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Romance sans paroles, George Barbier, (1882–1932), Falbalas et Fanfreluches alamanac, Paris, 1925.
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The elegant design of our pocket square has been adapted from a colourful fashion plate in the V&A collection by the artist George Barbier (1882–1932) who created beautiful illustrations in the Art Deco style. Barbier’s graphic aesthetic was perfectly suited to the couture fashions of the day and the lavish lifestyles of those who wore them. Framed in a sophisticated geometric motif, Romance without Words encapsulates the candor and the elegance of the 1920s.
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George Barbier (1882–1932) is considered to be one of the great French illustrators of the early 20th century. In 1911 at the age of 29, Barbier mounted his first exhibition and rose swiftly within his profession with commissions to design theatre and ballet costumes, illustrate books, and to produce haute couture fashion illustrations. For the next 20 years Barbier led a group from the Ecole des Beaux Arts who were nicknamed by Vogue "The Knights of the Bracelet"—a tribute to their fashionable and flamboyant mannerisms and style of dress.
Barbier also turned his hand to jewellery, glass and wallpaper design, wrote essays and a number of articles for the prestigious Gazette du bon ton. In the mid-1920s he worked with Erté to design sets and costumes for the Folies Bergère and in 1929 he wrote the introduction for Erté's acclaimed exhibition and achieved mainstream popularity with his regular appearances in L'Illustration magazine. Barbier sadly died in 1932 at the very peak of his success.
The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. The Museum holds many of the UK's national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance.
The art of hand rolling pocket squares is a unique craft and truly makes each piece individual and unique. We feel that the precision and care taken by our skilled artisans gives each scarf its own unique character, finish and feel. To create the finest rolled hems, the edge of the silk or cotton pocket square must be softy turned over with handheld needle and then small stitches are inserted approximately one half to one centimetre apart around the edge, creating a supple yet prominent border.
It’s absolutely the best way to finish a scarf for a variety of reasons but the key ones are for both visual effect and structure. Rolling by hand is the only way to get a really nice clean plump finish on the edge and this gives a really nice depth to the edges. It’s a more expensive process than machine rolling but by using a machine you’re often left with a flat edge and you don’t get the same luxurious feel. On top of this, the rolled edges add a lot more structure to your pocket square.
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