The young Pauline Trigère dreams of becoming a surgeon. Instead, she masters the art of Couture.
Pauline Trigère is born in Paris to Cécile, a dressmaker, and Alexandre, a tailor that crafts bespoke suits for émigré Russian aristocrats. Trigère designs her first dress in her early teens, however at this age she is more interested in becoming a surgeon than in designing fashion. Her father Alexandre forbids her from studying medicine.
The birthplace of couture.
After graduating from Collège Victor Hugo near Paris in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Trigère begins working in the salon of Martial & Armand. The Parisian Couture House is located in the Place Vendôme, where Trigère masters the rarefied techniques of Haute-Couture cut and construction.
New beginnings in the new world.
Concerned with the rise of Hitler, Pauline Trigère and her husband resolve to leave Paris with their two infant children. The family embarks for Buenos Aires. In what was to be a brief stopover in New York, Trigère is enraptured by the city. She and her family determine to settle in Manhattan. Trigère recalled; ‘’New York captured my heart”. The couturière’s talent is quickly noticed and she is offered work at several New York fashion houses.
The birth of the legend.
Vehemently opposed to his young wife working, Pauline Trigère’s husband unexpectedly deserts her and their children. Relying upon talent and determination, Trigère establishes her own New York Maison de Couture. Madame borrows $1500 and sells a pair of her diamond earrings from her personal jewellery collection to finance the new business. Her impeccable mastery of French styling attracts important couture customers and major retail buyers across North America and Europe. Within three years the House of Trigère is widely renowned.
Trigère is crowned the queen of couture.
Anointed by the press as “The Queen of Fashion”, Pauline Trigère assumes her rightful position at the apex of New York Couture. Often referred to as “America’s Coco Chanel”, Trigère is sophisticated, elegant, and never afraid to speak her mind; a larger-than-life personality who embodies the essence of timeless, gallic chic. With her signature dark glasses, perfectly coiffed grey hair, and throaty French accent, Trigère dominates New York fashion for more than 50 years.
Legends wear Trigère
Fascination with Trigère continues to grow. Madame dresses the most elegant women of her day. Both Hollywood stars and European royalty worship the Cult of Trigère. Her couture clients include Grace Kelly, The Duchess of Windsor, Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis, Lee Radziwill, Lena Horne, Elizabeth Taylor, Josephine Baker, Mrs. John Hay Whitney, Evelyn Lauder, Nancy Kissinger, Happy Rockefeller, Dina Merrill, Bette Davis and Catherine Deneuve. Sophisticated, Elegant, and timeless, Trigère fuses the legacies of European and American Haute-Couture. Her accolades are many: three Coty Awards, inclusion in the Coty Hall of Fame, the National Cotton Council Award, The Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. In addition to the haute couture, Maison Trigère introduces prêt-à-porter, parfums, lingerie, and haute-joaillerie collections.
Madame Trigère creates history as she designs for Hollywood and breaks down racial barriers.
In the midst of the civil rights era, Trigère makes history in becoming the first major House to hire an African-American model, Beverly Valdes, as house model. In response to retail accounts that consequently cancel their orders, Pauline Trigère scoffs, “We won’t miss them.” Pauline Trigère, along with Hubert de Givenchy, is appointed to design the wardrobes of the iconic Hollywood film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Adapted from a novella by Truman Capote and staring Audrey Hepburn and Patricia Neal, the film is an elegant, timeless masterpiece that continues to enchant.
Trigère is honoured by her native France with it’s highest award and distinctions.
The signature parfum “TRIGÈRE Liquid Chic” is launched. Pauline Trigère receives both the Silver and the Vermeil medals of the City of Paris as well as the French Legion of Honour, the highest distinction that can be conferred to a French civilian.
Trigère dresses Meryl Streep for her triumphant Oscar win.
Meryl Streep wears Trigère Couture while accepting her first Oscar for her performance in “Kramer vs. Kramer”. Trigère creates a bespoke white gown and matching high-collared jacket for Streep to wear to the 1980 Academy Awards. The ensemble is hand embroidered with tiny, colourful square embellishments on the bust and along the jacket’s length.
The glitterati gather to celebrate Madame Trigère.
Madame Trigère becomes the first designer to celebrate fifty years of continual business activity in the fashion industry. In 1992 she is commemorated with a retrospective show of her work and is fêted with a legendary ball in her honour at Lincoln Center, attended by royalty, social luminaries and Hollywood celebrities. The Council of Fashion Designers of America bestows Trigère with the Lifetime Achievement Award. A retrospective exhibition is held at the Kent State University Museum, the repository of several of her earliest garments and sketchbooks that chronicle each of her early collections. Trigère is further immortalized with an induction into the New York Fashion Walk of Fame. Pauline Trigère officially retires at age 85.
Trigere’s passing marks the end of the era of elegance.
Time finally catches up with Madame Trigére in February 2002, when the 93-year-old couturière passes away at her New York City home on Central Park West. She’d told friends that she had left instructions that she wanted to be cremated wearing her trademark bright red lipstick. ‘’What does it matter?’’ one friend asked. ‘’Who will know whether or not you have lipstick on?’’ ‘’I’ll know’’, she replied.
A new generation of iconic women worship Trigère.
Trigère is one of the most sought after names in the world of collectible vintage couture. Coveted on both sides of the Atlantic, the worlds most celebrated style icons, including Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker and Giovanna Battaglia cultivate an emotional connection to Maison Trigère and are photographed knowingly wearing heritage Trigère couture. Harper’s Bazaar cites Winona Ryder’s black velvet Trigère couture gown at the the 2001 Academy Awards as the #1 red-carpet dress of all time.
Franklin Benjamin Elman heralds in a new era of creation and innovation at the mythic couture house.
Reawakened under the careful guidance of Creative Director Franklin Benjamin Elman, Maison Trigère enters it’s eighth illustrious decade and is reintroduced to a new generation of Trigère women.