Saturday, December 7, 2013

Jacques Fath - Couture Marvel (Image Heavy)

Where to begin with Jacques Fath?   He was a sublime artist and above all followed his inspirational dreams.  You can very much see and feel his passion for the art of design in his pieces.   As Marlene Dietrich declared "A genius of fashion".   His untimely death is really what has left him under the radar.   But, this is relative too because when his creations do come up for auction, they can certainly command premiums inline with the other couture giants.

L'Officiel Magazine

I am very thrilled to report that I have acquired a Jacques Fath suit.  It is not a couture suit with a made in France label.   However, this suit still has historical significance to me and is still quite rare to find.  I really wanted to spend time researching more about his life and understanding some of his design elements so this is why I wanted to split out my blog entries into two posts.  This post explores who Jacques Fath was and some of his wondrous creations.  In my next post, I'll share images of the grand suit I acquired.

 There are books and books on Dior but I was only able to locate one book dedicated to Jacques Fath (Jacques Fath by Savignon).  There maybe other books out in foreign markets.  There was a documentary made on his life called "Les Folies Des Fath".   I'd love to see this but I'm unable to see any copies floating about.

Jacques Fath was born in 1912 and died in 1954.  He began his career as a bookkeeper, mainly to please his father, but eventually (fate driven)  followed his true passion into fashion.  Fath was drafted into the French Army in 1939 and was taken prisoner by German forces in 1940.   After Paris was liberated in 1944, he set up shop again.  His first collection appeared in 1937, when he was 25 years old.  He was a self taught designer.   Givenchy was a Fath assistant in 1945.  At his height, he employed over 600 people.  He treated the people around him with kindness and was a friend to a lot of  his employees.  Over 4,000 people attended his funeral.  After Fath died, the company continued on for a few years but eventually just produced perfumes, gloves, hosiery, and other accessories.   The company was relaunched again in 1992 and this is why you will see the label in today's fashion world.

He is considered one of the three top French post-war haute couture influences along side Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain.  He was just beginning to take America by storm when he died of leukemia  at the age of 42.  You can scarcely get through the pages of Vogue and Bazaar in the early 50s without seeing the wonders of Jacques Fath glamour.

In 1948, Fath secured a deal with Joseph Halpert to bring ready-to-wear collections to the US market.  He also entered into another agreement with Schindelheim-Lupia (for US market).  There is little I can find with this design arrangement.  They were a husband and wife team based out of New York.   He really was working a lot on expansion ideas before his untimely death.

Jacques Fath was married to his muse and model Genevieve Boucher, who also kept the company going for a couple years after his death.  It is difficult to find information on Genevieve.  They also had a son.  A very beautiful lady.

-Jacques Fath and his wife Genevieve.

"Fath! His name evoked visions of faille, of silk, of an enchanted mix of all the sequins and hopes of the 1950s.  Jacques Fath!"  What made him unique was that the man "was as alluring as his collection." - Savignon

Photograph by Nina Lee (Fath's wife) New York 1948 Source

"If Dior and Balenciaga were known for the architectural beauty of their designs, Fath's style was praised for its glamour and vivacity.  He often used diagonal lines, asymmetrical drapery, and floating panels to give a sense of movement."  - Fashion Encyclopedia

"The connection between the man and his art was seamless; the designer was both the essence and the creation.  Together, Fath and his dresses trumpeted a groundbreaking manifesto of modernity and true glamour-dazzling, provocative, and intrinsically Parisian." - Savignon

Jacques Fath Gown Source

Jacques Fath day suit 1950's, Made In France label, sold for $3,883 in 2003

Jacques Fath image via Couture Allure

Jacques Fath Dress 1954

Famous photograph by Walde Huth, Jacques Fath

"Shortly before his premature death at the age of 42, Fath- to the snobbish horror of many in the haute couture establishment - began offering affordable chic to Parisian women, too" -Voguepedia Jacques Fath

Images below from L'Officiel magazines from 1950-1955:

YouTube video of Jacques Fath creations from 1954:

Jacques Fath 1955


Jacques Fath 1954, really interesting with polka dot stockings and a funny sunglass hat.

Have you overdosed on glamour yet?


Jacques Fath 1956 (color) just awesome!  For some odd reason, I couldn't get the link up through Blogger.  But, it is certainly worth the look to see Jacques Fath in color as it was.


  1. Thank you for the wonderful info and picture - and I cannot wait to see pictures of your new suit! Lucky girl!

  2. Love your new header!

    I'm in love with all the full skirts outfits, esp the black lace one.


  3. Fabulous fashion, I love vintage style. Beautiful pictures!

  4. Gorgeous outfits, love the pink cape and dress. Interesting to read about this designer.

  5. This post is one to bookmark and read through multiple times. Excellently researched and written, I love how much more I now know about Fath because of it. You're made an even bigger fan of him and his work out me now, dear Joanna.

    ♥ Jessica

  6. Oh, my gosh! I never heard of Fath before but I love these designs. Thank you for introducing me to his work.

  7. How splendid that you have gotten one of his suits! Cant wait to see it!!!

  8. Thank you all for reading my ramblings on Jacques Fath. He just had an incredible spirit and his designs are marvels.

  9. I love Jacques FATH, his designs were so beautiful!
    I have a book written about 15 years ago about his life and his collections, so much amazing pictures! There is also a book about Stella his favorite model in the 50's, also really nice, don't know if there is an English version!

    1. I'm with you on this boat Laurence. Have you encountered any of his creations in person being that you are in France? I'd really love to learn more about his life. In addition to being a wonderful artist, he seemed like a genuinely nice man.

  10. I have heard of this fantastic designer before, but have seen very little of him in vintage shops as you have of Chanel or Dior. I'm glad you chose to feature him here!

  11. How exciting for you!!! His pieces are gorgeous (as was his wife! wow!).

  12. hay alguna web donde pueda ver el documental?