This is a two-page spread on the latest Paris Fashions of 1926. Coverage of the Couture collections was a regular feature in The Delineator in the 1920s; Butterick Publishing maintained an office in Paris, and used several sketch artists, including Soulié, who also worked for L’Art et la Mode. These illustrations are signed Lages. The designers featured in the article are Paul Poiret, Lucien Lelong, Louiseboulanger, and Molyneux. [Louiseboulanger is always written as one word.] The gowns pictured on these two pages could be purchased in New York: “Models on these two pages imported by Mary Walls.” Mary Walls’ shop was located in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Page 40: “French Designs for the American Season”
Left: “An evening frock from Paul Poiret is an uneven swirl of black velvet below a sequinned bodice on which multicolored flowers are worked in brilliant shades of rose and blue and green. Ends of Chartreuse velvet fall from the bows at the hip and the hem is faced with silver ribbon. The Gothic outline of the décolletage is new and interesting.”
Right: “In a hostess gown designed by Lucien Lelong, arabesques of gold and silver trace a gorgeous pattern on the transparent tissue of the body. The narrow skirt of black chiffon velvet opens over a panel of gold lamé, and gold and silver ribbon square the hanging sleeve and outline the deep V of the neck. The Parisienne wears a gown of this type at home and for informal dinners.”
Left: “Body and sleeve merge into one in the medieval cut of ‘Christmas’, an evening wrap of black chiffon velvet faced with white velvet and trimmed on the collar, sleeves and scarf with clipped white cony [rabbit.] Furs, shaved or clipped to absolute flatness are new, velvet is smart, and black, in a somewhat florid season, remains the most distinguished of colors. From Lucien Lelong.”
Page 41: “Brilliant Frocks that match a Holiday Mood”
Some 1926 dresses had asymmetrical hems, longer on one side, or some trailing fabric that dipped below the normal hemline. The descriptions below show that some thought them a precursor of lower hemlines, but in fact. skirts got even shorter in the late 1920s, before descending to new lows, along with the stock market, after 1929.
Left: “In trains many prophets see the re-entry of the long skirt and the exit of the knee-length fashion, while others find them only the charming contradiction that is so much more entertaining than the jewel of consistency. Louiseboulanger girdles the slender hips of a sheath frock of violet velvet bound with silver with a great bow of purple velvet placed over a train at the side.”
Above right: “Captain Molyneux preserves in the heart of Paris the essentially English tradition of evening magnificence. His gowns are almost invariably sheaths of classical simplicity made splendid by fabric, lace, or beads. A frock of gold, green, and red brocade is absolutely untrimmed. A brocade scarf is thrown over the head is looped at the hip and trails behind in a long and graceful train.”
Right: “Gold metallic ribbons place the waistline of a delightful frock from Louiseboulanger. The skirt is slightly gathered, slightly flared, and entirely covered with long spangles of black and gold which weight it and cause it to sway and undulate in motion. The former are used on the brief skirt, the latter suggest a hip yoke. Models on these two pages imported by Mary Walls.” [The Metropolitan Museum has a gown by Jeanne Lanvin with the label: “Mary Walls/Branch Shop/Waldorf-Astoria/South Lobby/East 45th St./New York”]