A Passion for Fashion - Madame Clapham Revisited

The Influences

Madame Clapham's skill was to create designs featuring aspects of the latest fashions. Each season she bought a selection of sample gowns from the leading fashion houses of London and Paris. At this time, Paris was the centre of fashion. Madame Clapham claimed that: ‘Representatives of the best French houses come over periodically to wait upon me especially with their newest goods.’

From each dress, she would choose individual elements and combine them to create a unique and exquisite Clapham dress. For example, she would create a new design using bodices, skirts and sleeves from different dresses. Madame Clapham’s employees remember her drawing on the work of popular fashion designers such as Fremo, Hartnell, Molyneaux and Worth.


Edwardian fashion designs

These dress design illustrations date from 1900-1910. The majority are painted in watercolours and are the typical Edwardian ‘S’ shape dresses of that period. These illustrations are believed to have come from Madame Clapham's Kingston Square Salon.


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