'Esperanto' suit, Carven

  • Carven

  • Gift of the Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt
  • Spring–Summer 1951
  • Wool alpaca by Buche, braided horsehair appliqués by Rébé
  • GAL1987.59.8
  • Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

Carven's 'Esperanto' skirt and jacket suit uses white wool alpaca by Buche and features black horsehair braid by Rébé that loops and criss-crosses. Despite its apparent simplicity of line, this is a highly structured garment intended to call attention to the upper body and waist by padding-out the basques of the jacket – a gambit straight from the iconic 'Bar' suit from the first Dior collection. Born in 1909, Madame Carven was famous for her clothes for small women; here she shows herself responsive to the times and an active contributor to the aesthetic changes of the 1950s.