Woman's Dinner Dress: Bodice and Skirt
Designed by Gustave Beer, French (born Germany), active 1905 - 1929. Worn by Mrs. Eugene Griffin (Almira Russell Hancock), American.
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Gustave Beer was regarded as one of the most expensive dressmakers in Paris. His clients included European royalty, from Empress Frederick of Germany to the Queen of Portugal. Like many of his contemporaries, Beer frequented the Bibliothèque nationale de France for inspiration. He was particularly taken with prints depicting fashions from the time of Louis XVI (1774-92), which he adapted for modern taste as seen in this example. The bodice on this reception dress is a style Beer introduced in 1902. The short, loose front, a modern variation on the eighteenth-century caraco jacket, sets off a profusion of hand-painted and embroidered lace, a signature feature of the designer. Beer's "Palace of Fashion" was heralded for its innovative stage illuminated by electric lights, which allowed clients to better judge the effect of light on their gowns. This showy gown was worn by Mrs. Eugene Griffin, whose husband was the first vice president and general sales manager of the General Electric Company of America.