n°162/ Klimt's Muse

March 2015

by Nathalie Azoulai

First a seamstress, then a fashion designer, Emilie tied up a partnership with her elder sister Pauline. After 1904, she established herself as a successful businesswoman and the owner of the haute couture fashion salon known as Schwestern Flöge (Flöge Sisters) in one of the major Viennese streets, the Mariahilfer Strasse. Influenced by Paris and London designers, Emilie would watch closely Coco Chanel's creations as well as Art Nouveau. So that,  when, in the 1890s, Gustav Klimt got in contact with Emilie through his brother and her sister, he soon became part of the Flöge family and business. Gustav and Emily would design together avant-garde gowns that would not sell too well, except through Klimt's paintings that are so full of Emilie, gowns and couture patterns. When he died from a stroke on 11 January 1918, his last words reportedly were, "Get Emilie". No wonder such a haunting muse still inspires artists and designers. Just have a look at last Valentino's collection that did pay tribute to Emilie through its wide range of graphic black and white patterns.

 Emilie Flöge