When people think of fashion, they think of France and Paris in particular. However, while Pars may have reigned as the fashion center of the Western world during the 19th and early 20th Centuries, the designers themselves were not necessarily French. Of these designers, Charles Worth is probably the most well-known of these non-French designers and his influence on fashion was undeniable.
One “foreign” designer who is not so well-known was Gustave Beer. Gustave (or Gustav, spellings vary) Beer was born in Germany about 1875 and first established himself as a designer in Vienna. Later, he relocated to Paris where he opened a fashion house in 1905.1The only book-length study of Gustave Beer is in French by Mathilde Héliot, La maison de couture Beer, 2 tomes, thèse en Sorbonne, 2016. Beer’s approach tended to be conservative, emphasizing exquisite construction and fine materials over daring designs.
Below are just a few examples:
Moving a bit later:
And a few detail pictures:
Unfortunately, the years have not been kind to this dress and there’s serious deterioration, especially in the interior:
Below is an ensemble c. 1905 consisting of skirt and two bodices allowing a quick change from day to evening dress:
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot out there about Beer but from what I’ve gathered, his fashion house continued until 1929 when it merged with the House of Drecoll to exist as Drecoll-Beer. Subsequently, Drecoll-Beer merged with the House of Agnes in 1931 and the Beer name dropped.
We’ll be doing some more on Beer in the future as we unearth further information. 🙂