Born: London, England, 1891
Died: Monaco, France, 1974
Edward Molyneux initially set out to be an artist but, in 1911, he won a competition to draw for London couturier Lucile, who subsequently employed him as an illustrator. When she opened her stores in New York and Chicago, Molyneux went with her where he remained until the outbreak of World War 1.
In 1914 he joined the British Army attaining the rank of Captain. Injured three times, his wounds resulted in the loss of one eye. Molyneux was awarded the Military Cross for bravery.
Molyneux opened his own couture house in Paris in 1919. His fluid and elegant clothes were a immeadiate success. He opened further stores in Monte Carlo, Cannes and London attracting notable cliental such as the Duchess of Windsor. With a flair for business, he opened two successful nightclubs where he enjoyed a flamboyant social life.
At the beginning on World War 2 Molyneux escaped from Bordeaux, France on a fishing boat. He continued to work from his London House with his profits gifted to the Exchequer. Most notably at this time, Molynuex used zips in his designs to mould the figure.
In 1946 Molyneux returned to Paris, re-opening his couture house. He expanded his product line adding fur, lingerie, perfumes and millinery. Three years later he closed his London house due to ill health. In 1950 he appointed Jacques Griffe in charge of the Paris operations enabling him to fully retire. The same year Molyneux was the first dress designer awarded the title of Royal Designer for Industry.
Molyneux was persuaded to re-open his house in Paris in 1965 as Studio Molyneux presenting a ready-to-wear collection to the USA. However, his classic designs were far from the new youth obsessed style of the 60s and the project was not successful. He then appointed his nephew, John Tullis, to take over the designs and again retired.
Edward Molyneux’s fashion house was described by former employee Pierre Balmain as “a temple of subdued elegance”. With a reputation for exquisite taste, he created discrete, ladylike clothes in softly tailored suits, pleated skirts and printed silks. Classic colours of white, grey, beige and navy were a favourite of the respected couturier.
Edward Molyneux Biograhpy