Mainbocher is a fashion label founded by the American couturier Main Rousseau Bocher (1890–1976), also known as Mainbocher. Established in 1929, the house of Mainbocher successfully operated in Paris (1929–1939) and then in New York (1940–1971). Although often pronounced "Man-bo-shay," the designer's name is correctly pronounced "Maine-Bocker."
In November 1929, Main Bocher fused his own name, in honor of his favorite couturiers, Augustabernard and Louiseboulanger, and established his own fashion house, incorporated as "Mainbocher Couture," at 12 Avenue George V in Paris.
Mainbocher designed expensive, elegant haute couture dresses and gowns for an exclusive clientele who included fashion editors like Carmel Snow, Bettina Ballard, Diana Vreeland, titles like Princess Karam of Kapurthala, Elsie de Wolfe, Lady Castlerosse, the Vicomtesse de Noailles, Lady Charles Bentinck, Baroness Eugène de Rothschild, pianist Dame Myra Hess, society like Millicent Rogers, Daisy Fellowes, Mrs. Cole Porter, Syrie Maugham, and stars like Mary Pickford, Constance Bennett, Kay Francis, Claudette Colbert, Irene Dunne, Loretta Young, Miriam Hopkins, Helen Hayes.
He designed much of Wallis Simpson's wardrobe, naming a color, "Wallis Blue," for her. In 1937, he also designed the wedding dress and trousseau of her marriage to the former Edward VIII (the Duke of Windsor). Described in 1950 as "one of the most photographed and most copied dresses of modern times," the bridal dress is today part of the Metropolitan Museum collection.
Mainbocher's last Paris collections created a storm of controversy. Just as later Dior's "New Look", the "Mainbocher Corset," a nipped-in waist, radically altered the undefined silhouette of the thirties. This change, linked with the fame of his trousseau for the Duchess of Windsor, was a beginning of a new phase in fashion, eventually as influential as Coco Chanel's loosely cut, boxy jackets and skirts. The corset that shaped Mainbocher's last Parisian collection was immortalized in 1939 by one of Horst's most famous photographs, known as the "Mainbocher Corset." The corset itself, listed in Town and Country as one of the big events of 1939, caused a furor in France. Mainbocher's corseted waist, defined bosom, and back draping was an abrupt shift in sihouette and introduced the Victorian motifs that were to pervade the forties...
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