This is the first in a series looking at each of the dancers the dresses are inspired by. The dresses have always been named after inspirational, iconic women, ever since the label started 10 years ago, and now it’s part of our ethos and branding. It’s a fashionable homage to great, creative women who helped to shape our world today in their artistic spheres and our brides love to hear their stories too.
The current campaign featuring a real ballerina called Kate Byrne, was the most natural choice. An idea born during a fun, creative brainstorming session with conceptual fashion photographer, Oliver Prout when searching for concepts whilst delving into inspirations behind the dresses from a bygone age, combining classic glamour with modern lines. Read more about how this shoot came to be here.
Geneviève Gosselin was a French prima ballerina at the Ballet de l’Opera in Paris in the 1820’s during the Regency age, a post Regency era of romance beloved by Jane Austen. Geneviève was credited for being the pioneer of dancing ‘en pointe’ – on tiptoes.
Geneviève was the daughter of a ballet master, and the eldest sister of many renowned dancers of the Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris in the 1810s, 1820s and 1830s – Constance Gosselin, wife of the dancer Anatole; Louis Gosselin, premier danseur at Paris and London; Henriette Gosselin, dancer at the Opéra from 1821 to 1830.
A student of Jean-François Coulon, Geneviève Gosselin was taken on at the Opéra de Paris in 1806. In 1815, she was the heroine of Flore et Zéphire, one of the first romantic ballets, composed by Didelot. Excellent in technique, she was the first dancer to develop the art of rising on pointes, from 1813, but she sadly died at the young age of 27. Her legacy lives on as Marie Taglioni took on her mantel and transformed ballet as we know it – and there’s a Marie dress coming in the new collection too.
The Geneviève dress is reminiscent of the post Regency and romantic era with a lower waistline to the already popular empire line aesthetic at the time, and a soft a-line skirt, a big 1820’s trend for wider skirts at the hem compared to the earlier more clinging and free flowing styles. Necklines were wide and open with sleeves, and the Geneviève is no different, with its wide scoop neck and delicate cap sleeves. Its one of our most popular dresses and a dress that is here to stay in the collection for as long as brides want her.