July 14, 2013

American Fashion

This week I am stepping out of the sewing realm into the fashion world. I have always been interested in beautiful clothes and my fantasy was at one time to BE a fashion designer. Thus, my fascination with dolls and paper dolls especially. I spent hours tracing their paper bodies and drawing outfits in colored pencils.  My ideals were the designers of the forties and fifties whose clothes I saw in the magazines during this period.

When I found  my bookseller friend (Garrison House Books) had this book I HAD to have it. Today I am going to show you what I love about the clothes of the era.

 Adrian (Adrian Adolph Greenburg) was a designer for theater and film before stepping into business in 1941. America had been cut off from Paris due to the war, thus the timing.

An Adrian suit was the "uniform" of the day

The puzzle-like arrangement of stripes is a tour de force.

Subtle and timeless

The taffeta prints were also designed by Adrian and printed by Bianchini

Born Main Rousseau Boucher he pronunced his "stage name" Maine Bocker.
Polka-dot chiffon 1932

This is a white pique jacket over a silk organza skirt

Maibocher designed the wedding dress for this famous woman but I like this dress much more. Do you know who
she was and why she is known by anyone of a certain age? Answer at the end.

From the 1930 collection when he introduced the strapless evening gown. The fabric of cotton plaid and Lurex was also innovative.
He did costume but never ready-to-wear.

Finally a woman!

Claire McCardell brought  the AMERICAN LOOK with sportswear that stands the test of time.

The less daring could rope it in with the belt the
model is holding.
Wouldn't you wear these today?

A dress that can go almost anywhere

          From Claire's last collection but with the same ability to adapt to the occasion as the dress above.

1949 Revolution turned Classic in wool jersey

1956 spring and summer evening look with a skirt of cotton calico.

Norman Norell began as an assistant to Hattie Carnegie who visited Paris each year and bought in all the custom salons and his task was to translate them into "American terms".

 In the early fifties he showed master tailoring

He called this the "little overcoat".

Do you love this coat as much as I do?

 I'm always a sucker for a classic nautical theme.
Notice the photographer's name on the lower left. He didn't find these on the street!
The last collection in 1972 in all beige, grey and white.

Every one has a quirky side.

Another great female designer, Pauline Trigere was born in France but never a "French" designer.

A signature town coat

Tweed done well in 1965 and wearable now.

I can't stop admiring the incredible lines and tailoring.

Fuzzy pic of a great dress. Not real sure about that scarf at the waist though.

Oh, how I wish this was in color.

Trigere's quirky looks

A picture of how to use plaid in a flattering way that won't make you look like a circus.

And now for the finale, my favorite item to look at and in which I imagine myself swirling about the room.

That is, if I were this model's height instead of barely 5 feet.  But it IS a dream.

Now, what designer do you like out of this group?
Do you think these are timeless or am I just living in the past?

The answer to who is this woman: Wallis Simpson who was the woman whom the Prince of Wales abdicated the title of King of England for. Later known as the Duchess of Windsor.


  1. So elegant!I love many of them -- some are a little over the top, but they're runway fashions, so what more can be said. There are still many that could actually be worn and worn with elan. I love this -- what a great post.

  2. Amazing, I love all those very tailored looks the best. But the Wallis Simpson dress has to be by far my favourite...

    1. Being British, I could count on you to identify the DUCHESS. I just caught my spelling error. There is no T! I am going to correct it in the post.