January 26, 2013

Marthe Régnier (1880-1967), French actress
(photo: unknown, probably Paris, circa 1905)

Marthe Régnier’s thoughts on fashion, Paris, 1910
‘Madam Marthe Regnier is Laying Down Law on Fashions.
‘PARIS, Jan. 22 [1910]. – No actress is anybody this season unless she takes the professional chair and gives lectures. The unfortunate thing is that they never lecture on the one thing they know, which surely must be acting. But Mme. Regnier has at all events chose a kindred topic, with which she is undoubtedly family, viz., fashions. She has, it seems, made an exhaustive study of the subject, from hats to lingerie. Her lecture will, at all events, being at the beginning – not merely at, but before the Deluge, for she lays it down incontrovertibly that the first woman to be in the fashion was Eva. She naturally ”dressed to please Adam.” Yet Mme. Regnier denies that all women dress only to please men.
”’Of course we went to please men, but we also want to look nice for our own sakes. Any one of us alone on a desert island would still contrive to look nice with a flower in her hair,” she says.
‘This is a fact which Mme. Regnier is compelled to state, though she is ”sorry to have thus to destroy certain illusions.”
‘There are some fashions, however, which she will attack, such as that of hats under Louis XVI, when the Duchesse de Chartres appeared at the opera with a headgear consisting of a model of her son, the Duke of Beaulolais, in his nurse’s arms, a parrot pecking at cherries and a ”nigger” boy. The whole being built up on her hair into what was called ”pouf a sentiments,” the sentiments being inspired by Jean Jacques Rousseau.
‘Mme. Marthe Regnier also rejects some fashions of today in hats and in attenuated gowns. ”We must not bow to fashion: we must lead it,” is her daring remark: and she adds, judiciously, that her motto is ”Simplicity, with a note of originality.”’
(Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, Sunday, 23 January 1910, p. 5c)


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