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Fashion design

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (designed)

  • Date:

    late 1920s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jean-Charles Worth (designer)
    Worth (designed for)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    bodycolour, pen and ink and pencil.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the House of Worth

  • Museum number:

    E.22977-1957

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 96, shelf D, box 19

This is one of a small group of five fashion designs submitted to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium (1876-1965, reigned 1909-34) by Jean-Charles Worth in the late 1920s. They would have been sent through the mail to the Queen for her to look through and choose which dresses, if any, she might wish to have made up for her by Worth. At this time, Elisabeth would have been in her 50s, but these designs show that she was still a very elegant, fashion-conscious woman who felt free to dress smartly in up-to-date styles, unlike her contemporary, Queen Mary of the United Kingdom whose husband, George V, insisted his wife wear long coats and dresses and toque hats that were last fashionable in the early 1910s.

The House of Worth, founded in Paris in the 1850s by Charles Frederick Worth and Otto Bobergh, quickly came to the attention of Empress Eugenie of France, and subsequently became one of the couturiers of choice of royalty across Europe, dressing the crowned heads of Norway, Italy, Denmark, Russia and Spain as well as Belgium. After Worth died in 1895, his son, Jean-Philippe, became designer. After the 1910s, Jean-Philippe appointed his nephew, Jean-Charles to succeed him as designer, and in the mid-1930s, his son Roger Worth, Charles' great-grandson, took over as designer. Roger's brother, Maurice, was the last designer for Worth in the early 1950s before the Paris house of Worth was bought out by Paquin in 1953. Paquin closed in 1956, donating a wide range of fashion plates and designs from their archives and reference collections to the Victoria & Albert Museum. The London house of Worth was originally a branch from the Paris house that opened in 1911. In 1936, the London fashion house Reville-Terry took over the branch and renamed it "Worth London", with Elspeth Champcommunal as head designer. From that point, until its closure in 1967, Worth London was a completely separate business to Worth Paris.

Physical description

Design for a dress for Elisabeth, Queen of Belgium

Place of Origin

Paris (designed)

Date

late 1920s (made)

Artist/maker

Jean-Charles Worth (designer)
Worth (designed for)

Materials and Techniques

bodycolour, pen and ink and pencil.

Dimensions

Height: 39 cm, Width: 29 cm

Descriptive line

Jean-Charles Worth. Design for a dark plum and gold day dress for Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, with fabric swatches. French, late 1920s.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings Accessions 1957-1958 London: HMSO, 1964

Materials

Pen and ink and watercolour; Pencil

Techniques

Watercolour drawing

Categories

Designs; Fashion; Women's clothes; Royalty

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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