Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design


Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design


Jeanne Sacerdote, known as Madame Jenny, was one of many French women fashion designers in the first part of the twentieth century. After training at Pacquin and Bechoff-David, well-established French fashion houses, she opened House of Jenny in 1908. The French government in 1926 awarded the Chevalier, Legion of Honor to Jenny for her economic service. Her business weathered the First World War and the worst part of the world wide economic depression in the 1930s. It closed in 1940. Costume historians have mostly overlooked Jenny's success.

This research defined Jenny's contributions to the French and American fashion business. The analysis used about 1000 images of Jenny's work and the work of the seven contemporaries; Chanel, Drecoll, Lanvin, Molyneux, Patou, Premet and Vionnet, to determine if she was innovative. The study of these contemporary dress designers indicated that she produced some innovative designs especially in the first twenty years.

The research evaluated fashion reports, advertisements, and extant Jenny garments. Women's Wear Daily 's collection reports indicate that Jenny was a favorite with American manufacturers because her styles were easy to copy. The fashion reports and ads from American periodicals imply a high acceptance of her work by buyers and magazine editors.

The study of the design and construction of Jenny garments evaluated the aesthetics of Jenny's work. Jenny's designs were wearable, but included details that made them unique. Her style was most like Chanel and Patou in its simplicity, but Jenny was creating uncluttered styles years before the House of Chanel was famous for them. The findings suggest that she was a very good businesswoman, making money when few others Paris dressmakers were doing so. Many scholars have overlooked Jenny.


Due to copyright concerns, the appendix of this thesis was not scanned. For more information, contact the URI Libraries Digital Initiatives unit:



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