"They showed you how to walk, that was it!" she exclaims. Janine Hinderling walks graciously across her living room to demonstrate. She glides effortlessly with a smiling face, her arms slightly arched with a dancer's poise. Just as she did in 1948, showing collections in Paris through one of the earliest modeling agencies.
|Her membership card to the agency, marked as valid from 1948 to 1950, looks quite fresh for its age. Hinderling (nee Pons) explains that easily. Modeling was not a big deal for Janine: "I just want[ed] to pass collection, and then I wanted to go skiing or do something else. Her casual remark belies the grace of her walk and the reminiscent gleam in her eye. Hinderling strode through the salons of many fashion houses including the renowned Jacques Fath in those three years.|
"I didn't like to stay in one house too long, just what we call a collection for a couple of months, three months. When I [got] back to Paris, my girlfriend was also a model, Vivian, and she's the one who started me on that." Janine worked from late 1948 through sometime in 1950. Because Janine was a house model, the pictures she has are only amateur. "Some girls got into magazine and [took professional] pictures. I never did, I was not interested."
She flitted through her early twenties wearing dresses from fashion houses both large and small in Paris. Her scrapbook is filled with pictures of them. "This was from a house" she points out. "And this one." Which house many of the frocks came from is a distant memory, though a few were identifiable. She recalled one Jacques Fath dress she had, black with a big collar, that she wore on New Year's Eve to the Ball de la Glace. The compliments she got that night are still fresh to Janine. On seeing a vintage magazine print of a dramatic Fath design she notes "that was typical of him. All those collars!"
Janine was a mannequin for Fath in one collection in 1949. Her contact with houses was primarily through the premier. "In those big houses, [where] there was a big name like Christian Dior, the premier was the one in charge of everything. She would make the pattern, she would oversee all the sewing girls." Janine did not work directly with Fath, as the premier was responsible for executing his designs on live models like Janine. She also recalled her friend Maggie who sewed at Fath and Dior; for Fath she created clothing for his pret-a-porter line, one of the earliest such lines with a designer's name attached. In looking through her photographs, she points to a simple open-front casual jacket. "This jacket was made by my friend Maggie, [which] she made for Jacques Fath for his ready-to-wear."
Hinderling, Janine Pons. Personal interview. June 18, 2005.
Milbank, Caroline Rennolds (1985). Couture: The Great Designers. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Inc.