A Tribute to Emilie Floge

Very few people remember a time when fashion was truly revolutionary. When the way people dressed and designed clothes sparked profound conversations about the current state of society. But that’s what it was like for famous designers at the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th. Designers like Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel were revolutionary in how they did away with the conventions of women’s fashion like the corset. Among these was Emilie Floge, an Austrian courtier who influenced and was the life partner of Gustav Klimt. The man who, for many decades, her designs were wrongly attributed to.Image result for emilie floge

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In 1895, Emilie started work in her sister’s dressmaking school, essentially kicking off her life as a talented artist and seamstress. Just four years later, the two entered and won a competition to design an exhibition dress. In 1904, they were joined by their other sister Helene and opened their own fashion boutique called Schwestern Floge or Floge Sisters. 

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The shop aligned with the radical dress movement which sought to free women from restrictive clothing and the confines of ‘old-fashioned’ fashion. A common theme of Floge’s dresses was the loose A-line silhouette and the generous swaths of fabric. 

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Floge’s work shows that anti-fashion does not equal boring. Her style was marvelously decorative and Art Nouveau. While she shunned the typically feminine corsets and tight bodices but didn’t shy away from using copious frills and embroideries. 

Unfortunately, Schwestern Floge closed when Nazis invaded Austria in 1938. While her name is forever cemented in the art world, what should truly inspire young women today is her independence. She thrived in an era where women’s rights were not the hot button topic that it is today. And she created an eager audience that was wholly her own. 

 

Inspired by: Karolina Zebrowska’s Stripey Challenge