Mar 9, 2011

Harry Angelo Model Gowns 1923: Martial et Armand



Never say I don't do research. Three more of the Harry Angelo Models of 1923, with a write up on the house. It was a prominent one in it's day, but like so many others is pretty much forgotten. There are a few photographs of actual garments on line in the Costume Institute/Metropolitan Museum database.

Martial et Armand
Martial et Armand appears to have been founded in 1896 at 13 Rue de la Paix and was described as a lingerie house. They were creating dresses at least by 1902, when their gowns were shown in Les Modes. M. Armand was the head of the house at least through WW I. The year for the move to 10 Place Vendome is given variously as 1902, 1903 or 1907. Often referred to as an important old house even in the 1920s, it was well established in the Teens, and mentioned as one of the top houses. The New York Times coverage starts in 1907 and continues through until 1932, when it drops off.

John Wanamaker advertised Martial et Armand models in 1913. In 1914, the NY Times reported that M. Armand in service with the French Army at the war and covered his return to his house in 1916 to supervise Spring collection. From the Mar. 19,1916 NY Times: “ Martial et Armand has always been a firm of mystery. No one seems to know who Martial was or if he ever existed. The only person ever seen in connection with the famous firm of the Place Vendome is M. Armand, a quite little man of retiring disposition, who at this critical moment of his country’s history has come home on leave from the front in order to superintend the making of his models for Spring. Armand is not afraid of any one stealing his models, because they could not copy them if they did."

The last mention in the Times is in 1946, pertaining to the Theatre d’la Mode. Martial et Armand advertised dresses, coats, suits, lingerie, furs and showed models in L’Officiel from 1925 - 1952. A 1955 Fodor’s Guide refers to Martial et Armand, 22 Rue d’Aguesseau, as does Mary Brooks Picken in the 1956 Dressmakers of France. Picken states the house was then chiefly selling boutique items.


"Martial et Armand no 18
A three piece tailleur of Titian colored wool poplin trimmed with flat silk braid and soutache to match. The back of the coat, unlike the front, is cut off in short box effect and discloses an apron sash with ties in a bow. The entire dress is made of cloth and the skirt is finished with a wide apron panel in front. The sleeves of the bodice are short. "

"Martial et Armand no 38 Entire gown of printed paisley design on mephisto georgette. The full apron panel on the front of the skirt ties in the back with a sash of self material. the ruffle trimming in the long sleeves is a point of interest. "

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