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History of Cane 13

The Cane in the 20th century

The industrial revolution generates mass production, commercialised through department stores and mail-order, but also via Universal Expositions, where all social classes gather. (Paris 1889, Chicago 1893, Paris 1900). In 1902, the cane is selected as the theme for the Exam of Decorative Arts.

It is the beginning of the Art Nouveau, of the Modern Style, Jugendstil, Liberty, Modernismo : creativity blooms in Europe and in the US through the curve line, which is the most naturalistic line of beauty.

The woman is omnipresent in the shape of cane knobs : the cane is indeed a sensuous object, as it associates, the sense of touch with voluptuous feminine forms, symbolically expressing man‘s sexual dominance over the woman when he grabs his cane.

It is often said that woman’s fashion is French . But there is no doubt, that masculine fashion is British, at the beginning of this Century.

Dandyism imposes the strict selection of canes, depending on the occasion and the time of the day. Here are some quoted rules:

“In the morning take a rustic cane in gnarled wood, with a leather braid, but don’t use it after 10 am. You would be discredited after that time.

Then for business purposes and visits, grab the day cane. If you want to be fashionable, you will be well advised to take a “ pistol grip” cane, with an ivory knob, and a rod made of tropical wood with a square cut.

For the evening, don’t forget your theatre cane : precious wood, with a simple and thin ivory knob.

However, you can show some fantasy if you wish : rhino horn is the ultimate, but it is unfortunately rare and very expensive.
Do not go for sculpted heads, rounds or operas. They have lost their appeal, as they are too characteristic of the Second Empire.

There is one classical model, which goes beyond fashion : it is the crutch, which one can hold firmly, that can hung from a peg or from the arm, if you light a cigarette.

Then it is up to you, to properly carry this piece of precious wood. It is a sign of social distinction, and it gives you elegant gait and posture. All this requires education, tact, intelligence and a lot of attention” (Alain St Ogan)

A fashion magazine launched in 1911, a contest to define the ideal masculine suit and its accessories. The cane was one of them. Famous artists, such as Roubille, Capiello, Sem,Touraine, Prejean, Fournery and Fabiano participated in this contest.