This original, illustrated monograph recounts haute couture designer Jean Patou's charmed life and career during the apex of twentieth-century glamour, and is drawn from extensive research into previously unpublished family archives. During the 1920s and 1930s, the French couturier Jean Patou was Chanel's main rival: day pyjamas, jersey sportswear, swimwear, and the little black dress were all among the innovative designs marking Patou's relatively brief career as the king of Parisian fashion. He died at the age of 49 in 1936, having had only fifteen years to make his mark on the history of couture. Yet in that short time this handsome ladies' man made a colossal fortune, employed 1,200 people in his shops and studios in Paris, Deauville, Biarritz, and New York, and invented some of the world's legendary fragrances - Joy and Que Sais-je among others - only to die alone and ruined in his hotel room the Hotel Georges V in Paris where he lived to escape creditors. This book recounts the story of Patou's charmed life and career during the most glamorous years of the twentieth century.
For the first time, the heirs of the Patou family have agreed to open their extensive private archives to a researcher. The author, historian Emmanuelle Polle, spent more than two years opening box after box to choose from thousands of unpublished documents: photographs, diaries, client lists, and original, hand-colored sketches. The photographs of fashion designs, original fabrics, art deco furniture, perfume bottles, and vintage clothing photographed especially for this volume, alongside vintage prints by major names in fashion photography (Baron de Meyer, Laure Albin Guillot, or the Seeberger brothers)-retrace the universe of the remarkable aesthete and adept of a certain minimalism that was Jean Patou. This book will be an essential reference for anyone interested in the history of fashion and of the greatest years of Parisian style.