Jacques Fath showed his first collection of just twenty garments in the spring of 1937. It was well received and he steadily built a strong clientele to become of of the busiest ateliers in Paris. He eventually expanded into the American market through the manufacturer Joseph Halpert. In 1948, Fath signed an agreement to produce two ready-to-wear collections a year with Halpert. Jacque did all the designs and then Halpert produced them in America. This was a clever way to avoid the high taxation on fashion that customs had implemented during this time period. This dress is from that early label and it has some extra historical significance since this agreement was one of the first of its kind between a couturier and a RTW company. Fath is considered to be part of the 'big three' post-war Parisian designers, along with Dior and Balmain. The Fath label was shuttered in 1957 after Fath's death three years earlier. One of his signature looks was a fitted hourglass silhouette and this suit has that in spades. It is gorgeous and a beautiful example of his work during this time period.
This beautiful Jacques Fath suit dates somewhere between 1948 and 1954, the year that the Halpert company closed its doors and ceased producing. And if I had to guess I would put it more towards the earlier part of those dates as you can still clearly see the 1940s influence it has in its cut and line. It is made out of a deep navy blue silk that is so dark that it looks black in some lights. Many Fath devotees will tell you say that it was his designs that influenced Dior's silhouettes and you can see that in the lines of this piece. It has that perfect cut of this time period that we do so often think of as being associated with Dior. The skirt is beautifully cut into a long lean pencil. The skirt is its original length which is almost miraculous after all these decades have passed and skirt lengths have gone up and down so much. The band at the waist flips inwards when you put it on so that there is no break to the eye at the top of the skirt and then it falls to just past the knees, coming in slightly as it nears the hem. At the back is a buttoned vent. Even though this is technically ready-to-wear it was very well done high end RTW and you can see that on how each button at the vent not only works but has a proper finished button hole to close. The jacket is cut loose and easy through the upper body as was the style during this time period and then the waist is nipped in. He loved adding button details and you can see that in the off-set to the side row of buttons that close the jacket. Their placement becomes an integral part of the design and adds so much detailing. The collar is round and neat. It follows the neckline all the way down to the first button. Each sleeve is slightly cropped and ends in a notched flare. I love this unexpected flare that adds to all the other stunning aspects of the suit. The silk keeps the suit light and easy to wear with enough structure to hold the shape. It is a piece that could easily go from day to evening with a change of shoes and accessories. It looks to have been worn very little if at all. Excellent condition
Unlined with ribbon fished edges in the skirt. Beautifully finished throughout. The skirt zips with a painted metal zipper and has hook and eye on the waist band that flips inwards to wear. The jacket buttons to close.
Bust: to 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 24" from neck to hem
Waist: 12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 30" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
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