There have been many fashion leaders who never designed: Kim Kardashian, Twiggy, Madame de Pompadour, Jenny Lind, Lily Langtry, Beau Brummel, and Alfred Guillaume Gabriel – the Count d’Orsay.
D’Orsay (1801 – 1852) was a French gentleman who married into British aristocracy. He was Beau Brummel’s successor as a dandy in all manners of taste, vanity, dress, style and wit – In early Victorian England, the term ‘dossy’ (someone who is elegant) was probably derived from his name.
D’Orsay was a painter, and a diarist, and a professional society party-goer but he was not a designer and did not invent any styles of clothing. However, as a leader of fashion his name became attached to three trends that became fashions in the 1830s:
D’Orsay pump: Shoe with cutaway sides. Some references to the style being first used as military footwear in 1838 are wrong, it was originally an indoor slipper aka: opera slipper.
D’Orsay coat: Man’s overcoat fitted through the waist with a dart (princess line), with knee length skirts without pleats and minimal decoration to best show off the figure. Illustration at right shows an 1870s version of the tightly fitted D’Orsay coat.
D’Orsay roll: A British term for high hat with full rolling brim, like the one that appears in his 1834 portrait.