Worth, Charles Frederick (DNB00)

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WORTH, CHARLES FREDERICK (1825−1895), dressmaker, was the son of William Worth, a solicitor at Bourne, Lincolnshire, who lost his property in speculations. Born in 1825, he was at first intended for a printer, but after a few months went to London to be apprenticed to Messrs. Swan & Edgar, linendrapers. He was chiefly employed in bookkeeping, but showed an interest in French fabrics and models. In 1846, on the expiration of his indentures, he went to Paris, and for twelve years was in the service of Gagelin, silkmercer. A lady's train designed by him figured in the exhibition of 1855. He next, in partnership with a Swede named Bobergh, started in business as a lady's tailor. Princess Metternich, wife of the Austrian ambassador, was one of his earliest customers, and the Comtesse de Pourtalès introduced him to the Empress Eugénie, to whom he submitted every novelty. Thenceforth all wealthy Paris flocked to his rooms in the Rue de la Paix, and acknowledged him as the dictator of fashions. After the war of 1870 Bobergh retired, and Worth, with the assistance of his two sons, continued a business which yielded 50,000l. a year profit, going down daily, to the end of his life, to the establishment from his house in the Rue de Berri or the villa erected by him at Suresnes. He was liberal to his staff and to French charities, but had joined the French reformed church and did not associate with the English colony. He died on 10 March 1895, and was buried at Suresnes. His widow died on 8 Aug. 1898.

[Private information; Annuaire Bottin, 1859; Figaro, Sup. Littéraire, 13 April 1887; Gaulois, 11, 12, and 14 March 1895; New York Herald, Paris edit., and other Paris papers of March 1895; Daily Telegraph, 10 Aug. 1898.]

J. G. A.