The Artists

The costume designers whose sketches are now in the Piollet Collection were full-fledged artists. They all studied at a graphic arts school and many exhibited regularly at the great European salons. This training accounts for their talent and why they left us such varied and accomplished works. It is difficult to find information about all of the designers, for they did not necessarily have the renown of an Erté or a Doumergue, despite their often abundant production.
The Piollet Collection comes mainly from the workshop of the costume-maker Max Weldy. Weldy, who founded his company in 1918 at 18 rue Saunier close to the Folies Bergère, had a talent for selecting the best European artists.
He then became the main costume-maker on the Parisian stage, replacing the Maison Pascaud, and rapidly achieved international significance. He worked mainly for the Folies Bergère from 1919 to 1937, but also for the entire world, all the way to the United States, Bombay, Calcutta, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Oslo, London, Madrid, Buenos Aires etc. His work amounted to about one and a half million costumes per year! His great idea was to obtain copyright to reproduce several costumes from a single design. The designers appreciated this approach because they received royalties on costumes which travelled the entire world. As the war grew closer, Weldy, apparently of Jewish origins, emigrated to Florida where he opened a new workshop (1939). He worked mainly for the great American circuses. He retired in 1970 and died a few years later.

The most famous costume designer in our collection is Erté (or Romain de Tirtoff). After a few years working for Poiret, Erté worked for the Rasimi house from 1916 to 1919. He then worked for Max Weldy, who gave him the opportunity of creating costumes and sets for the Folies Bergère between 1919 and 1935 as well as an introduction to Broadway. Weldy’s influence determined Erté’s career, in Paris as well as New York.

Erté Edouard Halouze
Jean Aumond Joseph Kuhn-Régnier
George Barbier Jean le Seyeux
Charles Bétout Alberto Lorenzi
Umberto Brunelleschi Marco Montedoro
Jenny Carré René Ranson
Louis Curti Paul Seltenhammer
L. Dany Barry Joop Geesink
Ladislas Czettel Alec Shanks
Endré Dolly Tree
Borge Fischer Hugh Willoughby
Charles Gesmar Freddy Wittop
Macha Prochaska Revolg
Ernst Stern Olga Wivdenko
Felix de Gray José de Zamora
Michel Gyarmathy ZIG
Alexandre Zinoview Autres dessinateurs

Erté Erté, Through his Slavic genius, and inspired by sixteenth-century Persian and Indian miniature paintings, Erté had a seminal influence not only on the style of theatrical costumes, but also on the Art Déco style. He is estimated to have produced around 25,000 sketches. Erté died in 1990 at the age of 98, after a long and prestigious international career. Up
Jean Aumond Jean Aumond (French, active from 1919 to 1965) Considered one of the most brilliant and productive costume designers for Parisian music hall, Aumond designed costumes for all the most prestigious theatres: the Casino de Paris, the Concert Mayol, the Bataclan, the Ambassadeurs, the Marigny, the Folies Bergère and the Palace. Up
George Barbier George Barbier Inspired by Russian Ballet, Barbier began his career in 1913 by illustrating books about dancers of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes: Nijinsky and Karsavina. Like Erté, he is considered one of the founders of Art Déco. He also worked for great fashion designers such as Worth, Lanvin and Poiret. Barbier designed costumes for many Parisian theatres as well as for the cinema.Up
Charles Bétout Charles Bétout (French, 1869-1945) Bétout was the principal costume designer of the Comédie Française from 1919 to 1939. He also created costumes for great operas and historical films and was famous for his seventeenth and eighteenth-century costumes. Bétout sometimes worked for music hall, particularly the Folies Bergère from 1925 to 1931.Up
Umberto Brunelleschi Umberto Brunelleschi(1879-1949) A painter by training, Brunelleschi sometimes illustrated books and periodicals. He worked for the Bataclan from 1914 to 1922, then for the Folies Bergère from 1923 to 1936 and for La Scala in Milan. After the war, he is said to have lost his style and devoted himself to illustrating erotic editions.Up
Raymond Fost
Maquette de Fost
