Emile Pingat

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Emile Pingat, a designer who was well known in the mid to late Nineteenth Centuries but is relatively unknown today. Active at the same as the Charles Frederick Worth, Emile Pingat (1820 – 1901) was considered to be Worth’s equal in the Paris Fashion world. Unfortunately, not a lot is known about Pingat except that he was active between 1860 and 1896 and often referred to in the press along with Worth.

It is said that Pingat’s speciality was outwear such as coats and mantels but judging from his body of work that is still extant, it would appear that he was also equally as talented when it came to dresses and gowns and was Worth’s equal. Below are some examples starting with outerwear:

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Emile Pingat, Cape, c. 1895; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.485)

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View of the cape flattened.

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The Label

The above cape utilizes black beadwork embroidery mounted on a series of alternating flat and pleated wool panels. The cape is immaculately tailored and the peach color harmonizes with the black embroidery and trim.

Below is another example:

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Emile Pingat, Mantle, c. 1885; Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) Museum; (2007.905.1)

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Side View

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Rear View

The above is a mantle from circa 1885. The front is shorter than the front in order to accommodate the bustle. Also, throughout the mantle, one can see highly complex patterns of beaded embroidery and trim. The fashion fabric itself is fairly restrained and from both of the above examples, the fabric is simply a background for the elaborate embroidery and beadwork.

Now we turn to some other types of garments:

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Emile Pingat, Dinner Dress, 1878; Chicago History Museum (1976.270.1a-b)

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Side Profile

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Rear View

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Sleeve Detail

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Hem Detail.

The above dinner dress was purchased by Mrs. Augustus Newland Eddy (nee Abby Louise Spencer) when she was in Paris with her father in 1878. Mrs. Eddy married Augustus Newland Eddy in Chicago in 1872 and she later died on January 2, 1909 in Chicago. Below is a portrait of her wearing the dress which she referred to as her “party dress”:

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Mrs. Augustus Newland Eddy with husband and child, c. 1878.

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Mrs. Augustus Newland Eddy

Here are some more examples of Pingat’s designs:

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Emile Pingat, Dinner Dress, c. 1883 – 1885; Smith College Historic Clothing Collection (1989.1.3ab)

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The above dinner dress is definitely out of the mid-1880s and here one can see that the bodice has retreated above the hips. However, there is not much of a train and the bustle is relative restrained. The blue silk fabrics are rich and deep-hued while at the same time, the white accents along the base of the bodice, rear tails, and skirt hem provide a stark contrast that serves to lighten the dress’ appearance.

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Pingat, Promenade Dress, 1888; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.7758a, b)

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Left Side Profile- Unfortunately, the photography does not do justice to the dress.

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The above promenade dress is striking in that Pingat drew inspiration from the late 17th and early 18th Centuries by creating the bodice as a Justaucorps, with a faux waistcoat set underneath (at least it appears to be a faux waistcoat from the photos). For comparison, below is an example of a Justaucorps worn by Peter the Great, circa 1727 – 1730: 1727-1730 French Coat and waistcoat worn by Tsar Peter II at the Moscow Kremlin Museums -

Finally, we come to what must be thepièce de résistance or close to it:

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Pingat, Evening Jacket, 1893; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.139)

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Rear View

The details of this jacket are almost unsurpassed and combine embroidery and feathers to create its effect. Below are some pictures of the jacket being worn with a dress:

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In examining the above coat, one can see elements of the 18th Century waistcoat style mixed in with elements found in a 16th Century Schaube coat.

The examples shown above and in the previous post reveal the range of Pingat and clearly demonstrate that his designs were easily the equal to Worth’s. In some regards, it could be argued that Pingat’s were superior in that Pingat was far more disciplined in that every element, whether fabric, trim, or color, were used to created an integrated whole. All the elements of Pingat’s designs had a specific purpose rather than simply being added on willy-nilly. Pingat’s legacy has been greatly underappreciated but I hope that this situation will be reversed in the near future.

2 thoughts on “Emile Pingat

  1. Pingback: Lily Absinthe At The FIDM Museum | Lily Absinthe

  2. Pingback: A Portrait of Emile Pingat | Lily Absinthe

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