Avant la lettre

French fashion designer Pierre Balmain was born on May 18, 1913. He dropped out of his architecture studies because he spent all his time designing dresses, which fortunately led to a job with Edward Molyneux. After the war, he opened his own fashion house where he designed dresses with tiny waist and full skirts. Sounds like Dior’s New Look? It should – except it was two years before Dior! He also popularized stoles for day wear (not such a good idea) and sheath dresses with jackets (still just fine). His designs were all about elegant simplicity. He designed for Brodaway, films (including And God Created Woman, starring Brigitte Bardot, which is famous for what she isn’t wearing!). He died in 1982, but the fashion house is still going strong.

Today’s expression, avant la lettre (avah lah lettruh) literally means “before the letter” but figuratively means “ahead of one’s time” just like Balmain. He invented the classic silhouette two years before it caused an international sensation under another label.

Couture: Webster’s Timeline History, 1651 – 2007

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
This entry was posted in Fashion, People and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Avant la lettre

  1. amhjil2004 says:

    “Avant la lettre” – How interesting! I instantly thought “Dior” – but I’m very happy to be enlightened 🙂

  2. Pingback: Mettre à jour | One quality, the finest.

  3. Pingback: Marcher la tête haute | One quality, the finest.

  4. Pingback: Faire un copier-coller de | One quality, the finest.

  5. Pingback: Quand le chat n’est pas là les souris dansent | One quality, the finest.

  6. Pingback: Combler une certain manque | One quality, the finest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s