Chiffon formal blouse
The female formal blouse made of silk chiffon fabric features a style that is characteristic of the beginning of the 20th century. Decorated with pleats and laces, it features a stand-up collar at the neckline. Narrow sleeves have a slightly creased head at the shoulders.
The bottom edge of the blouse is sewn into a broad slat and forms a fashionable bulge in the front, known as wasp’s abdomen. It is an example of a formal attire worn in the afternoon, smarter than attires worn around the house, but too modest for an evening occasion. The blouse was matched with a long, flared skirt, fastened with a belt in the waist. The curved shape of the sleeves made it possible to avoid inelegant creases and protected the fabric from deformation. The meticulous cut of the blouse is visible also on the inside. Vertical stitches in the waist help to model the figure. In order to stiffen the stand-up collar, it was fixed on thin celluloid tiles. The blouse is fastened with numerous hook-and-eye closures. As the fastening was located on the back, it became invisible, yet fastening the blouse required help. Thin linen sweatbands were often sewn to the lining, which were convenient to remove and wash, thus making it easier to preserve hygiene. A band sewn in waist features the company label – a rectangular badge with the trademark from the turn of the 20th century: the name Bogusław Herse composed of letters that imitate handwriting.
The most famous Warsaw fashion house was established in 1868 at 10 Senatorska Street. Since 1899, the store was located in a prestigious building at 150 Marszałkowska Street, one of the main thoroughfares of the city. The range of goods on offer encompassed luxury garments and accessories for female clients – from ribbons to furs. Models were imported from renowned Paris ateliers several times a year; they were also sewn on site in Warsaw, often on the basis of the owner’s designs. Shopping was made easier with the assistance of trained personnel. The company enjoyed its heyday at the turn of the 20th century; its popularity declined during the years between the two World Wars.
At that time, the firm faced competition from the elegant fashion house of Boguchwał Myszkorowski and the Jabłkowski Brothers Department Store for the less affluent client base, amongst other companies. The Bogusław Herse Fashion House was run for nearly seventy years by three generations of the Herse family, being amongst the most recognised companies in Warsaw. It received mentions in fashion journals, as well as diaries and memoirs, on an ongoing basis. The formal blouse is one of several garments from the fashion house in the holdings of the Museum of Warsaw.