Jeanne Hallée Cluny lace bodice, c.1900
The French couturière Jeanne Hallée was known for delicate creations of silk chiffon and/or lace. The bodice is fashioned from handmade Cluny lace over bronzed gold lamé. In the black silk Hallée bodice below, we can see a similar feminine treatment in a different fabric.
The lace bodice, which probably had a matching skirt of Cluny lace, must have made a spectacular impression when first worn. Pieces by Jeanne Hallée are a special find for the serious collector. Her work, rarer than that of Worth, is quite difficult to find. With its exquisite detail, our dramatic bodice will enrich any collection.
The collar is embellished with horizontal bands of gold lamé and decorative cut-steel buttons set with rhinestones. The front opening has black chiffon panels sandwiched between the lace and the lamé. The panels form a cummerbund around the back waist.
The bodice is lined with ivory taffeta and is boned on the seams. It closes in front with hooks. The label reads "Jeanne Hallée/3 Rue Ville Levreque(?)/Paris." The street name is covered with stitching and difficult to read.
The first picture down presents the haunting, mesmeric design with two different oval motifs in two parallel rows, alternating the horizontal and vertical orientation of the motifs—an harmonious symphony in lace!
Cluny lace is a much loved Victorian handmade bobbin lace. It is worked in linen thread and features braided bars and small petal-shaped wheat ears. Cluny refers to the Cluny Museum in Paris, where a collection of 16th century Genoese bobbin laces was exhibited in the 19th century. They inspired French lace makers to imitate the patterns and create a "new" continuous lace.
The condition is almost excellent. The buttons have missing rhinestones. The lining has a few splits, particularly in the shoulder area, which is stable and not shattering.
It measures: 32" bust, 26" waist, 12 1/2" collar circumference, and 15" from shoulder to waist.