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Evening dress

Designer Lucien Lelong French

Not on view

Lucien Lelong never formally studied fashion, instead earning a business degree at the École des Hautes Études Commerciales in Paris. He was, however, raised in a couture environment. The modest house of A.E. Lelong was operated by his parents, Éléonore Marie Lambelet and Arthur Camille Joseph Lelong, from the late nineteenth century until 1920 when he took over creative direction, renaming the establishment after himself the following year. This graceful dress of lightweight organdy from spring/summer 1938 speaks to the feminine elegance that the house came to embody under Lelong’s watchful oversight. Each delicate stem of roses consists of an appliqué of ivory and green silk mousseline that has been outlined in a subtle flourish of coordinating bugle beads. Although Lelong’s contributions to fashion were steady from throughout the 1920s to the closure of his house in 1948, perhaps his most significant legacy is in his role as chairman of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. He was unanimously elected to this important post in 1937 and served in the position through 1945, successfully guiding the French couture industry through an incredibly difficult period that included the German occupation of Paris during WWII.

Evening dress, Lucien Lelong (French, 1889–1958), silk, glass, French

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© 2019 Nicholas Alan Cope