Anny Blat

We are in the last months of 1944. France still pursued her fight east of the country but the will to be reborn was here. And Paris, capital of the taste and the fashion set up this magnificent mad project:



Conceived to restore life in the work of the artists, the creators, the artisans, the success of the undertaking was immense! The big gallery of Marsan's pavilion, Palais du Louvre, welcomed from March 27, 1945, and for about two months, 150 dolls-models for an event stayed in annals in spite of hardships, of rationing, terrible difficulties which knew all our country, the Parisian in particular.


This prestigious operation,completely exemplary, taken in hand by Christian Bérard its artistic director, had at first the big merit " to brew the child prodigies of two post-war years. Very big names of the dance, the art, the literature, the painting or the drawing, the sewing, united to promote event to the Top of the current events of time, alliance which gave birth with grace and poetry to a symbol of hope and flourish "



Heim « Jeunes Filles »

The " Entraide Française " which helped the war victims had the idea to ask the Employers' federation of the High French Sewing chaired by Lucien Lelong for application of a manifestation for the benefit of the most deprived.

Robert Ricci and Paul Caldaguès were designated for the operation.

It was this last one, it seems, who had the idea of "Dressed Dolls " by Fashion Houses.

The artist creator Eliane Bonabel made sketches, going away voluntarily from the toy to approach the model : figurines in wire took shape and dimension (70 cms); a refugee sculptor, Catalan origin, Rebull, was charged with the conception of heads in plaster intended to receive hairstyles and hats; the realizations, without make-up, are, really , very fine sculptures.






Lucien Lelong

The idea of the presentation in a small theater is of Robert Ricci who confided conception, realization and coordination of the set to talented Christian Bérard. Various artists built each their decorations in which the dressmakers were going to place their dressed dolls. Every house, according to the importance, undertook to produce from 1 to 5 suits!


In the beginning, figurines had to be only dressed and headed. But a competition comparable to the One that stimulated the creators of dolls France and Marianne in 1938 seized various crafts: nothing will miss them so, everything will complement itself... shoes, bags... sometimes filled up! Furs, jewels, lingerie etc. until the least detail and " notably internal finishes as well-kept as if the garment must be worn back! "

Result was magic. In the presence of the " Tout Paris ", inauguration took place on March 27, 1945 so before even the end of the war! : Imagine " Marsan's pavilion, enormous tense room of red velvet with the small theaters which were the only points of light, lenlightened with banisters of theater but anything more... " Exhibition knew such a success as it was prolonged with several weeks and related to the " Entraide Française " colossal sum for the time of 1 million francs. It is true that more than 100.000 guests were welcomed there!


Henry à La Pensée

Then exhibition was exported. At first in England in London under the name of " The Fantasy of Fashion " and welcomed 120.000 guests in the six weeks; then to Leeds, major of the textile industry in Yorkshire. Some elements left for Barcelona, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vienna during this same winter.

In front of this enormous European success, the Employers' federation of the High French Sewing decided then to send one new version in the United States with the last fashion of this year. In new models, new decorations. Inauguration on May 1-st, 1946 in New York in a magnificent particular hotel received a triumphant and deserved honoring. Then on September 12, exhibition went to San Francisco. Other cities wished also the visit of these dolls models but any site of adequate being reception -... understand there being well enough for them.. - figurines and decorations met themselves in the reserves of the big store " City of Paris ". To my knowledge, history does not say how, in 1952 , 160 of them passed from this place to the small museum of Maryhill in the state of... Washington of which they are today property and where they fell asleep moreover until 1990


Lucien Lelong « Faïence »

So they were for us a lot of honor this year, returning in Paris, to be restored, sometimes dressed again. Due to the pugnacious will of an American Madam Suzan Train whom it is necessary to honour, to the work without defect of a handle of contemporaries supernaturally found again and of V.I.P. of our time, the Theater of the Fashion refound its splendors and its coolness on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Fashion Museum installed, at its turn, in Marsan's pavilion of the Museum of the Louvre where a very beautiful honoring was tributed to it. A return at the source!


We can wonder of the dimension of this event which, put back in the context of time, can seem improper: the destitution of the French population, the drastic hardships, the draconian fixing in parallel, compared with a little bit light and apparently frivolous splendors surprises, it's true. But present resources is needed for the spirit that the fashion of Paris lived a million persons who often pulled of this activity the totality of their incomes. " It had been calculated that before the war, the export of couturier's dress allowed the purchase of 10 tons of coal, a liter of flavor 2 tons of petroleum, a bottle of champagne 3 kilos of copper. It was also the immediate powe to exchange many currencies for very few raw materials ".

If it seems proved that 160 dolls were at the inauguration of March 27, 1945, the list established in New York mentioned 228 numbers (and 9 actualy not listed and not attributed).






The big newspapers of the time which remained whom that entitled " La Haute Couture Française " ( number of July 7, 1945) spoke widely of this event of national dimension.

But Suzan Train's book entitled " The Theater of the Fashion " (Publishing Du May- 1990) resumes the historic of this unforgettable event in this war exit and redoes so the point in 1990 for the biggest pleasure of our memory and our culture.







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Tête en platre et ses « cheveux »