madame carven

April 18, 2013 5 Comments


No, I didn't sketch that. Though how I wish I had! Isn't she lovely? My fiancé... will I ever get tired of saying that?? just returned from Paris with a vintage book of Madame Carven's 1950's era illustrations of her couture gowns for me. Do I know how to pick em or what?

Neither of us knew anything about Carven, either as a brand or as a person. I'm guessing he grabbed it for me, blind, hoping I'd enjoy it. Turns out, I'm captivated by her story... a petite woman who was frustrated by the lack of clothing designed for women her size began making gowns in the 1940s and her line blossomed into a full range of sportswear and even stewardess uniforms in the 70s. And her sketches... well they're so ladylike.

I began pouring through the book (the pictures that is, it's all en français!) and realized that part of the feminine charm of her sketches came from the way women posed in her era. Which of course is a manifestation of how women viewed themselves and fit into social culture.


They weren't exactly leaning in, they were more just leaning which ever way made their waists look the most delicate. And I don't hate it. As much as I am a proud female entrepreneur who spent two-bottles-of-wine-worth of last night's dinner conversation discussing women's roles in the balanced work place, I do love a lilting pose with the hands floating inexplicably below the chin like little doves that happen to be attached to the wrist.

I think I'm going to take a page from madame carven's book (literally) and bring some of this grace back into my figure poses.

Posted in Fashion illustrator, fiance, illustration book, Inslee By Design, Inslee Haynes, madame carven, paris, The Sketch Book, vintage