Aug 23, 2013

The House of Agnes, Madame Havet Directrice

The House of Agnés


I have written about this house on the blog a few times, and once for the Vintage Fashion Guild, but we now have a lovely older pieces from the house. So it's a good time to reveiw! 
This was a haute couture house founded by Mme Agnés ca. 1898. And not the same as Agnes the milliner, who also produced clothing. Two completely separate labels.  From the Oct. 3, 1898 New York Sun: “Mme. Agnes, formerly a designer of the house of Doucet, she recently founded a business of her own, which her superb abilities and abilities and her charming personality rendered instantly successful.”  Her publicized clients included the Queen of Holland.  Agnés’ models were sold in the United States by John Wanamaker as early as 1898.  The earliest label I have seen so far is c. 1910-12, and shows an address at  23, Rue Louis-le-Grand, Paris.  By 1909, Les Modes refers to Mme Havet as the Directrice of the House of Agnés. Mme Havet had previously had her own house, also as of 1898, although she had also designed for other couturiers previously. Mme Havet’s clients under her own name included the Empress of Russia. Her success and drawing power were sufficient for her name to appear on the Agnes label. Starting in 1909, the house is referred to as “La Maison Agnés, Mme Havet Directrice”. The house moved to 7 rue Auber, and the label was changed to Mme Havet Agnés 7 Rue Auber by the mid teens, quite possibly earlier. The fate of the founder, Agnés, is unknown at this time.  James McCreery and Harry Angelo carried their models in the USA, and the house was popular with American clients. 
Agnés is listed in L’Officiel from 1921-1930 as “Agnés, Mme Havet Directrice 7 rue Auber”. In 1931, the house combined with Drecoll, which had previously merged with Beer in 1929. The new house was listed as “ Agnés-Drecoll, Mme. Havet Directrice, 24 Place Vendôme” until 1941. From 1941 - 1952, the House is simply Agnés-Drecoll. After a career of some 48 years, Mme Havet is no longer mentioned. Listings and credits for the house in L’Officiel cease in 1952. Some sources state the house closed in 1963.   


1910s Edwardian French Couture Walking Suit By Mme. Havet for the House of Agnes 

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