Jacques Fath (1912-54)
Silk satin, embroidered by Rebe with sequins and beads
Given by Lady Alexandra Dacre
Museum no. T.184&A-1974
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnston (later Lady Dacre) was the wife of the Naval Attache to Paris, 1948-50. She required an extensive wardrobe for the many formal dinners and state functions that she had to attend.
Lady Alexandra wore this dress at the official visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Paris in May 1948. She recalled that when she arrived at the Theatre de L'Opera with her husband, the Garde Nationale suddenly sprang to attention. 'I realised they had mistaken us for the Princess and Duke. That was the effect made by my splendid Fath'.
In 1971 Lady Alexandra gave some of her couture clothes to the photogapher Cecil Beaton. He was assembling a large collection of fashionable garments to be given to the V&A and displayed in his exhibition 'Fashion: An Anthology'. The V&A has kept Beatons' correspondence with designers, royalty and leading socialites of the day.