Jenny Carré (1902-1945), The daughter of a theatre director and an opera singer, Jenny Carré knew show business very well and made her début at 17. From 1919 to 1928 she designed costumes for the Gaîté Lyrique, then for many theatres such as the Concert Mayol, the Palace, and the Casino de Paris. She and her collaborator Raymond Fost were considered among the most appreciated designers of the 1930s. Jenny Carré also worked for the Ziegfeld Follies in New York, the London Palladium and several cinema studios. It is thought she realised 32,000 designs. Up
Louis Curti Louis Curti (born in England, active from 1926 to 1949) Curti worked for most of the great Parisian music halls, in particular the Palace, the Casino de Paris, the Folies Bergère and the Châtelet. Coming back to London, he worked for the London Hippodrome, the Apollo, the Piccadilly, the London Palladium and the Prince of Wales.Up
Ladislas Czettel Ladislas Czettel (Hungarian origin, 1904-1949) Czettel was a student of Baskt and a collaborator of Poiret. He worked for several European theatres but also for the Folies Bergère and the Palace. His particularity was to create costumes in three minutes, directly onto the actors or dancers. As soon as war broke out, he left for the United States where he worked for MGM, the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway theatres and the Barnum circuses.Up
L. Dany Barry L. Dany Barry (French, 19..?-1937) Barry worked for the revues at the Folies Bergère from 1930 to 1934 and for the Concert Mayol in 1935. He died suddenly in 1937, shortly after the end of his military service. He signed his sketches with his first name: Dany. Up
Joop Geesink Joop Geesink (Dutch, 1913-1980)Up
Endré Endré (Italian, 1905-1993) Born to a Russian mother and an Italian father, Endré arrived in Paris after the Soviet revolution. He then worked for the Folies Bergère and a few other theatres. His family’s fortune having disappeared in the Wall Street crash, he had to lead a rather adventurous life. He taught several spiritual disciplines in Milan, Mexico and Los Angeles, where he became a guru and founded his own school. Up
Borge Fischer Borge Fischer (Danish, 1903-1936?) Fisher grew up in Boston where his family had settled. From 1927 to 1935 he realised costumes for several revues at the Folies Bergère and a few other theatres. His latest known sketches date back to 1936. Up
Charles Gesmar Charles Gesmar(French, 1900-1928) Gesmar, whose career was cut short by his early death at the age of 28, designed costumes for the Folies Bergère but also for several other theatres such as the Bataclan, the Marigny, and the Casino de Paris. He was the head designer of the Olympia but above all he was the principal costume designer of Mistinguett, who took care of him like her own son.Up
Félix de Gray Félix de Gray (French, 1889-active until 1932) Félix de Gray worked mostly for the Folies Bergère and a few other theatres, while illustrating magazines for publishing houses in Paris and London. Up
Michel Gyarmathy Michel Gyarmathy (Hungarian, 1908-1996) An uninterrupted career of 58 years – a record! Gyarmathy started his activity in 1934. In 1936 he became the only designer of the Folies Bergère, and its director in 1946. Along with Gesmar and Le Seyeux, he is one of the artists who conceived revues from beginning to end. He created several systems for stage effects which were used in many theatres. Up
Edouard Halouze Edouard Halouze(French, 1895-1958) Halouze became well-known for introducing the idea of cubism into fashion and theatrical costuming, and for his contribution to the development of the 1925 (Art Déco) style. He worked for a great many music halls from 1922 to 1931 and illustrated a range of periodicals, in particular fashion magazines. He was rediscovered when Art Déco was rehabilitated at the end of the 1960s. Up
Joseph Kuhn-Régnier Joseph Kuhn-Régnier (French, 1873-1940) He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and joined the Société du Salon d’automne and the Société des Dessinateurs humoristiques. He illustrated children’s books and promoted graphic arts, notably through his participation in an advertisement for Floréine beauty cream. He was also one of Jenny Carré’s teachers. Up
