Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 328



Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

Page 328

grotesque and often immoderate styles were of the demimonde.

This article was the opening gun of the campaign, and this was quickly followed by a second equally convincing—both articles being written from the inside of the gilded circles of the couturiers’ shops. Madame Sarah Bernhardt was visiting the United States at the time, and Bok induced the great actress to verify the statements printed. She went farther and expressed amazement at the readiness with which the American woman had been duped; and indicated her horror on seeing American women of refined sensibilities and position dressed in the gowns of the déclassé street-women of Paris. The somewhat sensational nature of the articles attracted the attention of the American newspapers, which copied and commented on them; the gist of them was cabled over to Paris, and, of course, the Paris couturiers denied the charges. But their denials were in general terms; and no convincing proof of the falsity of the charges was furnished. The French couturier simply resorted to a shrug of the shoulder and a laugh, implying that the accusations were beneath his notice.

Bok now followed the French models of dresses and millinery to the United States, and soon found that for every genuine Parisian model sold in the large cities at least ten were copies, made in New York shops, but with the labels of the French dressmakers and milliners sewed on them. He followed the labels to their source, and discovered a firm one of whose specialties was the making of these labels bearing the names of the leading French


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