Bard Graduate Center Logo Why Come to Hear Corinne Thépaut-Cabasset?

Corinne Thépaut-Cabasset (Palace of Versailles, BGC Research Fellow 2017) will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Monday, October 21, at 12:15 pm. Her talk is entitled, “The Marchands de Modes, or The Fashion Makers in Eighteenth-Century Paris.”

In his 1773 Dictionnaire raisonné universel des arts et métiers, Pierre Jaubert describes “The Marchand(e) de Modes [as one who] assembles and garnishes headdresses and, according to the fashion of the day, sews and arranges the embellishments such as gauze, ribbons, lattice, cut-out fabrics, furs, etc. on dresses and skirts and alters the shape of such ornaments to satisfy the tastes of the slaves to fashion.” The most well-known marchande de modes in the history of fashion is Rose Bertin, the so-called “minister of fashion” because of her services to the Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette. The rise of these influential artisans and their shops in the middle of the eighteenth century promoted consumption by encouraging the purchase of new garments and accessories among both elite women and a wider audience, and led to the establishment of an independent guild in 1776. The emergence of the marchands de modes evolved simultaneously with the creation of a regular fashion press in the late 1770s, with La Galerie des Modes (1778-1787) and Le Cabinet des modes (1785-1793).

Focusing on Mlle de Saint-Quentin (about whom nothing has been written) and her shop “Au Magnifique” in the rue Saint-Honoré, this talk will discuss the art and trade of the marchands de modes in late eighteenth-century Paris, through a variety of understudied documents including fashion plates, portraits, and newspapers articles. The reputation of Saint-Quentin’s shop was ensured by the Journal de Paris (1777-92), a daily newspaper which informed its readers of the latest fashionable novelties, thus promoting the marchands de modes.

This talk will take place in the Seminar Room at 38 West 86th Street and is open to the BGC community and invited guests. Please RSVP to

Painting, La marchande des modes (The Modiste), oil on canvas, François Boucher, c. 1746, The Wallace Collection.