A Victorian Fashion History Mystery…

Félix-1863     Félix-1869     Félix-1860s

From time to time, we come across beautiful items in our collection that cause us to stop, take note, and delve more into their history.  These dainty and diminutive sketches of Victorian millinery may have been executed by Auguste Félix, or the designs of a milliner of that same name, for the firm Poirier.  Examples are also found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but our research reveals little else about Félix or Poirier.

Felix-1866     Félix-1862     Félix-1866-2

Can anyone help us solve this fashion history mystery? We know you Material Mode readers are crackerjack fashion historians!


5 responses to “A Victorian Fashion History Mystery…”

  1. Hi! As a journalist, I run across a lot of things. Those sketches look like some found in the archive of Léon Hatot, Artist and Designer 1883 – 1953. Maybe Hatot is a little more into Art Deco, but who knows. Today the archive belongs to the Swatch Group and they created a watch line with the designs they found. Maybe there were more spread around the world? The contact you can find here: http://www.leonhatot.com
    Dörte Welti, Switzerland

    • Thanks for your comment Dörte! We do know that these sketches were created in the 1860s, so I’m afraid this was a good 20 years before Hatot was born. Seems Hatot designed jewelry and objet d’art mainly… did he do millinery too??


  2. These all look like the lovely evening headdresses of the 1860s. For dinner, a reception or a ball, a lady would have her hair dressed in a more elaborate style and then add an elegant headband to complete the look. The last image, especially, looks like the 1860s. It would have been worn by someone in half-mourning.

    • Kay- Thank you for your comment. Yes, you are correct these designs date from between 1859 and 1866. We know this as they are dated on the front of each sketch, although this may be too hard to read on the screen as the original sketches themselves are only 3″ x 3″ in size. If you run across any information on a French milliner Felix or Poirier, we would love to hear about it! Cheers!

  3. Very interesting article about Victorian Era. I believe not only fashion but actually furniture as well played an important part not only back then but also in today’s society as well. You can see the influences in many of the furniture pieces that are out today