Emile Pingat (1820 - 1901) was the contemporary of Charles Frederick Worth, but his name in the 21st century has been heard only by the rare. Pingat worked in the field of Haute Couture from 1850 to 1896, and at that time he was as famous as Worth. Many publications that were published in The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Godey's Lady Book in the middle of the 1870's and through middle of the 1890's, mentioned Pingat along with the nowadays better known father of Haute Couture - Charles Frederick Worth. For example, in the afternoon conversation described in Harper's Bazaar on July 21, 1883, clearly shows that Worth and Emile Pingat are not the rivals, but the biggest fashion makers and style trendsetters of their time.
Although Pingat's name in the fashion history of the 19th century is also associated with designs for a ball dresses, afternoon outfits and daytime costumes, his authority was undoubtedly in the field of outerwear design. Opera coats, capes, pelerines, jackets and many other types of outerwear for cool days, were Pingat's masterpieces. His carefully selected materials for these clothing items were durable wool and brightly colored silk fabrics. Master's creative work is highlighted by luxurious accents for outerwear trim, such as pearl embroidery, fringe and lace. Looking at the work of Pingat, it appears that the fabric chosen was mainly used as the basis for the surface on which the exquisite texture of design patterns were revealed.
Emile Pingat also got the fame in America, so beyond the ocean there were lots of fashionable ladies who, in the second half of the 19th century, set out to Paris to order their most beautiful outfits. Dresses and women's outerwear that were created in the House of Pingat, made this author one of the greatest names in France during the 19th century. Being very active in the period from 1860 to 1896, Pingat courageously combines distinct patterns, incorporating them into structure of fabric, and using them into ornate opera capes and evening coats. He was especially inspired by elements of Oriental culture, which he skillfully "translated" into the European fashion language. It created unique and intriguing coats and dresses that struck a saturated dark color palette.
In this essay, the striking and perfectly designed evening jacket, which perfectly features the feeling of Pingat's style and his interest in foreign cultures, is especially highlighted. This is an interpretation of the Middle Eastern feel in the Haute Couture style, which is strikingly detailed and one of the best known French couturier works.
Looking more carefully at the construction of the evening jacket, costume historians will certainly notice the elements of the 18th century men's waistcoat mixed with the 16th-century male fur lined coat (schaube). At the end of the 19th century, many European costume designers and style legislators interpreted the details and construction of historical menswear, but only few of them succeeded as confidently as Pingat.
The evening jacket created in the House of Emile Pingat here is just one example that reveals the wide scope and inspiration of the author's work. It shows that his heritage were in all aspects equivalent to those made by Worth. Sometimes Pingat showed even more careful attitude to each design element - fabric, finish, color and others, creating a consistent image.
All the outfits created by Emile Pingat had a special place in the history of the 19th fashion. They were not accidental. There is only a series of questions left ... Why is his work largely unknown nowadays? And why are they underestimated? I guess that in the near future fashion researchers will have many new challenges in exploring the heritage of this mysterious French couturier.
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My name is Edīte Parute and I am a fashion historian and researcher from Latvia, association member at "The Association of Dress Historians" (UK) and author of the book "Stila un modes enciklopēdija"/"Encyclopedia of Style and Fashion" (2010) as well as author of many publications.
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