The Woman Behind Klimt’s Dresses: Emilie Louise Flöge


Who designed all those fabulous dresses?

Emma Rose Millar

Gustav Klimt is perhaps best known for his golden swirls, bejewelled geometrics and glorious shades of lime, tangerine and cherry. His female subjects are draped in Japanese inspired fabrics and delicate mosaic prints. But were these dresses real? Yes indeed! Some were designed by Klimt himself, others by his long-standing companion, Emilie Flöge.

floge Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Emilie Flöge, (1902)

Emilie’s sister Helene was married to Gustav Klimt’s brother, Ernst Klimt. After his brother’s death in 1892, Gustav was made Helene’s guardian and spent a lot of time at the family home and holidaying with them at Lake Attersee. Emilie was eighteen at the time. The relationship between Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge remains a source of conjecture  but many experts agree that his painting The Kiss shows them as lovers.

kiss Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, (1908)

Emilie Flöge was born in Vienna in 1874. She was a skilled seamstress who…

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About emmarosemillar

Mum, chocolate maker, author of THE WOMEN FRIENDS: SELINA and the award-winning novel FIVE GUNS BLAZING.
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