Art, opera, literature, writing, history of dress, interiors, travel, Paris . . . and more. By Susie Ralph.

About Me

Lecturer in the history and theory of dress, freelance designer/maker and avid traveller. Obsessively curious, I will always click that link or explore that overgrown path. One time fashion designer with a collection of fabric, trimmings and sewing machines that fills an entire room, my loves include: fabric, books, writing, travel, maps, untamed landscapes, abandoned places, rococo palaces, peeling paint, grottos – anything beautiful or curious that stirs my imagination – not least exploring Paris.

10 Comments

  1. Thank you for this site-it’s really wonderful! A friend (Mindell Dubansky) posted your page on FB. Best-Miriam Schaer

  2. Mane

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Your website is very interesting.
    Nice to meet you.

    Mane Abrahamyan- Artist, Designer, Art Historian

  3. corinne S.

    Hello Mrs Ralph,
    I watched your two online presentations in Florence and Paris about Margaine -Lacroix, and found them very interesting.
    Since your last lecture in Paris, have you finally found a robe Sylphide in a museum or a private collection ?

    Best regards,

    Corinne S.

    • Hello Corinne,
      Thank you for your interest! No, sadly I have not located a robe-sylphide yet. I think that one of the garments in the collection of the Musée des arts décoratifs might possibly be a sylphide, but as yet I have been unable to view it, as it is difficult to get permission to view objects which are in storage there.

      Kind regards
      Susie

  4. Jane M Kieffer Rath

    Does anyone know the names of the women Margaine-Lacroix sent to Longchamp to model her robe-sylphides?

    • One was called Möina – she was Margaine-Lacroix’s most famous mannequin, and appears in many photos of her dresses. The others I do not know.

  5. I am fascinated by what you’ve written on Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix- it’s an amazing story. My initial question in regard to surviving extant sylphide dresses appears to have been answered above but I just want say that I would love to be able to examine an original in that I’m interested in the knit silk fabric- it seems to be an early form of Lycra. It’s an interesting alternative to the corset. It’s too bad that she’s been overshadowed by Poiret et al. I look forward to more.

    • Thank you for your interest. I myself would love to track down an original robe-sylphide! There is quite a lot of press coverage in the early 1900s of corsets made from knitted silk. http://www.gjenvick.com/Fashions/1900-11-DressFashionsAndGossipInParis.html#axzz4TYnevFSY gives an account of the “cuirasse Américaine” in 1900:
      “The most popular corset at present in Paris is known as the cuirasse Américaine. It is knitted by hand of heavy knitting silk, and is made without bones and with only two steels on each side beside those in the front and back, which are sixteen inches long; the corset itself is nineteen inches long and presents the appearance of a cuirass when laced ; it binds the hips and leaves the chest free, giving a straight line in front and a slightly carved line in the back at the waist.”

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