Jean le Seyeux Jean le Seyeux(French, 1894-1957) Le Seyeux began in 1920 by designing costumes for the Bataclan, then for the Rip revues, the Concert Mayol and the Folies Bergère. From 1921 to 1929 he worked for the Casino de Paris, where he also created revues. He often worked for Marigny, then in 1932 he went back to the the Folies Bergère where he stayed until 1934. In 1937, with the first signs of war appearing, he left for New York, where he worked at the Earl Carroll’s Hollywood Theatre, at the Monte Proser’s and as artistic director on Broadway. He went back to Paris in the early 1950s. Like Gesmar and De Gyarmathy, he was often involved in the elaboration of a revue.Up
Alberto Lorenzi Alberto Lorenzi (Italian, 1880-1964) More a poster than a costume designer, he exhibited at the Salon des Humoristes, the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants. He worked for the Folies Bergère. He made elegant and sophisticated illustrations for humoristic periodicals and for the most famous fashion magazines of the time, as well as for serious books. After the 1930s he devoted himself exclusively to painting.Up
Marco Montedoro Marco Montedoro (Italian, 1887-1947) Montedoro was considered a child prodigy. Born to a family of musicians, he was sent to Paris as a teenager to complete his learning of drawing and painting. He worked in Paris for some time, then in 1913 he became the artistic director of the Metropole in Berlin. During the First World War, he went back to Italy where he designed posters for the theatre and the cinema. He came back to Paris in 1923 and designed costumes for the Palace, the Ambassadeurs, the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergère. He also worked in Poland, Berlin, London and St Petersburg. At the beginning of the 1930s, he went to New York and worked for the Schuberts. From 1932 to 1947 he became a designer at the Radio City Music Hall, in collaboration with Vincente Minelli.Up
Macha Prochaska Macha Prochaska (Russian, active in Paris in 1936-1937) She worked for the Folies Bergère in 1936, and for the revues at the Châtelet in 1936-1937.Up
Revolg (English?, active between 1936 to 1942) He worked for the 1936 revue of the Folies Bergère, then for the London Palladium in 1937 and the Casino de Paris in 1942.Up
René Ranson René Ranson (French, 1888-1977) Ranson is considered one of the greatest heirs of the Russian ballets. He worked for the Folies Bergère from 1924 to 1932 and for a plethora of other European and American theatres (Opéra, Châtelet, Opéra-comique…). He also worked for several cinema studios: Paramount, Fow, Pathé… A member of the Club des Cent, for which he designed the menus, he also participated in the Bal de l’Opéra and the Bal des Quat’z’arts and was one of the founders of the artists’ Montmartre. During the Second World War, he joined the Resistance and illustrated some of its publications. Up
Paul Seltenhammer Paul Seltenhammer(Austrian, 1903-1973) Seltenhammer studied applied arts at the University of Vienna and began his career in local theatres. He arrived in Paris in 1928 and worked for the Folies Bergère from 1929 to 1934. At the first signs of the war, he went back to Austria then went to Germany where he continued his career as a designer. During the 1950s and 1960s he mainly created costumes for film and television studios.Up
Alec Shanks Alec Shanks(English, 1904-1987) Shanks began by working for the Birmingham Theatre Royal, then arrived in Paris where he designed costumes for the Moulin Rouge in 1926. He first collaborated with Erté then worked freelance for Max Weldy, creating costumes for the Folies Bergère (1929 to 1932). He designed the new interior of the theatre, which contributed to his renown. In the 1930s he returned to Great Britain and became production manager for several London theatres, and occasionally for those in New York and Paris. At the end of the 1930s he opened his own costume house, sometimes employing Erté. He was famous for going over budget… Up
Ernst Stern Ernst Stern (German, 1876-1954) Of Romanian origins, Stern worked as a set designer for several Berlin theatres between 1900 and 1920. Up
Dolly Tree Dolly Tree(English, 1899-1962) The daughter of a cinema actress, Dolly Tree rapidly became famous in the 1920s by designing costumes for various revues of European theatres (in London, Madrid, Rome, Brussels…). She also worked for the Folies Bergère (1919-1929), the Concert Mayol and the Ambassadeurs. She worked in English cinema in 1930 and later for Hollywood. Through her creations for great artists such as Jean Harlow, Judy Garland, Lana Turner and many more, she acquired an international reputation. Up
