Browse The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives Home Page

House of Martial et Armand - Parisian Fashion Design - 1920

Coat matching the dress, of fawn duvetyn

Coat matching the dress, of fawn duvetyn; collar and deep pockets of lamb

Tailleur Jackets Are Comparatively Short-High Collars, Long Sleeves and Narrow, Straight Outlines Distinguish Afternoon Dresses of Heavy Stuffs.

Martial et Armand, established in 1902, has been completely renovated and we may say rejuvenated by its present directress, Madame Vallet. Thanks to her alert supervision and excellent personal taste, this firm grows in repute every season.

Tailored suits, that pitfall of the unwary dressmaker, are given special attention by Martial et Armand.

The line here is excellent—trim and youthful. We have a good many real winter stuffs, melton, blanket cloth (a new kind woven with stripes in relief like braid, a little satin - cloth, which seems determined to put in an appearance, duvetyn and a good deal of velvet. The leading colors are dark blue and a variety of reds from scarlet to old brick.

The jackets here are shorter usual this winter; the majority half-way to the knee, flare very little and furthermore, they sometimes have belts and open over trim waistcoats.

The collars are all high, fitting well over the chin and of fur, but arranged so they may be worn open. A blue velours de laine is cut very prettily into a deep pointed hood at the back, but the “sensational” number of the whole collection is a tailleur made entirely of gazelle fur!

It is beautifully soft and as supple as stuff to handle so why not make it like this one, into a shortish coat, rather close-fitting at the waist, with a ruched, brown satin collar? The skirt is worn with a green and gold brocade blouse, joining the fur well over the hips to avoid bulk at the waist.

Afternoon dress of fawn satin trimmed with appliquéd embroidery of duvetyn

Afternoon dress of fawn satin trimmed with appliquéd embroidery of duvetyn

The following are examples of three quarters, medium and short coat suits, each entirely different in line.

First, a knee-length jacket of green and red plaid blanket cloth has the side gores cut diagonally and in points: as the skirt repeats the idea, the profile view of the side is longer than the front.

The second model, of blue duvetyn, is of medium length, trimmed down the front by a broad band of gray Persian lamb, which also makes the tight collar and cuffs; a wide red and gray leather belt completes the Russian effect.

Lastly we have a chic little black velvet affair; the jacket fits tightly at the waist, the twelve-inch basque, shirred on very full, is trimmed by tiny strips of ermine sewn on crisscross, like herring-boning: the high collar is a ruff framing the face, adorned in the same way with ermine, the whole effect being charming.

Afternoon coats matching or recalling in some detail the dress underneath have a large place in winter wardrobes; a series of very smart ones are shown here, among which I noticed particularly a coat of black velvet, almost straight, embroidered at the sides in white silk leaves, chain-stitched; with it, is worn a robe-chemise of white Georgette, chain-stitched this time in black silk leaves an opening in front over a Georgette underskirt.

This leads us quite naturally to coat dresses, which figure sufficiently in every good collection to make them an important feature. The only reason for calling them “robes-manteaux" is that they fasten visibly down the front; otherwise they much recall the robe-chemise.

Always loose and straight, they sometimes have belts like the one here, beige gabardine, which is collared and sashed in a new shiny ribbon that imitates snake-skin.

Another of blue serge (a new kind with a fancy gray selvage checked in green) fastens down the side under the gray band which forms its only trimming.

The sensible rule here is that afternoon dresses, where heavy stuffs are used, adopt high collars, long sleeves, and narrow straight outlines, in the manner just described or with the addition to the skirt of some form of close-fitting overskirt, panel, apron or tunic to make it more interesting.

One blue serge has rounded swinging panels in front "done" all over in cut-out motifs of old-rose cloth and jet, connected to the skirt by a jet girdle. A burnt orange duvetyn with a waxed satin sash (yes, they use a good deal of satin ciré at Martial et Armand's has an apron of silver lace covered with applications of the duvetyn.

In spite of the scarcity of fur, there is hardly a dress that has not a touch of it, green cloth with an astrakhan collar, gray melton with a squirrel vest, beige duvetyn with skunk, etc.  Beige and gray are a much-liked combination.

On the other hand, reception and dinner dresses, very often of light crepes and chiffons, give an indefinite silhouette, although the outline remains straight.

We have lots of black satins and velvets, gray Georgette, much black and white, silver, crepe de Chine brocaded in velvet, chiffon in various shades of orange, flame, and brick.

A black lace dress is unexpectedly trimmed with a sash and loops of satin ciré. There are various arrangements of lace combined with tight velvet bodices; one of black velvet with a gold embroidered front, and tiny shirred basques have an immense black lace apron, longer than the skirt depending from the back and sides of the basques. Another bodice of dark green panne has a green net overskirt cut into strips edged with skunk.

An open coat-tunic of coral pink Georgette edged with gazelle is worn over biscuit satin.

The robe-chemise exists here, of course, one of childlike simplicity is pink and gold brocade with a low belt of sable. Crossed bodices covering the arm-tops are numerously represented; one of the smartest is black satin, the fichu effect fastening at the side under a huge disk of mother of pearl; the skirt opens in front revealing a black Georgette embroidered in large white silk circles.

Evening gowns are conservative, distinguished in line and incline to points: pointed necks, pointed trains, pointed panels. A chiffon velvet of a soft shade of scarlet beautifully draped with a low torsade belt (a strip of the stuff rolled into a thick cord ) is cut into unequal lengths, one resulting in a fish-tail train; the neck is cut in a V, chains of jet heads hang from one shoulder and fasten on the opposite side.

Pale pink brocade with a silver bodice and straps is lovely; dyed lace, employed with lamés and charmeuse in a thousand different capes and draperies, promises to be a great feature of the winter styles.

"Martial et Armand" in the Garment Manufacturers’ Index, New York: The Allen-Nugent Co. Publishers, Vol. II, No. 2, September 1920: 22-23.

Return to Top of Page

Vintage Fashion Houses & Designers