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07-06-2007
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1891-1974 Edward Molyneux
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Edward Molyneux was an Irishman of Huguenot ancestry. He never exaggerated, always maintained sight of the elegant heights to which couture could soar. He was the designer to whom a fashionable woman would turn in the 20's and 30's when she wanted to be absolutely "right" and not predictable. He mixed with the aristocracy as well as café society of between-the-wars Paris and gained insight into the needs of women in that era of change and freedom. He had the surest of hands, dressed Gertude Lawrence for the stage and Princess Marina of Greece for her wedding to the Duke of Kent.

Molyneux was born in London in 1891 and his first ambition was to be a painter. His sketch for an evening dress won a contest sponsored by Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon) who hired him but this was interrupted by the war when he was wounded and lost an eye. In 1918 he opened his salon in Paris and from the beginning, his style was extreme simplicity and perfect taste. Success came quickly and he moved into a larger maison and opened several branches. In addition to couture, he designed furs, lingerie, hats and perfume notably his "Numero Cinq". He dressed the most elegant women right up to the outbreak of World War II and escaped from Paris to London in 1940.

Molyneux was known for conservative clothes but never staid or matronly. His typical customer was tall, thin and intelligent, with long slim legs and usually in the late twenties or thirties. His streamlined backless white satin evening dress with silver-fox furs thrown over the shoulder, became the symbol of 30's elegance. He was best known for his wonderful handling of navy blue and black, whether an easy plated skirt-suit or a slip-like evening dress.

In The 30's the pure Molyneux look fully emerged. His soft velvet evening coats fell to the floor in a single unbroken line, his dresses with matching three-quarter length coats had a graceful fluidity. By the end of the 30's he experimented with a newly narrowed waist, one that later Dior called the "New Look". In the 30's Irish designer John Cavanagh worked under Molyneux in Paris, and gained valuable experience which stood him in good stead when he later opened his own house.

After the war, Molyneux returned to Paris but it was not the same, his health particularly his eyesight, began to fail, so in 1950 he closed his Paris and London establishments and retired to Jamaica. He traveled widely and resumed his painting and in 1965 collaborated with his nephew with a ready-to-wear operation called "Studio Molyneux" He died in 1974 at the age of 83. He will be remembered for his streamlined 30's designs, clothing from a decade he helped to shape.
1923 Japanese silk



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The straight simple dresses of the mid-1920s lent themselves particularly well to bold large-scale surface decoration, embroidered, woven or printed. Worn for Ascot with a wide brimmed silk trimmed hat, this smart summer outfit represented the height of sophistication with its nod to exoticism. It has been cut as a long simple tube, providing a blank canvas for Molyneux's striking Japanese printed silk, and apart from the dropped waist, the image is uninterrupted by seams or fastenings. For evening or cocktail parties, beading was a more typical decoration for twenties dresses, again using the flat front of the dress as an ideal display medium.

Molyneux (1891-1974) trained under Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon) and opened his own fashion house in Paris in 1919. His simply cut, elegant designs earned him a place as a favourite among royals. He was also highly respected in the fashion world, and no less a figure than Christian Dior considered him to be one of his greatest predecessors, and a world class couturier.
manchestergalleries.org

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07-06-2007
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1949 Mauve acetate satin-backed crepe. By the twentieth century, the pleating and the girdled midriff of this halter gown were well-established references to classicism. But in this dress, Edward Molyneux introduced a subtle new detail to frozen wet-drapery by replicating the fluted neckline seen on many Greek and Roman statues. As in Hellenistic sculptures, Molyneux fanned open the pleats of his gown's deep décolleté neckline. But like most pleated gowns of the post-World War II era, these folds are carefully controlled and secured by loose stitches to a structured, though in this instance flexible, underbodice. The modernist movement's affinity with classicism is evidenced in fashion from the beginning of the twentieth century onward. Here, the designer manipulated an experimental fabric into forms evocative of the antique. However specifically situated classical dress was to its own time, references to Hellenic styles have been freed from fashion's chronology by a sense of the timelessness of the ideals of beauty they evoke. In choosing to cite the past while also experimenting with a fabric of the future, Molyneux aligned himself with designers for theater and film, who costume imagined utopias past and future with the draped styles of the ancients.


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1926 - 1927 Evening dress in silk. The flapper dresses of the 1920s coexisted in couture and ready-to-wear, the latter often gaudy, the former continuing the linear interests of high-style dress of the 1910s. Molyneux was a designer of consummate good taste, walking a fine line between the refinements of couture style and a modernist aesthetic and the ambition to be socially and culturally advanced in the age of Anita Loos and Gatsby. In this evening dress, sequins in vertical stripes are overlaid with loose lengths of georgette picoted along the edges for a delicate shimmer on vertical filaments.


metmuseum.org

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07-06-2007
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Amazing! Thank you for making the thread

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07-06-2007
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Thank you for starting this thread
I'll try to post something later.

