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Augusta Bernard was born in Provence in 1886. She began her career as a dressmaker, copying couture designs in Biarritz.

She opened up a studio in Paris in 1922 and specialized in creating long simple gowns, often in pale/pastel colors and cut on the bias. She became very popular in the 1930s, known for her neoclassical evening dresses, helped in part by the Marquise de Paris winning the ‘most elegantly dressed’ award at St. Moritz, Switzerland wearing a silver lamé Bernard design in 1930.

Americans often travelled to Paris to shop with her. Vogue chose one of her gowns as the most beautiful dress of the year in 1932. Her dresses were immortalized by photographers Man Ray in 1933 and George Hoyningen-Huene in 1934. The Great Depression caused great difficulty for her business and she shut her shop and retired at the end of 1934. She died in 1946.

Written by Ian Drummond