|Edward Steichen ca.1920, The Flapper Girl|
|Staff of the Boué Soeurs Headquarter Store in Paris, 1908|
Read more about the sisters at A Most Beguiling Accomplishment
|Girl's Dress - 1924-25|
In New York, the label flourished despite some setbacks. In 1916, the sisters ran into some trouble with U.S. Customs & Immigration after importing a large number of dresses without paying the required taxes and attempting to bring French workers into the United States without proper identification. By July of that same year the charges were dropped after the sisters agreed to pay a $2500 fine and spend 24 hours in jail. Officials decided that an empty office was sufficiently jail-like for the sisters to spend their brief incarceration.
|Immigration records for Ellis Island show both Sylvie and|
Jeanne travelling to America on more than one occasion in
1916 aboard the SS Rochambeau -
here's an article about a jewel heist aboard the ship in 1915.
|Portrait of Baronne Jeanne d'Etreillis and her|
children, published in Les Modes in 1913
|Model Helen Lyons wearing a dress and cape by |
Boué Soeurs, photo by Baron Adolf de Meyer
|Patent for a jacket, Boué Soeurs, 1923|
|Boué Soeurs Muff|
|1915-1925 MET Museum|
|1925 - MET Museum|
|1927 Wedding Dress - MET Museum|
The Boué Souers New York store was the first French haute couture store in the city and besides reaping the benefits of their unique design aesthetic, the sisters also took advantage of a particular niche in the U.S. market - lingerie. The New York branch made it easy for wealthy American women to purchase the much coveted styles of French lingerie. Only recently had stiff corsets been banished for the soft lines and comfort of brassieres (patented by an American woman), silk slips and knickers. Lingerie was just another one of the new fashion experiments of the roaring 20's and the Boué sisters were determined to bring their aesthetic to underclothes as well as evening gowns.
|Camisole - early 1920's - MET museum|
Below, left to right: pajamas - 1928, lingerie - 1927, negligée - 1929, MET
|Tap Pants and Brassiere by Boué Soeurs, 1920's, Vintage Textiles|
Read about "tap pants"courtesy of The Dreamstress
As the 1920's passed by, Boué Soeurs altered styles to fit the prevailing modes while still maintaining their signature romantic aesthetic It seems as they moved into the 1930's the heyday of the brand remained in the previous decade. During the years of World War II the sisters closed the Paris branch, but kept the New York shop open. By this time their branch stores in other cities across the globe had closed or were on the brink of quitting business. In 1948, the sisters made a valiant effort to reopen the flagship Paris store, but it never regained its former glory and when the creative genius of Sylvie Montégut passed away in 1953, the gold shop letters were taken down for good. Jeanne maintained the New York store for another three years until illness forced her to close down for good, three months later she died at the age of 81 of congestive heart failure. Those last fading years of the Boué Soeurs label saw their clientele aging just as the brand's creators...the last dying embers of the New York shop was kept alive by a handful of loyal customers who couldn't let go of their beloved couture brand. The "breath of life and form of beauty" created by Sylvie and Jeanne in their unique designs could not live without them and with the death of the Boué sisters came the death of the beautifully artistic, romantic and ethereal label that shared their name and their life.
|Advertisements from Theatre Magazine 1921|
|Court Presentation Dress (Robe de Style- check out a FIDM blog post about this unique 1920's style here) - 1932 to 34 - MET Museum|
|Court Presentation Ensemble (Robe de Style) - 1928 - MET Museum|
|Detail of train - Court Presentation Ensemble - 1928 - MET Museum|