The Belle Epoque style - a blend of Victorian Gothic and Art Nouveau


From bat-wing collars to leg-o’-mutton sleeves, the fashions of the Belle Époque and Fin de Siecle (end of the 19th century) were elegant, flamboyant and delightful. This was the era of Art Nouveau, and the trend for sensuous and curvaceous lines was perfectly complemented with large-rimmed hats and tall toppers. Further accessories included parasols and canes, hairpins, umbrellas and gloves.
composite picture of various styles and fashions from the Belle Epoque era.
The style and sophistication of the Belle Époque.
hair comb in art-nouveau style
Art-nouveau comb. Or how even the most ordinary objects became works of art.
woman in tight fabric dress, curvaceous in belle epoque era style
The art-nouveau style was all about sinuous, curvaceous lines, particularly in female fashion.
vase with white lily motif, green glass material, long
Art Nouveau-Vase. Austria. c.1900.
extravagant style of bed with shell motif headboard
Extravagant bed belonging to 19th-Century courtesan 'La Païva'
Belle-Epoque era gentleman in suit, dark background, spectacles
This portrait of Joseph Chaimberlain by John Singer Sargent, 1896, shows the typical formal male fashion of the times, with bat wing collar and black tie.
elegant entrance to subway in glass and iron
One of the celebrated entrances to the Paris Metro designed in art-nouveau style.
doorway with spectacular gold and red surrounds
A spectacular art-nouveau doorway in Paris.
young Edwardian gentleman with moustache, sombre clothing, black suit
Portrait of Léon Delafosse, by John Singer Sargent, 1895.
sepia tone photo of famous Parisian celebrity, female in profile, in dark clothing and hat
Cléo de Mérode.
portrait of woman, face on, in thoughtful pose, dark clothing
La Meditation, Jean Beraud, 1894. A great example of the leg-o'-mutton (or gigot) sleeves popular in female fashion at the time.
full-length portrait of elderly Edwardian gentleman, top hat, tall
John Singer Sargent's portrait of Lord Ribblesdale, 1902