Jacques Fath (6 September 1912 in Maisons-Laffitte, France – 13 November 1954 in Paris, France) was a French fashion designer who was considered one of the three dominant influences on postwar haute couture, the others being Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain. The playwright Georges Fath was his great-grandfather.
The son of André Fath, an Alsatian-Flemish insurance agent, Fath came from a creative family. His paternal great-grandparents, Caroline and Georges Fath, were fashion illustrators and writers, and his paternal grandfather, Rene-Maurice Fath, was a landscape painter.
Fath presented his first collection in 1937, working out of a two-room salon on Rue de la Boetie. The studio was later moved to a second location on Rue Francois Premier in 1940 before settling into a third location at 39 Avenue Pierre-ler-de-Serbie in 1944. Among his models was Lucie Daouphars (1921 or 1922–1963), a.k.a. Lucky, a former welder who eventually became the top house model for Christian Dior.
A self-taught designer who learned his craft from studying museum exhibitions and books about fashion, Fath hired a number of young designers as assistants and apprentices, some of which later went on to form their own houses, including Hubert de Givenchy, Guy Laroche, and Valentino Garavani.
A popular and occasionally innovative designer known for dressing "the chic young Parisienne", Fath utilized such materials as hemp sacking and sequins made of walnut and almond shells. His 1950 collection was called Lily, and its skirts were shaped to resemble flowers. For eveningwear, he advocated velvet gowns. 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.
Jacques Fath also dressed Eva Perón. In one of the few remaining paintings of the 1940s and 1950s not destroyed by the Revolución Libertadora in 1955 (three years after Evita's death), when Perón was ousted from power, Evita is depicted beside General Perón wearing a white evening dress designed by Fath. This same dress is showcased beside the painting on a mannequin under a protected glass cover in the Museo del Bicentenario in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
|Defunct||1957(Haute couture division)|
The Fath design house closed in 1957, three years after Fath died of leukemia, which he'd been diagnosed in 1952. It was operated in its last days by his widow, who presented her first well-regarded collection for the fashion house in 1955 and who worked with three of her husband's former associates: Catherine Brivet (who previously had worked for Paul Poiret, Jean Patou, Pierre Balmain, Coco Chanel, and Cristóbal Balenciaga); Pierrey Metthey; and Suzanne Renoult (a fabric expert who had worked for Lucien Lelong; Elsa Schiaparelli; and Gaston Worth). After the company's haute couture operations ceased, it went into business producing perfumes, gloves, hosiery, and other accessories.
The house was relaunched in 1992 with Fall ready-to-wear and resort collections under the creative direction of Tom van Lingen, it was owned by Altus Finance part of Credit Lyonnais. In 1994 the brands sales rose to around USD$10 Million.
In 2001, Mounir Moufarrige and François Barthes (owner of EK Finances, known previously as Groupe Emmanuelle Khanh) started the France Luxury Group which Jacques Fath became apart of alongside the brands Emmanuelle Khanh, Jean-Louis Scherrer and Harel. In February of 2002 Lizzy Disney was appointed as the chief designer of Jacques Fath. Alain Dumenil purchased a majority stake in the group in November 2002 and in December he purchased 100% of the company. Disney and the firm parted ways in 2003. In 2004 France Luxury Group was rebranded to Alliance Designers Group. In 2007 started plans for a relaunch of Jacques Fath as an accessories line and appointed Laurence Dumenil as creative designer, the line launched in 2010 but later closed.
The company has produced a number of scents, including Chasuble (1945), Iris Gris (1946), Green Water (1947), Canasta (1950), Fath de Fath (1953), Fath's Love (1968), Expression (1977), Pour L'Homme (1998), Yin (1999), Yang (1999), Red Shoes (2018). Green Water and Fath de Fath were reformulated and re-released in 1993. In 2018 Iris Gris was re-released as L'Iris de Fath.
The fragrance license was held by L'Oréal from 1964 until 1992. Altus Finance purchased the perfume licenses in 1993. In January 1998 Star Fragrance International acquired the perfume license. In 2008 the Panouage Group acquired the perfume license and started making fragrances under the Jacques Fath name.
Fath, who has been described by Italian journalist Bonaventuro Calora as extremely effeminate and a former lover of the French film director Léonide Moguy, married, in 1939, Geneviève Boucher. The bride was a photographer's model who had been Coco Chanel's secretary. They had one son, Philippe (born 1943). According to Fath's friend Princess Giovanna Pignatelli Aragona Cortés, Geneviève Fath, who directed the business side of her husband's firm during his lifetime, was a lesbian.
Geneviève Fath married, on 21 October 1967, a 27-year-old Turkish interior decorator, Kudret Ismaïl Talay, at Saint-Martin-des-Champs, in Yvelines, France. They later divorced.
Fath appeared in Scandal on the Champs-Élysées (1949, directed by Roger Blanc).
He designed costumes for several films:
- Entre onze heures et minuit (1948, directed by Henri Decoin)
- Quai des orfèvres (1947, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot)
- The Red Shoes (1948, costumes for Moira Shearer)
- La minute de vérité (1952)
- Genevieve (1953, costumes for Kay Kendall)
- Abdullah the Great (1955)
Fath served as a gunner, second class,[clarification needed] in the French Army. He received the Croix de Guerre with silver star and the Légion d'honneur. He also was held as a prisoner of war for a month, and was discharged in August 1940.
Fath was the subject of a 1994 documentary film by Pascal Franck called Les Folies de Fath.
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- "Hemp Sacking Employed", The New York Times, 4 February 1949
- "Cuadro de Perón y Evita y vestido de Evita - Picture of Museo Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires - TripAdvisor". www.tripadvisor.com. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
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- "Des nouveaux venus cherchent leur place à l'ombre des géants du luxe". Le Monde.fr (in French). 5 February 2002. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
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- Staff, W. W. D. (22 January 2003). "Fashion Scoops: Val's Gal … Shifting Tides … Blue Note …". WWD. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
- 2004-02-18T00:00:00. "Alain Dumenil, the French real estate group that took over..." Shoe Intelligence. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
- "Famed Post-War Couturier Jacques Fath Reopens After Over Half-Century With Launch of Accessories Division".
- "The World's Most Valuable Perfume is Reborn". Vogue Arabia. 7 May 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
- Staff, W. W. D. (4 September 1998). "Men's Scents Step Out". WWD. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
- "Maison". Jacques Fath Parfums. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
- Giovanbattista Brambilla: Jacques Fath, 12 March 2006. (Originally: "Pride", n.80: Mani di fata, February 2006)
- "Princess Wed in Rome to Actor", The New York Times, 25 June 1954
- "Suzy Says", Arizona Republic, 12 November 1967, page M-3
- "Jacques Fath". IMDb. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
- "Law Delays Entry of Paris Designer", The New York Times, 30 November 1952
- Les Folies de Fath (1998). IMDb
- Jacques Fath Perfumes Official Website
- Jacques Fath at FMD
- "Jacques Fath and his Couture Client". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 13 November 2007.
- Jacques Fath, Self-Taught Fashion Designer, A.G.Nauta couture, 2013-05-05.
- "Interactive timeline of couture houses and couturier biographies". Victoria and Albert Museum. 29 July 2015.
- Interview with Jacques Fath model Janine Pons, 1948–1950
- Robert Barger and Jacques Fath collection, 1949-1952,  from The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library at The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.