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 exists 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.

Vintage Sartorialist – London and Paris streets in 1906

Kensington Church Street, London, September 8th 1906

Several months ago there was a flurry of posts about this collection of photographs┬átaken in 1906 in London and Paris showing fashionable (and not so fashionable) women dressed for walking in public – mostly oblivious to their photographs being taken. These ‘fashion in reality’ snapshots are so rare to find and are invaluable resources, especially for costumers that wish to recreate street fashions in a period film.┬áThe photographs were taken by Edward Linley Sambourne. He was the chief cartoonist for Punch magazine, which frequently spoofed modes and manners of the day. The photo collection resides in the Kensington and Chelsea library collections in London.