This suit, complete with jacket, bodice, skirt and belt, is an excellent example of fashionable day wear from the turn of the century. In 1905 the stylish silhouette was the S-shaped figure with full sleeves fitted at the wrists and relatively full skirts. The subdued dark brown wool of the jacket, skirt, and belt is a satin weave, creating a luxurious finish; the bodice is made from a remarkably modern looking polychrome chiffon silk.
The couture house of Beer was one of Paris's prestigious firms from around I900 until World War I. In 1905 Beer moved his business to the place Vendôme. This piece, presumably created during his first year at the new address (as the label attests), is a strong example of the German-born dressmaker's ability to create conservative yet luxurious garments for the fashionable woman.
The spiraling surface decoration on the jacket and skirt was clearly influenced by the flowing curves of Art Nouveau. The bodice textile displays elements similar to other contemporary design movements, such as the Wiener Werkstätte. The structure of this ensemble is clearly anchored in the nineteenth century, while the surface decoration and bodice textile announce the era to come.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Our New Clothes: Acquisitions of the 1990s," April 6, 1999–August 22, 1999.