Emilie Flöge’s Fashion Legacy
Emilie Flöge, the Viennese fashion designer (previously introduced on We Are Not A Muse: Emilie Flöge (30 August 1874 – 26 May 1952)) was a savvy businesswomen, and chose her collaborators wisely. Images published in Volume 19 of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration (1906/07) show Flöge in reform dresses made by her fashion house the Schwestern Flöge, wearing jewellery by the Wiener Werkstätte, and photographed by Gustav Klimt. This was a clever marketing move, designed to attract a shared clientele in early twentieth-century Vienna.
Flöge’s legacy, however, has suffered from this collaboration. The attribution on the photographs to ‘Professor Gustav Klimt’ has led to the belief that he designed the clothing for Flöge, who is then diminished to the subject of model and inspiration for Klimt (rather than savvy marketer, as Tag Gronberg has shown, see further reading below). Forever thrust in the position of muse, Flöge’s designs remain to be appropriated and re-fashioned (literally) by male fashion designers.
This legacy is most clearly seen in the recent fashion collections by two highly-respected fashion houses, Valentino and Delpozo.
Valentino’s 2015 Fall Collection is an almost literal transcription of Flöge’s clothing, while Delpozo’s Spring 2016 Collection is a more loose interpretation. Both fashion houses claim Flöge as the source of inspiration, and while they do acknowledge her modernity and pioneering couture, nevertheless place her firmly in a position of muse.
We hope you enjoy these images of Valentino and Delpozo’s ‘Flöge-inspired’ designs, alongside Flöge’s originals. These new designs are truly wonderful, but full credit should be given to Flöge, with recognition of her achievements as a couturier and successful businesswomen, that go far beyond that of a muse.