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Fashion design - Avenue du Bois

Avenue du Bois

  • Object:

    Fashion design

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (designed)

  • Date:

    1951 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Claverie, Lou (designer)
    Paquin Ltd (designed for)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    ink and watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the House of Worth

  • Museum number:

    E.22841-1957

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 96, shelf D, box 18

Physical description

Fashion design for a woman's skirt suit.

Place of Origin

Paris (designed)

Date

1951 (made)

Artist/maker

Claverie, Lou (designer)
Paquin Ltd (designed for)

Materials and Techniques

ink and watercolour

Dimensions

Height: 32 cm, Width: 25.5 cm

Object history note

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 thought that they may be from Spring 1952, assuming that each season a single artist (rather than several) would have drawn up the collection for clients to look through and pick out which outfits they wished to consider purchasing. The unique nature of the drawing style enabled this group of 21 designs to be singled out and grouped together as by the same unknown hand.

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 from the earlier 50s generally.Their nipped waists, full skirts and tight pencil skirted silhouettes are more typical of a few years 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. This assumes that Spring 1951 was drawn up by the same artist, and that a different artist would have been employed to draw up a separate collection. Although Spring 1953 also appears to be missing, my feeling is that 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, the silhouettes seen here would have seemed slightly dated by late 1955, when a 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", 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, the titles 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.

Addendum: 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 their having been drawn by at least two different hands. - DMC

Descriptive line

Lou Claverie for Paquin. "Avenue du Bois". Checked skirt suit with swagger jacket and yellow blouse. Original fashion design. Paris, Spring-Summer 1951.

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

Ink; Watercolour

Techniques

Drawing

Categories

Designs; Fashion; Women's clothes; Day wear

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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