Emilie Louis Fölge is known for being Gustav Klimt’s muse and companion. However, in addition to being Klimt’s lover and collaborator, she was a successful fashion designer and businesswoman. She preceded Coco Channel as a revolutionary in the fashion world. Emilie opened her salon in Vienna in 1910 where she produced avant-garde designs which included empire waist garments, wide sleeves, and beautifully designed panels inspired by Hungarian and Slavic embroidery. She favored loose bodices like modern caftans making her part of the Reform Dress Movement. Fölge’s designs were successful when Vienna’s retail world was split between ready to wear sold to the masses in department stores and skilled tailors that served the elite class. Her “playful approach to retail design set a precedent for contemporary concept stores like Colette in Paris, 10 Corso Como in Milan, and Dover Street Market in London” (Harpers Bazaar).
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