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Trigère, Pauline

trigère’s suits paris award

B. November 4, 1912

Birthplace: Paris, France

Awards: Coty American Fashion Critics Award, 1949, 1951, 1959
         Neiman Marcus Award, Dallas, 1950
         National Cotton Council of America Award, 1951
         Filene Award, Boston, 1959
         Silver Medal, City of Paris, 1972

Trigère was born in Paris, France, to Julles Ferry, a dressmaker, and Victor Hugo, a skilled technician and wholesale clothing contractor. Her mother introduced Trigère to the world of marketing and design. Her first official training took place at Martial et Armand, a prestigious tailoring institute. After six weeks of studying dressmaking skills, including the bias cut, Trigère’s teacher felt she was a superior dressmaker and required no further training.

In 1933 Trigère began her career as a freelance designer in Paris and later moved, with her sons Jean-Pierre and Philippe, to Chile. En route to Chile, the family was detained in New York, where Trigère decided to remain. Trigère’s uncle, Adele Simpson, referred her for a position with designer Ben Bershel. After her four years with Bershel, Trigère left to take a position with Hattie Carnegie where she was employed as Travis Banton’s design assistant. Due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Trigère’s job at Hattie Carnegie ended in 1942 when business slowed during the war. Anxious to start her own business, she branched off and founded the House of Trigère with her brother in 1942. She designed the clothes while he traveled the country selling her fabulous dresses. Just three years later, Trigère acquired her own New York label.

In the 1940s Trigère blossomed and she provided American women with the best finely tailored suits and coats one could imagine. Her selection of fabrics made it possible to create suits and coats that transitioned from day into evening. Her silhouettes were not ordinary; they involved such complex structural details as bias cuts, princess seams, asymmetrical lines, and diamond insets. Her tailored suits were practical, refined, and classic.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Trigère offered wide-leg pants which looked like skirts and she called “bisected skirts,” culottes with matching blouses in bold chiffon prints and vivid colors, and chiffon dresses which incorporated ostrich feathers and plumes. Her coat designs also included unusual details. Her famous “Caliph Coat” was made of a diagonal tweed with large-scale covered buttons and a scarf. Trigère was swinging in the seventies with her fabulous full capes made of wool jerseys, tweeds, and mohair with matching ensembles for day and evening. Her use of color, pattern, and jeweled trim, and, most important, fit, captured the eyes of many women. Trigère also enticed her clients with her wool suits, embellished with black, silver, or Norwegian blue fox cuffs, collars, and hem treatments.

Trigère expanded into other areas of design. In 1963 she felt the need for women to have better support under their garments, so she created a line of undergarments for Form Fit Rogers. After designing bras, girdles, and bias tops and bottoms, her mission was complete and she moved on to other challenges. In the seventies, Trigère became interested in jewelry design. She developed a line of brooches, barrettes, and necklaces in diamonds and crystallized strontium titanate. Trigère also challenged herself by creating her own perfume. After three years of hard work, she finally developed the perfect Trigère scent.

Trigère’s last ready-to-wear collection, in 1993, consisted of her classic silhouettes and high-quality fabrics. Overall, Trigère has made a tremendous impact on the industry with her suit, coat, cape, day dress, and evening wear designs. Her magic hands have enabled her to work with a variety of difficult fabrics, draping structured characteristics with precision fit into fabulous articles of clothing.

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