Paris: A day in the life of Madame Heugel, 1955

Posted by Laura
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(L) Mme. Philippe Heugel starts her day with the mail, the paper, the telephone. (Her pink dressing gown is from the Dessès Bazaar).  (R) Then the children - Elvire and Jèrome, twins of two-and-a-half, and Clèmence, the baby, just over a year old.


"Madame Philippe Heugel, a vivacious brunette with great dark eyes, lives with her husband and their three children in an apartment in an eighteenth-century house facing the Palais Royal gardens. (Jean Cocteau is a neighbour to the right, and, until her death last winter, Colette lived on the left). Her husband, a member of the famous music publishing house, Le Menestrel, has his offices three minutes' walk away in an amusing old building which was once the house of Simon Bolivar. Together the Heugels lead a busy life, spend three or more evenings a week at concerts, the opera, the ballet. Madame Heugel, who is also an artist, runs her house with imagination, still manages time for the personal pleasures of going to the art galleries, of special marketing, and occasional hours in the antique  shops of the Flea Market and the Left Bank."

In contrast to normal Paris Fashion Week posts, I've scanned a Parisian day-in-the-life story from a 1955 issue of Vogue. Following a very bourgouis wife around her daily life, the captions also describe her looks - for grocery shopping, Lanvin; for dinner at a restaurant, Dior. 1950s Parisian fashion is always depicted in the most staged (yet obviously beautiful) manner, so it is interesting to see it worn casually and by a non-model or celebrity.


Photographs by Robert Doisneau from Vogue, March 15th, 1955.


(L) Midmorning at the great Paris market, Les Halles; once a week Mme. Heugel shops there for flowers, butter, and "the best meat in Paris."  (R) From Les Halles she goes to Gargantua, a delicacy shop in the Faubourg St. Honore, for the Parmesan cheese her husband particularly likes. For this round of errands, she often wears a sweater and skirt, here with a turquoise corduroy jacket, all from the Lanvin Boutique.


(L) On her way home, Mme. Heugel stops to pick up her husband at Le Menestrel, the music publishing house which he runs with his father and brother. It is across the street from the Bibliothèque Nationale, and only a three-minute walk from the Heugel apartment.  (R) The Heugels lunch at home en toute simplicite with the famous French composer, Henri Sanguet. Here, Mme. Heugel wears a dress of pale beige alpaca from the Griffe Boutique.


(L) After luncheon, M. Heugel watches while Sanguet, seated at the piano, is sketched by Mme. Heugel.  (R) M. Heugel carries a twin under each arm down the picturesque-but-treacherous staircase, a task for which he often comes specifically from the office. (The nurse and baby follow behind).


(L) Mme. Heugel writes a quick note before setting out for the afternoon in a Givenchy suit of periwinkle-blue corduroy.  (R) Mme. Heugel stops to see Jèrome, Elvire and Clèmence in the Palais Royal gardens, on her way out shopping. (Offstage, left, is the nurse, in charge of Clèmence's pram).


(L) A passionate antique-hunter, Mme. Heugel is here at Yveline, an enchanting shop on the Place Furstenberg, dealing in "antiquités - meubles, tableaux, bibelots."  (R) At home again, Mme. Heugel tries on a new Dior ball gown. (A great ball gown is the only occasion for which Mme. Heugel wears a long dress for evening).


(L) Out for cocktails, at the studio (Left Bank, six flights up) of an artist friend, Hlen Ashbee, Mme. Heugel wears a satin-bound black cable-stitch suit (this from Givenchy).  (R) On her way out to dinner and the theatre, Mme. Heugel says goodnight to the twins.


(L) Monsieur and Madame Heugel dining at the Grand Véfour, a restaurant near their apartment, before the premiere of Bérénice, given by the compagnie Jean-Louis Barrault and Madeleine Renaud. Heugel wears a shirt evening dress (of greeny-gold brocade from Dior). If it were not a premier, she might wear a soft black suit such as the one worn for cocktails.  (R) At the theatre, M. Heugel talks to the writer, Maurice Druon, during the entr'acte.

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