Jacques Doucet, Part 2

By 1900, Doucet was established as one of the leading designers in Paris and although he was known for his use of metallic fabrics (especially gold lamé) and lace, he also was capable of a wide range of designs such as with this very practical coat and skirt set:

Walking Dress2

Doucet, Coat and Skirt Set, 1895; Victoria and Albert Museum, 1895 (T.15&A-1979)

Walking Dress6

Walking Dress5

Walking Dress4The above coat and skirt set is from 1895 and is characteristic of the “tailor made” style that was developing during the 1890s. While perhaps it is not as finely styled as similar offerings from Redfern, it’s still stands in sharp contrast to the designs that Doucet is most noted for. Both the coat and skirt are made from linen and the color appears to be a taupe (although the lighting when the pictures were taken might have had some effect). The skirt has stays in order to preserve its shape and the collar and cuffs are decorated with silk cord (it is hard to make out in the picture).

Now for a contrast, Doucet was also known for his outerwear such as this opera cape:

Opera Cape1

Jacques Doucet, Opera Cape, c. 1890; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995.177.2)


Rear View

  1995.177.2_labelHere we see a simple yet elegant design constructed of a silk brocade trimmed in fur. There is no lace or extraneous trim, the cut and the fabric speak for themselves. Often Doucet is associated only with filmy, delicate designs but here this is not the case. 🙂

Now for something just a bit more elaborate, there is this evening cape:

Jacques Doucet, Evening Cape, c. 1900 – 1905; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.128)

The camp is made from wool with silk trim and rhinestones. The use of and orange/peach color combined with a darker orange Greek key design is bold and relatively plain.The lace on both sides of the front opening and light pink sash provide an interesting counterpoint but does not detract from the overall effect.

While Doucet used a variety of colors in his designs, it seems that various shades and hues of orange and gold were his favorites:


Jacques Doucet, Ball Gown, c. 1896 – 1900; Metropolitan Museum of Art (49.3.27a, b)

Rear View

Rear View

Close-Up Of Bodice

Close-Up Of Bodice

Close-Up Of Pattern


Another Close-Up


The ball gown on a mannequin. It is probably that the dress is now too fragile to display in this manner.

The bodice and skirt are made from an orange velvet (almost sherbet-like) with the pattern on the skirt made from a combination of embroidery, beadwork, jewels, spangles and metallic braid. In the design, one can see the use of various metals to create the design. The bodice is covered at the top with a tulle that has been a design worked into it that also uses metallic embroidery, beading and jeweling. The silk flower corsage adds a final touch to the whole package.

The above is just a small sampling of Doucet’s range as a designer and with the exception of the coat and skirt suit, one can see Doucet’s preference for metallics. In the next installment, we’ll look as some of Doucet’s creations in the early 20th Century.

To Be Continued… 

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