Madeleine Chéruit: Fashion in the Early 20th Century

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In her generation, Madeleine Chéruit was unmistakably a huge fashion influence.  In France, Chéruit was one of the first women ever to control a major fashion house.  Today, she is best remembered for a series of portraits of her which were painted by Paul César Helleu, but her greatest contributions were to the world was fashion.

Madeleine was born on June 9th, 1866.  Vogue described her as “a Louis XVI woman…[with the] daintiness, the extravagant tastes, the exquisite charm, and the art of those French ladies who went gaily through the pre-revolution epoch.”

Because Madeleine’s mother was a seamstress, she received training in the fashion industry early.  She worked for Raudnitz & Cie, a fashion house in the heart of Paris.  She continued to ascend in the rankings of the firm due to her unmistakable talent.  Things began to turn around for her when she married Prosper Chéruit, a wealthy man who supported her creativity and helped her launch her label.

In 1906, the fashion house was given to Madeleine who renamed it “Chéruit”.  Her success came soon after that; Chéruit was one of the most well known and celebrated designers in Paris by 1910.  Her style was notably traditional, with soft feminine fabrics, pastel colors and embroideries.  While she utilized designs which had come before her, her work had an innovative edge that helped her stand out.  She was most famous for her evening dresses and afternoon gowns.

Her house of fashion continued with its success, moving towards the territory of the flapper style of the Jazz Age.  Designer Elsa Schiaparelli, another famous fashion figure, eventually took over the house of fashion with its 98-room salon and numerous work studios.  Chéruit passed away in 1955 as an unmistakable influence on French fashion and beyond.

Author: Victoria Hewlett

Victoria is a community college student, blogger and freelance writer from the mountains of Northeast Tennessee, USA. She owns and is the sole writer for a website she started in May 2015: ProgressiveMentality.com. She is in the process of completing an Associate’s Degree in Sociology and Public Speaking. On top of her work as a freelancer and student, Victoria performs many leadership roles at her school, including being a Regional Vice President of the international honors society for two-year schools, Phi Theta Kappa. She serves on her student government, and has served as a Representative at the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature. She believes the world is on a route of social change and wishes to work throughout her life to be a part of it. Her first love is writing, however she also hopes to be a leader in the effort for progressive political change in her community.

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