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Despite his classical training, Jean-Gabriel Domergue is sensitive to the upheavals of his era and to the trends that they gave rise to. Artists’ sensibilities and their pursuit of “the beautiful” make them more aware of their environment. It is therefore only natural that they sense what is, and what will be, fashionable before anyone else.
After the First World War, people in the 1920s were enjoying jazz, the Charleston and discovering speed with the automobile. These “wild years” (1919-1929) were replaced with modernity and women’s emancipation.
During this period, Paul Poiret reigns over Parisian fashion and the society which he dresses. He liberated women from the corset, creating fluid and natural forms. There is a strong contrast between the boyish daywear and the ultra feminine eveningwear covered in lamé and rich embroidery.
Jean-Gabriel Domergue remains the most representative painter of fashion. He is a reliable observer, sensitive to the whims of women’s clothing but how much did his imagination alter the everyday reality?
Evidently the elegant ladies wearing garishly coloured dresses with panniers do not correctly represent fashion in the 1920s. However, women at that time are delighted to be seen with such romanticism and imperceptibly wish to emulate these models.
For Jean-Gabriel Domergue, what matters most is that the shape of the woman is respected. “As long as the couturier is willing to admit that women have a body, that the dress is made for the body, and not the body for the dress, then fashion is beautiful and all is well. One has to be able to guess the woman’s form through the fabric and sense that she is able to move freely. Movement is what gives the lines their beauty, their fullness, their grace. It is movement not immobility that brings her to life and animates her. I love fashion which, not only allows the litheness of the woman’s body, but requires it.”

Domergue often paints women wearing a fourreau dress with a bustier. It moulds the body perfectly and the ‘chic’ with which it is worn prevents any indecency. 

Jean Gabriel Domergue through fashion   Jean Gabriel Domergue through fashion