French History

The House of Worth and the Birth of Haute Couture

Before Charles Worth, the idea of ready made clothes for purchase didn't really exist. Neither did the idea of a design house that showed seasonal collections. This one man's vision invented the fashion industry as we know it today.

Beast of Gevaudan

Attacks on women and children of Gevaudan in the 1760s sparked a huge effort to hunt and kill the mystery beast behind them. While efforts to track the animal struggled, France was gripped in terror. Read the show notes here.

Les Filles du Roi

While the building of a population in a new colony seems like a tricky endeavor, France's King Louis XIV launched a scheme to do just that by shipping eligible ladies to New France in the 1600s. Read the show notes here.

Cosmetics From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World

Makeup has a rich and lengthy history that spans the globe and crosses cultures. From 10,000 B.C.E. to the 20th century, people have been using cosmetics to enhance their looks -- sometimes with unintended side effects.

The Battle of Mons and the Angels That Followed

The Battle of Mons was one of the earliest battles of World War I. In the months after the battle, stories spread that a supernatural presence had covered the British army, preventing it from being destroyed. Read the show notes here.

Battle of Poitiers

On Sept. 19, 1356, one of the decisive battles of the Hundred Years War took place in France. It was the first major battle after almost a decade of relative quiet, and it stacked a small English army against a French military three times its size.

Frances Glessner Lee and Tiny Forensics

Many forensic investigation standards of today have roots in the work of a Chicago heiress who was more interested in crime scenes than high society. Her most notable contribution to the field came in the form of tiny homicide dioramas. Read the show notes here.

Rose Bertin: The First Fashion Designer

The legendary wardrobe of Marie-Antoinette has been criticized, envied and discussed to no end. But where did all those glorious clothes come from? In large part, they were the work of Rose Bertin, a milliner who found herself the stylist to the queen. Read the show notes here.

The Explosive Career of Antoine Lavoisier

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was a chemist, biologist, geologist, physiologist, and economist. But at the end of the day, he's most often referred to as the father of modern chemistry. He also was smack dab in the middle of the French Revolution.

Paul Poiret

French designer Paul Poiret's work, which was often avante-garde, changed the fashion world in significant ways. He got rid of corsets, introduced the concept of lifestyle branding, and used draping rather that tailoring to create his dramatic designs.