Thursday, May 26, 2011

Callot Soeurs

I've become interested in clothing designers from days gone by, thanks to a subscription to Vogue. They always allude to the old masters when speaking of the younger generations making waves today. I found this fashion house simply enchanting - I wish I could own all of their pieces!

From Wikipedia:

Callot Soeurs (French pronunciation: [kalo sœʁ]) was a fashion design house opened in 1895 at 24, rue Taitbout in Paris, France. It was operated by the four Callot sisters: Marie Callot Gerber, Marthe Callot Bertrand, Regina Callot Tennyson-Chantrell and Joséphine Callot Crimont. The eldest sister, Marie, was trained in dressmaking and they were all taught by their mother, a lacemaker. The sisters began working with antique laces and ribbons to enhance blouses and lingerie. Their success led to an expansion into other clothing and in 1914 they moved to larger premises on the Avenue Matignon. Marie, the elder sister was in charge of design, having earlier worked for Raudnitz and Co., prominent Parisian dressmakers.
The couturier Madeleine Vionnet was apprenticed at Callot upon her return to Paris. It was here that she refined her technique in couture.
Callot Soeurs clothing was known for its exotic detail. They were among the first designers to use gold and silver lamé to make dresses. During the 1920s they were one of the leading fashion houses in Paris, catering to an exclusive clientele from across Europe and the United States.
In 1926 the American designer Elizabeth Hawes, while working in Paris, regularly wore Callot Soeurs. Hawes insisted that people should wear what they personally liked, not what was considered fashionable, and despite American buyers at that time considering Callot Soeurs' dresses out of date and unfashionable, she happily wore their "simple clothes with wonderful embroidery" that lasted her for several years.[1]
In 1928 Pierre Gerber, Marie Callot Gerber's son, took over the business but could not survive in the highly competitive market and, in 1937, the House of Callot Soeurs closed and was absorbed into the House of Calvet (Marie-Louise Calvet); under the Callot label. However, World War II made matters difficult in France. Similarly to what happened with the House of Vionnet in 1939, Calvet and the Callot label finally closed in 1952.

In 1988, rights in the Callot label were purchased by the Lummen family known to have relaunched the House of Vionnet in 1995.

Evening gown, 1921
I can picture my great-grandmother Mabel Lillian in this dress.

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