadly did not live to see how his genius in the modern would go on to influence a new generation of designers. Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier have all designed for the Patou label.

Special thanks to the entire Jean Patou team for sending me the amazing Jean Patou archived sketches so I can share them with the rest of the world!!!

Jean Patou Couture Sketches

Copyright Jean Patou

Jean Patou Sketches

Copyright Jean Patou

Jean Patou Sketches

Copyright Jean Patou

Jean Patou Sketches

Copyright Jean Patou

Jean Patou Sketches

Copyright Jean Patou

Jean Patou Sketches

Copyright Jean Patou

Jean Patou Sketches

Copyright Jean Patou

Copyright Jean Patou

Copyright Jean Patou