Jacques Esterel was born in France in 1917. His early career had nothing to do with fashion. He managed a foundry and then was an exporter-importer of machine tools.
However in 1950, he met French designer Louis Feraud who introduced him to fashion. Feraud gave Esterel two of his seamstresses to start him up in a shop in Cannes on the French Riviera, and then in 1958 Esterel opened two boutiques in Paris.
His business really took off when French film star Brigitte Bardot chose him to make her wedding dress in 1959, when she married Jacques Charrier. This was an unusual wedding dress, being a very casual style, as shown here on the right, made of pink and white Vichy check linen edged with broidery anglais lace.
Irish designer Paul Costelloe worked for Esterel in the 1960's before opening up his own studio.
Esterel designed for many celebrities during the 1960's and 1970's. On the left is a brilliantly colored caftan dress from the early 1970's created by him. For their 50th anniversary of the founding of their airline, Air France commissioned a set of clothes for their air hostesses from Jacques Esterel.
Jacques Esterel died in 1974 at the relatively young age of 57.
After Esterel died, a multi-millionaire businessman named Jean-Baptiste Doumeng, who had financed Esterel, took over the business and named it Benoit Bartherotte. But later on it reverted to the name of Jacques Esterel and still is going on under new management. Their latest collections of women swear, menswear, accessories, and perfumes can be seen on the website shown at the top of the page.
Recently an exhibition of some of Jacques Esterel's creations was shown at the Galleria Musee in Paris.