leadOne of the joys of going on the hunt for vintage clothes is unearthing the odd designer piece. And nothing is better than coming across a piece by a near forgotten couturier for a bargain price. French fashion designer Jacques Fath dominated Fifties haut couture with the likes of Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain. His stunning New Look gowns are brilliant investment pieces, making Fath a vintage designer to l0ok out for.

Fath presented his first collection in 1937. He was a self-taught designer who learned his craft from studying museum exhibitions and books about fashion. His designs were very popular and Fath established himself as a designer dressing “the chic young Parisienne”.

During the Forties – due to the rationing of clothes and fabrics – Fath utilized such materials as hemp sacking and sequins made of walnut and almond shells. 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.

Fath’s fashion house closed in 1957, three years after he died of leukemia, however the company has continued to create perfumes until today.

His New Look dresses, coats and gowns can still be found today, often at a fraction of the price of what you would pay for designs buy his more famous colleague Dior.


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