Hugh Willoughby Hugh Willoughby (English, 1891-1973) Willoughby was sent to the front during the war and spent two years as a prisoner of war. Once free, he worked for the Palace in London. He arrived in Paris in 1920 and from then until the end of 1925 he designed the costumes of the revues at the Marigny, the Casino de Paris, the Folies Bergère and occasionally at English theatres. In the late 1930s he emigrated to the United States and created his own theatrical costume house in New York.Up
Olga Wivdenko Olga Wivdenko (Ukrainian, 1892-1972?) A symbolist painter, icon painter, decorator and writer, Vivdenko studied in Kiev, her native city. She completed her studies in Paris at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Infected with tuberculosis, she went back to the Ukraine. She returned to Paris in 1919 and worked as a decorator, notably at the Comédie Française. She exhibited in the various great salons: Salon des Indépendants, Salon d’Automne, Salon des Artistes Décorateurs. She also exhibited at the 1925 Arts Décoratifs exhibition and the 1937 international exhibition. In the 1920s, she joined archaeological expeditions in Bulgaria and Egypt as an icon painter. In 1953, Vivdenko settled in Spain and presented around ten personal exhibitions in Madrid and Barcelona. She published and illustrated an album entitled “Femmes au destin tragique” ("Women of Tragic Destiny"), wrote articles in the “Vozrozheniye” (“Renaissance”) newspaper, and wrote her memoirs: “Le Livre de l’Amour et des sept morts” (“The Book of Love and the Seven Deaths”). Up
Freddy Wittop Freddy Wittop (Dutch, 1911-2001) Wittop learnt to design costumes at 13 at the Brussels Opera. After working for several Belgian theatres, he went to Paris in 1930 and designed costumes for the Folies Bergère (1931 to 1936), then for various theatres in London and New York. He settled in New York in 1940, acquired American citizenship in 1942 and enrolled in the army. A professional dancer for eight years, he worked exclusively as a designer from 1958 onwards. He became one of the main designers of Broadway, Holiday On Ice and at least 80 musicals. He is said to have sketched around 50,000 costumes. He received several awards for Hello Dolly. Up
José de Zamora José de Zamora (Spanish, 1890-1971) José de Zamora started with Paul Poiret for whom he designed many models, often unjustly attributed to Poiret himself. As early as the 1920s, he developed his talent for the Casino de Paris (1920-1921), the Bataclan, the Concert Mayol (1922-1927), the Palace (1923-1928), the Moulin Rouge (1924-1927) and the Folies Bergère (1926-1929). In the thirties the Spanish Civil War took him back to Spain. He reappeared in 1940, working at the Casino de Paris until 1961 and at the Mogador (1947-1957). In the mid-1960s he returned to Spain and committed suicide in 1971, following the preparation of an exhibition about his work. Up
ZIG ZIG (French, 190?-1936) Born Louis Gaudin, ZIG was about 16 when he started to work for the Cigale in 1922. For a long time he worked for the Casino de Paris (1925-1936) and the Folies Bergère (1927-1933), notably designing posters for Mistinguett and Josephine Baker. It was he who became Mistinguett’s favourite designer after Gesmar’s death.Up
Alexandre Zinoview Alexandre Zinoview(Russian 1889-1977) Zinoview quickly understood that music hall had to renew its revues two or three times a year. In the twenties he worked for the Bataclan (1919-1923), the Folies Bergère (1920-1923), the Cigale (1922-1924) and the Palace (1923-1925). After the thirties he returned to a style of painting rich in symbols and Prussian blue, influenced by his friends Picasso and Diego Rivera. In the fifties he settled in the south of France and immersed himself in painting alpine landscapes. Up
Other artists in the Piollet Collection:

Adrian | Bartoli | Belog | Bérard | Cando | Hadyre | Herbetin | Kainer | Korovine | Hermance Laplace | Luska | Suzanne Mc Clay | Serge Magnin | Mariane Malher | Melallingo | Robert Néron | Opisso | Nina Oulian | Palo-G.Panis | Ada B.Peacock | Peras | Pottier | Renée | Souée | Schouschaeff | Valentine Sonone | Steck | Stern | Valmier | Gérard Vicaire | Viginier | Ted Weidhaas | Cédric Wytz | Yo | Alexei Zaibrow | Zinkeiser


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