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Jacques Fath
(September 6, 1912 - November 13, 1954) France

Jacques Fath

Fashion designer

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Jacques Fath was born in Maisons-Laffitte, France. He was a self-taught fashion designer who was considered one of the three dominant influences on postwar haute couture, the others being Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain.

The son of André Fath, an Alsatian-Flemish insurance agent, Jacques Fath came from a creative family. His paternal great-grandparents, Caroline and Georges Fath, were fashion illustrators and writers, and his paternal grandfather, Rene-Maurice Fath, was a landscape painter. The playwright Georges Fath was his great-grandfather.

Fath presented his first collection in 1937, working out of a two-room salon on Rue de la Boetie. The studio was later moved to a second location on Rue Francois Premier in 1940 before settling into a third location at 39 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie in 1944. Among his models was Lucie Daouphars (1921 or 1922–1963), a.k.a. Lucky, a former welder who eventually became the top house model for Christian Dior.

As self-taught designer who learned his craft from studying museum exhibitions and books about fashion, Fath hired a number of young designers as assistants and apprentices, some of which later went on to form their own houses, including Hubert de Givenchy, Guy Laroche, and Valentino Garavani.

A popular and occasionally innovative designer known for dressing "the chic young Parisienne", Fath utilized such materials as hemp sacking and sequins made of walnut and almond shells. His 1950 collection was called Lily, and its skirts were shaped to resemble flowers. For eveningwear, he advocated velvet gowns. During World War II, Fath was known for "wide fluttering skirts" which, The New York Times explained, "he conceived for the benefit of women forced to ride bicycles during gasoline rationing".

His clients included Ava Gardner, Greta Garbo, and Rita Hayworth, who wore a Fath dress for her wedding to Prince Aly Khan. Jacques Fath also dressed Eva Perón. In one of the few remaining paintings of the 1940s/ 1950s not destroyed by the Junta Libertadora in 1955 (3 years after Evita s death) when Peron was outsted from power, Evita is depicted beside General Peron wearing a white evening dress designed by Fath. This same dress is showcased beside the painting in a mannequin under a protected glass cover. This dress is preserved at Museo del Bicentenario on the right side of the Casa Rosada, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Fath, who has been described as extremely effeminate and a former lover of the French film director Léonide Moguy, married, in 1939, Geneviève Boucher. The bride was a photographer's model who had been Coco Chanel's secretary. They had one son, Philippe (born 1943). According to Fath's friend Princess Giovanna Pignatelli Aragona Cortés, Geneviève Fath was a lesbian.

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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