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07-06-2007
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Molyneux Fur-Trimmed Coat
French, 1920s
Of fine black wool, straight line, calf length, with black brown fur bands creating high stand collar and wide cuffs, decorative self bands sewn down center back, at sides and curving to edge back hem, labeled: Molyneux/5 Rue Royale/Made In France.
Excellent condition.
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07-06-2007
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Molyneux Jeweled Summer Jacket
French, late 1940s
Black linen, cardigan style, with unusual embroidery trim comprising pastel pink and lime green bubble beads, cork disks, and variously colored sequins and beads, size 6, labeled: Molyneux/Paris.
Very good condition, some loose beads.
doylenewyork

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14-06-2007
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You can see more images of this piece here: http://www.antiquedress.com/item4453.htm

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#4453 - c. 1924 RARE Molyneux, 5 Rue Royale, Paris Fully Beaded Flapper Dress on Black Crepe Silk! Larger Size! According to www.designer history.com, Edward Molyneux opened his salon in Paris in 1919, and from the beginning his style was described as "extreme simplicity and perfect taste. He was best known for his wonderful handling of navy blue and black". As written by Caroline Milbank, "Molyneux was the designer to whom a fashionable woman would turn if she wanted to be absolutely 'right' without being utterly predictable in the 1920's and 30's." So... this is without a doubt a top of the line Museum Quality beaded flapper dress with the right style and coloration to be a classic Molyneux. Perfect addition for your personal museum collection! Gorgeous (and possibly genuine) turquoise beads, iridescent white and gold bugle beads along with rhinestones all in a busy leaf and vine motif on black silk crepe. The "belt" is just more beading and there are two large "flowers" at right hip. The dress has the look of a 2-piece outfit, especially the back, but it's really one piece (see last photo for a peek under the back at hipline). Excellent condition with just perhaps one or two rows of beads missing at hip (just below the "belt" on right side - see close-up photo). Measures: 44" around bust, waist and hips, 48" long from shoulder to hem.

$ 6,500. Approx. - SIZE 12, perhaps 14


antiquedress.com

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15-06-2007
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Molyneux gown photographed by Cecil Beaton
Vogue, may 15, 1941
Scanned by ednafrau

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16-08-2007
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Early 1970s textured trench.



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28-08-2007
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Black crêpe evening gown, circa 1938, labelled Molyneux, 48 Grosvenor Street, London, with plunging neckline, padded shoulders, the skirt formed from interwoven tiers of crepe, bust 102cm, 40in Provenance: Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston.


kerrytaylorauctions.com

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14-09-2007
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Beaded Dress, 1920s.






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12-02-2008
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Edward (Captain) Molyneux (England, 1891 - 1974)
Woman's Wedding Dress and Cap, 1929
Costume/clothing principle attire/entire body; Costume/clothing accessory/headwear, a) Dress: rayon satin; b) Cap: linen point de gauze lace
lacma.org
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05-07-2009
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^ That's quite lovely.



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Original caption: Model wearing long beaded dress with belt and rhinestone buckle by Molyneux; diamond necklace and bracelet from Mauboussin; and leaning on mirrored table with bowl of flowers.
IMAGE: © Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS
DATE PHOTOGRAPHED: ca. 1931
PHOTOGRAPHER: Edward Steichen
COLLECTION: Conde Nast
Source: corbis.com

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05-07-2009
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Original caption: Model Dinarzade (aka Petra Clive) seated and wearing sleeveless shiny dress with V-neck, dropped waist, and flaring skirt with designs at the hem, by Molyneux; double strand of pearls
IMAGE: © Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS
DATE PHOTOGRAPHED: ca. 1924
PHOTOGRAPHER: Edward Steichen
COLLECTION: Conde Nast
Source: corbis.com

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05-07-2009
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Original caption: Four models at the Belmont racetrack. Left to right, in back: model wearing a pony-trimmed wool coat designed by Worth and an unstructured soft wool hat designed by J. Suzanne Talbot; model wearing a hat and a Harris tweed suit designed by Molyneux; model wearing a hat and a leather coat lined with printed gazelle (which also forms the collar), designed by Molyneux; in front: model wearing a hat and a wool coat with deep, rabbit-trimmed cuffs and cowl collar, designed by Lanvin.

IMAGE: © Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS
DATE PHOTOGRAPHED: ca. 1926
LOCATION: Nassau County, New York, USA
PHOTOGRAPHER: Edward Steichen
COLLECTION: Conde Nast
Source: corbis.com

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