Interactive: Woman's Walking Suit, by Jacques Doucet, about 1894
This beige linen suit, embroidered with silk cord, might well have been worn for a tour abroad. When it was conserved, reddish-brown dust was found on the surface. Linen was particularly popular for hot-weather travel because it was washable and comparatively lightweight. At this period, women's tailored suits had become very popular. They borrowed details from men's dress, such as wide lapels and exterior pockets. This practical style suited the more emancipated lifestyles women were then leading. Elastic stays are attached to the inside of the skirt to control the fullness.
Jacques Doucet (1853–1929) was one of the best known and most highly respected couturiers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was famed for his extravagant gowns, tailored suits and luxurious coats. Inheriting a lace and lingerie establishment in Paris, Doucet expanded the family business by opening a couture department in the 1870s. The Parisian elite soon patronised his salon, admiring his taste in fabrics and the meticulous quality and workmanship of his creations.
Museum no. T.15-1979