Paris in Sydney

Henriette Lamotte brought some of the colour and excitement of Paris catwalks to downtown Sydney. Her glamorous salon shows and fashion parades were highly anticipated events in the Sydney social calendar. Featuring her own designs and the latest imports from Paris, the showings were often held in the luxurious surrounds of her salon or apartment – "in a setting as sophisticated as any Paris could offer" ('Paris in Sydney', Woman, 7 February 1955). The larger shows were held in fashionable restaurants and hotels. Her French poodle ‘Lillibelle’ was a regular feature at the events.

“Madame Lamotte…always manages to create what her Australian customers regard as a thrillingly genuine Parisian atmosphere…Everything at Lamotte’s is done in the grand manner. At her parades (two a year in Sydney and Melbourne) beautiful mannequins wear beautiful hats and champagne flows.” (‘Our hat dictators’, Smiths Weekly, 18 February 1950)

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'Paris in Sydney', Woman, 7 February 1955, and selections from Henriette Lamotte scrapbooks. Newscuttings. MLMSS 3747

 

Regular customers to her salons soaked up the ‘French’ atmosphere too, enjoying intimate viewings of her exquisite hat creations in an elegant setting. More than just buying a hat over the counter, it was a social occasion and an opportunity for ladies to catch up on the latest gossip – and scandal.

“A visit to the lush Sydney salon of Henriette Lamotte is like a little corner of Paris. Madame is a volatile little body, bubbling with a warm enthusiasm for her work of making hats for many of Australia’s most elegant women” (‘A little bit of Paris’, Woman, 1955?, from Henriette Lamotte scrapbook. MLMSS 3747).

 

> View the complete Henriette Lamotte scrapbook online catalogue link