Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Art Nouveau designers: Worth

Last week we looked at Poiret, the Art Nouveau period designer who catered to the outré, the avante garde, and the forward thinker. This week we look at the designer who was worn by the conservative, the classic, and the supremely elite of the time.

Charles Frederick Worth first made his name as a designer in the 1850s and 1860s, but his fame and taste were such that his creations were the pinnacle of desire for any debutant or Victorian fashionista for decades. He was the father of Haute Couture, and is credited with creating the idea of a couturier - a fashion artist rather than a mere dressmaker.

Worth passed his business on to his sons in the 1880s and 1890s, and while his reputation outlived him for a few years, by the 1910s Worth dresses began to be considered the safe option, rather than the latest word in fashion.

That said, the last flickering gasps of Worth's brilliance and did inspire a number of superbly art nouveau influenced gowns.

Classic Worth designs of the 1890s: extravagant fabrics and trims, superb shaping, and striking patterning.

A Worth design from a magazine of the 1890s

Art Nouveau swirls woven en disposition on a ca 1900 Worth evening gown.

Large scale Art Nouveau flowers on a ca 1903 Worth gown

1912 Worth glamour

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