Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case 96, Shelf D, Box 18

Ou ne Badine pas avec L'Amour

Fashion Design
1951 (made)
Place Of Origin

Fashion design for a woman's evening dress.

object details
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
ink and watercolour
Brief Description
Lou Claverie for Paquin. "Ou ne Badine pas avec L'Amour". Strapless sheath evening gown, the bodice suggesting a man's shirt collar, tie and red cummerbund, very full hip peplum. Original fashion design. Paris, Spring 1951
Physical Description
Fashion design for a woman's evening dress.
  • Height: 32cm
  • Width: 25.5cm
Credit line
Given by the House of Worth
Object history
This group of designs was originally archived as being from 1955-56, which would have made them among the last designs to be created by Paquin before the house's closure. The following assessment was made by Daniel Milford-Cottam, July 2013:

"My conclusion is that this group of 21 designs drawn up by the same artist (E.22837, 22838, 22841 to 22844, 22846 to 22849, 22851 to 22853, 22855 to 22858, 22861, 22862, 22864 and 22865-1957), although dated to 1955-56, were designed slightly earlier by Lou Claverie (who worked at Paquin from 1949 to 1953) rather than Alan Graham, who designed the last few collections for Paquin before the house closed on 1 July 1956. The appointment by Paquin of a young, relatively unknown American designer, rather than someone from Europe, was seen as an unusual choice at the time. There is a precedent for the mistake - at least one group of designs originally archived as by Alan Graham from 1955-56 included a design for an unique suit photographed and published in 1951. Due to the distinctive artwork of the design, it was possible to identify a whole group of designs from Spring 1951 that had been mis-identified. This led to a closer examination of other designs linked to Alan Graham, particularly as some of the styles did not seem as up-to-date as might be expected for their associated years.

The investigation led to another group of designs (E.22792 to 22817-1957) identified as probably from Autumn-Winter 1951-52 or Spring 1952, rather than the original dating of 1954-55. Given how neatly these 21 designs stylistically lead into the small group of 12 Paquin/Claverie designs for Autumn-Winter 1952-3, plus the lighter, more spring-like mood of the designs, I feel that they may be from Spring 1952.

Each season, the designs for that season's collection would have been drawn up by a single artist for clients to look through and pick out which outfits they wished to consider purchasing. The unique nature of the drawing style, by an unknown artist, has enabled this group of 21 designs to be singled out and grouped together.

They were originally archived as from 1955-56. However, the group of Alan Graham designs linked to Autumn-Winter 1953-4 show a fashionable straighter, slimmer silhouette, and the designs in this group show a closer kinship with Claverie's designs for Autumn-Winter 1952-3. Their nipped waists, full skirts and tight pencil skirted silhouettes are more typical of a year or two previously. While this will need further research to try and verify, my feeling is that these 21 designs are probably from the Spring 1952 collection, which previously appeared to be missing from the earlier collection chronology. Although Spring 1953 also appears to be missing, I suspect these designs date from Spring 1952.

Claverie's design vocabulary included cleverly cut swing coats which were often intricately seamed with unusual shoulder-and-sleeve constructions. Although coats were less in demand for spring-summer collections, the three coats included in this group feature such details. While it is possible that Alan Graham continued designing such coats, their silhouettes would have seemed slightly dated by late 1955, when a more simplified, straighter-cut silhouette was fashionable. The dresses, coats and suits designed by Alan Graham for Autumn-Winter 1953-4 are significantly simpler and more straightforward in their design, which contrasts with the elaborate detailing and complexity in many of these outfits. Such detail is more typical of Parisian than American fashion design.

Another Claverie trademark was the wittty, bilingual names of many of his designs, including "Sex Appeal" (for a mid-1950 evening gown), "Chi-Chi," "Gossip", "George Sand", and "Enfant Gâté". Some of the designs in this group have names such as "La voyageuse inattendue," "Week end," "L'Ingénue Libertine" and "Au Son Du Cor" ("The Sound of the Horn," for a fox-hunting-inspired suit), which are definitely in the Claverie vein. Although Alan Graham's first collection for Autumn-Winter 1953-4 also included named designs, they are in a more direct vein, such as "Dagobert," "Hector," and "Dinah".

Taking all this into consideration, I feel reasonably confident in re-attributing these 21 designs to Lou Claverie, and very probably from Spring 1952."

- Daniel Milford-Cottam, 29 July 2013.

NB: On 31 July 2013, Dominique Sirop clarified that this group of designs, and indeed, the whole range of numbers E.22818 to 22872, were all part of the Spring 1951 collection, despite the differences in the art style. - DMC.
Bibliographic Reference
Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings Accessions 1957-1958 London: HMSO, 1964
Accession Number

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record createdJune 30, 2009
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