Choix des Dernières Créations de Manby

Those who have followed this blog for a while know that my interest is mainly American women’s sportswear. But that does not mean that I can’t look to other countries to see how women were adapting dress as sports for women became more popular. When I spotted this Manby catalog from 1892, I had to add it to my collection of print resources.

My high school French is more than a little rusty, but even I could figure out that this catalog was for tailored women’s garments for sports. The title page tells us that here are clothes for travel, campaign, promenade, sea bathing, riding, yachting, and hunting. Yes, I can relate to all that.

Le Touriste

Manby was located at 21 Rue Auber, and they advertised as a Maison Anglaise, specializing in tailored clothes for English clients. Later advertisements added Americans to the targeted clientele.

The catalog does not give a lot of information about each model offered for sale. I’m guessing that they knew the models their customers were after.

For the most part, the styles don’t look particularly French to me. In a way it seems like going to Paris only to eat at McDonalds.

The Doncaster

But it does give a great look at what English, and probably American, women were looking for in the way of sports clothing in the 1890s.

The Windsor
Constable jacket and skirt
Traveling cape

The clothes look to me as they could have been made in the United States until I got to the illustration on the back cover.

I’ve looked at a lot of images of American women in sportswear, and never have I seen anything that compares to the pants and short “skirt” worn in this illustration. I do have another French print, dated to the 1870s that shows a similar short dress over pants, but it is a caricature.

The artist is Louis Vallet.


Filed under Fashion Magazines, Sportswear

20 responses to “Choix des Dernières Créations de Manby

  1. allwaysinfashion

    How very interesting! Does it list the prices?


  2. Christine Seid

    They do look very English altho I don’t know what I would expect French fashion for these activities to look like at that time. I think “campagne” translates to countryside. The shooting ensemble reminds me of Robin Hood!


  3. Christina

    The Le Touriste ensemble is rather lovely. Unusual shoulder cape design. There is an overall lightness in the fashions perhaps created by the illustrator. 1892 is a significant date – Vogue magazine started-up. Abercrombie & Fitch opened.


  4. You’re always teaching me something new, Lizzie — great post!


  5. jacq staubs

    Just spectacular. I can’t stop studying these. The short coats over dresses/detail on cuffs and finishing. Thank you so much for this. Certainly brings me joy in this atmosphere.


  6. This is beautiful. I think at this time, English tailoring was regarded as the best, particularly for sportswear, so is it possible that it’s more a case of English-style tailoring aimed at French women?


  7. Deb Chowney

    Interesting and I’d say this department store was capitalizing on selling clothing for the English market from France (and the resulting status of a French label), especially given the names – Doncaster, Windsor and the Constable. Pierre Cardin trained as a tailor at Manby’s – possibly the same store?


  8. I am also amazed by that hunting outfit! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find photos of women wearing it?


  9. Eric Smith

    Do not ignore that the “Maison Anglaise” could also be marketing to the French as well. As I have found from reading Mitford and her contemporaries, who lived occasionally on both sides of the Channel, the French felt that clothes in the English style were often sturdier and much less expensive- value for money, especially when considering sporting clothes.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.