Beril Jents

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Beril Jents (1918 – June 2013)[1] was an Australian fashion designer. She is recognized as "Australia’s first queen of haute couture"
Published Date : 2/6/2015
By :PK Mart


Beril Jents:

Beril Jents (1918 – June 2013) was an Australian fashion designer. She is recognized as "Australia’s first queen of haute couture" and specialized in evening and bridal wear, although the term "haute couture" is not strictly correct in this context as it refers to high-end made-to-measure fashion design. She was noted in hundreds of features in newspapers and advertisements during her career from the 1930s to 1980s and was patronized by socialites and creatives; the majority from Sydney and Brisbane. International clients included Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Gaynor, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Vivien Leigh, Eartha Kitt, Bo Derek and Winifred Atwell. Jents was almost unique as an Australian fashion designer during the '40s and '50s as she did not just copy European or Parisian styles but produced original work. She was recognized by her contemporaries such as Norman Hartnell. Her most notable and original collections include the Potato Sack of 1947 and Pan Am collection of 1948. Important designs included the peg-bottom trousers inspired by the Zoot Suit. Jents' work has been collected by the Powerhouse Museum and the National Gallery of Victoria.


Jents came from a modest background in Sydney, born in 1918. She assisted her mother, Alice Strudwick, in dressmaking and thus first learnt her skills at her side, also acquiring her mother’s knowledge of materials. She was an outsider and initially unfamiliar with the high society that she would one day serve. Her next role was as a trainee lithographic artist at Hollander and Govett, Sydney. She then undertook an apprenticeship with Sydney based French dressmaker Madame Gallet. Here she learnt to cut without a pattern. Gallet closed the business and returned to France in 1934. At the age of 16 Jents opened her studio in Charing Cross, Waverley, Sydney. She then moved to the corner of Newland Street, Bondi Junction. For the following 10 years she produced made-to-measure garments for a select clientele. She was acclaimed for the way she cut and constructed sleeves in jackets. In 1944 the business was formally registered and located in King’s Cross, at the time a very bohemian area. Jents collaborated with Sydney-based actors such as Noël Coward and Sir Robert Helpmann. She designed for the leading theatrical plays of her era including The Reluctant Debutante, Call Me Madam, Simon and Laura and Nude with Violin.

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