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Guide to French Fashion from 1871 - 1914 (La Belle Epoque)

A resource guide featuring everything from the material culture, to the social implications of the fashion of this brief but beautiful era.


"Wood Anemone” pendant by Rene Lalique, circa 1900. (Truong, 2011).


Though women still wore hats, gloves and handbags, the most stunning of the accessories worn in the era (and the most written about) was the jewelry. An innovative art form in itself, these jewels incorporated both traditional elements of jewels and gold along with more "humble" materials, such as glass, horn and crystal. The result was anything but humble, and these pieces, while meant to be worn as functional jewelry, nonetheless can stand on their own as objet d'art.

1.) Becker, V. (1985). Art Nouveau Jewelry. London: Thames and Hudson.

A comprehensive guide to jewelry in the Art Nouveau period, focused on the French masters Lalique, Vever, and Fouquet. These pieces, while extravagant were absolutely meant to be worn and accompany the extravagant fashion of the period.


2.) Lalique, R., Brunhammer, Y., & Barten, S. (1998). The Jewels of Lalique. Paris: Flammarion.

A book that covers the early work of the famous Parisian jeweler who blended glass and fine gems to synthesize new forms and fauna for women to wear or simply admire from afar. The works he created were not simply accessories but shapes and forms that would help define this era of fashion.


3.) Markowitz, Y. J., & Karlin, E. Z. (2008). Imperishable beauty: Art Nouveau jewelry. Aldershot: Lund Humphries.

Covering beyond French jewelers, but still focusing on René Lalique and Henry van de Velde, this book outlines the inspiration the designers took from the Pre-Ralphaelites and Japan, to create jewelry that was free-form, naturalistic, and unlike anything seen before or since in it’s originality.

(December Jewelry Auction, 2015)