On the heels of Theatre a la Mode, the exhibition of fashio dolls that toured England and America dressed in contemporary fashions in 1945/46, this follow-up exhibition of historic styles was launched in 1949. 

 

The illustrations for this book are drawn from the gift collection of 49 mannequin dolls created by the Syndicat de la Couture de Paris. The dolls are fashioned of wire, stand 2 1/2 feet tall and are costumed to interpret the spirit of the periods selected by each designer. They portray the character and stylistic changes in French Fashions from 1715 to 1906. Photographs are by T. Anthony Caruso of the Brooklyn Musuem.The dolls were part of the Gratitude Train exhibit sent in 1949 to the people of the United Sates by the people of France as a token of their appreciation of American assistance. Originally a doll was intended for each of the 48 States and the District of Columbia, but, as this seemed impractical and in order to keep the collection intact, the committee decided that they be permanently added to the vast costume collection of the Brooklyn Museum.Cooperating with the French Dressmakers (La Haute Couture) in the preparation of the mannequins by donation the fabrics, were the Union des Industries Textiles, Federation de la Soirie, the Comite Central de la Laine, the Syndicat General de l'Industrie Cotonniere and the Negociants en tissue speciaux pour la Haute Couture.

 

The dolls form a valuable record of costume and dressmaking artistry, and are a unique document in the history of French fashion.

Two Centuries of French Fashion exhibition catalogue (1949)

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