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Main Rousseau Bocher

            Main Rousseau Bocher was born in Chicago on October 24, 1890. He attended the University of Chicago only for his freshman year and finished his degree at the Academy of Fine Arts, after the passing of his father. In 1918, Bocher enlisted and served in Paris, France during WWI, after the war he decided to stay and work for Harpers Bazaar as an illustrator. By 1922, he joined French Vogue; five years later he was assigned Editor in Chief.
             His years working in the fashion magazine industry influenced him to become a couturier. Shortly after the promotion of his new position, Bocher resigned from French Vogue to become a designer. Bocher joined his names to create his new label; Mainbocher. Mainbocher opened his Maison de Couture at 12 Avenue George V, and became the first American to become a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. .
             His designs consisted of keeping the woman and the role she plays in life in mind. Making women looking like ladies from head to toe was his aspiration. He designed for an exclusive and wealthy clientele. Duchess of Windsor's was one of his most elite clients. She married in 1937 wearing a Mainbocher gown, which is now an art piece at MET.
             His first collections were started from narrow bias cut slip dresses in black or white patterned silks. Afterwards, he produced collection of evening dresses out of cotton. In 1934, Mainbocher introduced the first strapless gown in black satin. In the late 1930's his designs consisted of curvy silhouettes, big sleeves, ruffles, and trains. He then went on to introduce the cinched in wasp waist in his last Paris collection in 1940. He reintroduced the Victorian corset, which created the wasp waist and defined the bosom. Bocher relocated his business to New York on 57th street right next to Tiffany's where he established "Mainbocher Inc." Having achieved fame from dressing some of the world's most famous women, Bocher began being commissioned to design costumes for various plays and musicals, such as Blithe Spirit, Mary Martin, The Sound of Music and Private Lives to name a few.

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