Fashion Hall of Obscurity – Francis & Co., 9 rue Auber, Paris

There were so many couturiers working in Paris in the late 19th and early 20th century that it is nearly impossible to research their labels, especially when what information there is, likely is available only in France.

A couple of years ago we acquired a jacket from about 1903 with the label ‘Francis & Co. – 9 rue Auber, Paris’. The workmanship of the jacket is superb – beautifully cut, trimmed and lined. The Met has a red dress with the same label, which I am showing instead of our black jacket, as it photographed better.

Advertisement from Femina for travelling clothes by ‘Francis, 9, rue Auber’ August 1902

The location of 9 rue Auber is across the street from the Paris Opera House, and around the corner from Galerie Lafayette – Paris’ largest department store. It was also a short walk from rue de la Paix, where the highest-end couturiers were establishing themselves at the time. Femina, a French magazine printed between 1901 and 1917 for upwardly mobile middle class women, has an advertisment for travelling clothes made by ‘Francis, 9 rue Auber’, but that is the extent of anything I could find. By the 1920s a booking office for Air France was located at that address, and by the 1930s, another clothing shop had opened at 9 rue Auber by the name of Valerie.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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