Room 9: bal, théâtre et ville : aller-retour
During the Belle Époque, fashion designers made their mark on the theater, but not the opera. At first, they limited themselves to the contemporary repertoire. Then, at the end of the 1890s, they lent their names to historical costumes. Producing fashionable costumes was very good publicity for the fashion houses, who were able to showcase all of their new creations. Each great actress had her own fashion designer, but she could change them at will. Marie-Thérèse Pierrat, for example, stayed faithful to the designer Redfern, unlike Cécile Sorel, who followed the evolution of fashion by regularly choosing a new label. Up until the end of the 1930s, there was no overarching coherence in the costumes for a particular performance, as there were very few designers who were able to create costumes for the entire production. The dressmakers' power was such that they could sometimes demand that the playwright include adverts in the script. During the interwar years, costume production followed a complicated process. While the costumes may have been designed by fashion designers, they were not necessarily sewn by them. This task fell to the theater's dressmakers or to specialists. On the other hand, Charles Bétout, the wardrobe master for the Comédie-Française theater between 1919 and 1939, sketched costume designs that were then created by the actresses' chosen fashion house.