#2396 $1,800Paquin velvet evening cape, 1920s
The Maison Paquin, founded in 1890, maintained its reputation for creative design up to the early 1930s when Madame Paquin retired. The cape was produced when Mademoiselle Madeleine was head designer under the watchful eye of Madame Paquin.
A black silk velvet evening cape with white ermine trim was a fashion classic produced by top couture houses in the 1920s. I have had examples by Vionnet and Lanvin. When I compare them all, I marvel that the great couturiers turned a standard form into a unique expression of costume art.
The layered cape has an attached upper shoulder cape with rows of ruffles across the back. The shoulder cape creates the illusion of sleeves, but there are no armholes. Our clutch-style cape has no closures and is lined with black silk crepe.
Following the lead of Charles Frederic Worth, early 20th century couturiers shed their identity as tradesmen and came to be regarded as artists. After Worth in the pantheon of fashion came Jacques Doucet and then Madame Paquin.
Madame Paquin was appointed President of the Fashion Section of Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. She received the Legion d’Honneur in 1913. She possessed an originality and flair for glamorous, romantic clothing.
The cape illustrates the principle that couture functions as both temporal art (music) and instantaneous art (painting). Like the former, a couture masterpiece creates its effect over time as the wearer makes her entrance, gracing the room with her decorative presence. Like painting, couture also has an instantaneous (yet permanent) effect on the first time viewer.
The condition is excellent.
It measures: 50" bust and waist, 60" hip, and 38" from shoulder to hem.