Selections From The FIDM Museum


hile the the 26th Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition at the FIDM Museum was a bit of a disappointment, there were some items in the Museum’s permanent collection that made up for it immensely. One such item was an evening gown designed by Gustave Beer circa 1912 – 1913:

Evening Gown Gustave Beer c. 1912-1913

Gustave Beer, Evening Gown, c. 1912 -1913; FIDM Museum

The gown is constructed from a gold silk charmeuse combined with a jeweled applique floral pattern. The silhouette is the loose Classic Grecian inspired nouveau directoire style with empire waist. In contrast to the tightly sculpted structural styles of the 1890s and early 1900s styles, this dress was draped, relying only on the garment itself to create its lines. While corsets are still utilized for foundation wear in 1912-13, it was now submerged, masked by the flowing lines of the dress. Here are some more views:

Evening Gown Gustave Beer c. 1912-1913

Three-Quarter Front Profile

Evening Gown Gustave Beer c. 1912-1913

Close-Up Three-Quarter Front Profile

Here we get a better look at the decoration and trim. Jeweled netting sweeps over the dress from the waist down, serving to emphasize the decorative pattern on the dress front.

Evening Gown Gustave Beer c. 1912-1913

Side Profile

This somewhat blurred picture (unfortunately, other visitors kept getting in the way) give a side view of the dress, emphasizing the slender, cylindrical silhouette of the dress while at the same time showing off the train.

Evening Gown Gustave Beer c. 1912-1913

The Train

The train itself is magnificent and it’s a piece of art in itself, serving as a canvas for an elaborate jeweled/embroidered floral pattern. The outside border is especially striking and very reminiscent of classical design motifs. This dress was a definite bright spot in our day! 🙂


Lily Absinthe Looks At Gustave Beer


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. Beer’s approach tended to be conservative, emphasizing exquisite construction and fine materials over daring designs.

Below are just a few examples:

Opera Cape1

Opera Cape, c. 1895 – 1905

Day Dress c. 1904 - 1905 Gustave Beer

Day Dress, c. 1904 – 1905; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1999.135a–e)

Day Dress c. 1904 - 1905 Gustave Beer

Some more views.

And to go with the above day dress:

Moving a bit later:

Gustave Beer Evening Dress c. 1905

Evening Dress, c. 1905

Gustave Beer Evening Dress c. 1905

And the evening gown as it was worn…

And a few detail pictures:

Gustave Beer Evening Dress c. 1905

Gustave Beer Evening Dress c. 1905

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:

Gustave Beer

Gustave Beer

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 was dropped.

We’ll be doing some more on Beer in the future as we unearth further information. 🙂