François Ducharne (French, n.d.), owner of the luxury textile company Soieries F. Ducharne, sold his colorful printed dress silks in France and the United States. Ducharne started his business in Lyon, France in 1920, likely inspired by the successful and profitable collaborations between artists and textile manufacturers such as Raoul Dufy’s (French, 1877–1953) partnership with Bianchini-Férier as well as Paul Poiret’s (French, 1879–1944) production of student designs for textiles, carpets and wallcoverings made at his school Atelier Martine.

Initially, Ducharne worked closely with the French designer Michel Dubost (French, 1879–1952), who served as chief designer from 1922 to 1933. During this period, they produced a beautiful woven piece for Ducharne’s pavilion at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. Together they created luxury woven textiles for fashion and haute couture that were beautiful, sophisticated, and technically complex. After 1925, as women’s fashions became lighter and more streamlined, Ducharne’s complex Jacquard-woven fabrics fell out of favor. Ducharne recognized the shift taking place and quickly began producing lightweight printed dress silks. This sample book from 1940 shows how florals, always a fashion staple, were given new life with designs that emphasized bright, saturated colors and bold, graphic lines that gave an expressive and modernist flair to the designs of this period.

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