Pariws: Maison Sedille - Euc. Unsworth. 1888. A splendidly lavish collection of 520 Art Nouveau-Belle Époque fabric sample swatches including lace, embroidery,brocade, Passementerie, etc. laid-down upon 98 Large Folio pages. Sample sizes range from 500mm x 190mm to 100mm x 70mm (19" x 7" - 4" x 3"). 98pps. Large Folio. 14" x 21" (357mm x 533mm) Bound in cloth covered boards. Large gilt-ruled title label to spine.
Art Nouveau design penetrated into all types of modern, luxury European decorative arts. Its undulating vegetal curves and graceful floral swirls were also a design gift to the Parisian couturiers and until about 1908 or 1909 art nouveau style was energetically appropriated for seasonal, high-fashion use. Women's fashion featured tightly fitting bodices with very narrow sleeves and high necklines, often trimmed at the wrists with white frills or lace. At the beginning of the 1880's the emphasis was at the back of the skirt, featuring ruching, flouncing, and embellishments such as bows and thick, rich fabrics and trims. The middle of the decade saw a brief revival of the bustle, which was so exaggerated that the derriere protruded horizontally from the small of the back. By the end of the decade the bustle disappeared. Hair was worn in tight, close curls on the top of the head. Hats and caps were correspondingly small and neat, to fit on top of the hairstyle.
Evening garments were the most lavishly attuned to art nouveau. Couturiers swathed their evening wear with a profusion of silk brocade, appliqué, embroidery, and lace. From neckline to hem, the designers played art nouveau swirls around the voluptuousness of the fashionable figure, which itself was curvaceously shaped by "S"-bend corsets. Even tailored woolen walking costumes were trimmed with swirlings of appliqué. By 1907-1909, the style's popularity had waned, replaced by a more upright figure styled with a geometric simplicity drawn from the Vienna Werkstatte.Unrivaled elsewhere in the Western world, Paris couturiers dressed the women of international royal courts and high society including in Japan and tsarist Russia, the wives of the wealthiest international plutocrats, and the great actresses of the Paris stage. Commercial clients already included the grandest department stores at an international level.
The art nouveau "look" was at the cutting edge of modern style. Only the most fashionable wore it in its fullest manifestation, while others preferred moderated versions. These styles were spread internationally through fashion journals, such as Les Modes and down through middle-class oriented magazines such as The Ladies Field and La Mode illustrée.
Hinges split and loosened along gutter cloth but still attached (Front board more tender than Rear board which is ver well attached. Remnants stubs of ribbon ties to ftont edge. Usual rubbing and wear to covers. Corners bumped. Usual scattered toning, marginal chips and tears to pages throughout. Fabric swatches in beautiful condition, with only very few presenting noticeable damage beyond ususal creases and folds from weight of the pages. Considering this was a working catalogue , a lovely collection cased in a somewhat delicate binding.