Tag Archives: designers

Oscar de la Renta and the Older Woman

The Oscar de la Renta fashion exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco has one unusual element: perhaps half of the clothes on display came from the collections of contemporary women.  A good portion of these were red … Continue reading

Posted in 2000s, 2010s | Tagged | 7 Comments

Donna Karan in the Black

I’ve never bought anything by American designer Donna Karan—her clothes are far above my price range.  But after reading her new autobiography, My Journey, I think I might have been influenced by her approach to clothing. In the late eighties, … Continue reading

Posted in 1980s, 1990, 2000s, 2010s | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Ceil Chapman Sells Washing Machines

You would think that automatic washing machines would be an easy sell, since they saved so much work.  However, if the ads I saw in four issues of Better Homes and Gardens from 1956 were any indication, women took a … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Dorothy Liebes—Celebrity Weaver

It isn’t often that the terms “celebrity” and “weaver” are combined these days, but in mid-century America Dorothy Wright Liebes achieved this status. A 1947 Life magazine feature called her “one of the most all-pervasive but least known influences in … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, General | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Koko Beall—A Life in Fashion Design

When I wrote about a favorite Vogue Pattern designer Koko Beall in 2014, I didn’t know whether or not she was still alive. Through the magic of the internet, her daughter Victoria Beall found my post. She sent the happy … Continue reading

Posted in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990, 2000s, 2010s | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Elizabeth Hawes’s Blue Mazurka

For anyone interested in the history of American fashion, Elizabeth Hawes’s witty book Fashion is Spinach should be required reading. Published in 1938, it was just republished in a paperback version by Dover.  It is also is available for free … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s | Tagged , | 6 Comments

The National School of Dress Design

If you follow the controversy surrounding internet classes at the university level, you might think that distance learning was something new. However, correspondence classes have existed for a long time, as shown by this 1962 advertisement for the National School … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Book Review: From Paris to Providence

In 1989, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) received an unusual gift—the contents of a successful dressmaking shop that had been shut for more than forty years. It was the business of Anna and Laura Tirocchi, custom dressmakers to … Continue reading

Posted in 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Claire Shaeffer: Collector, Teacher, Writer

Claire Shaeffer and her husband Charlie are collectors. When you enter their spacious Palm Springs home, their many passions are everywhere on display. The walls are filled bits and pieces they have collected through the years. When you look more … Continue reading

Posted in 1970s, 1980s, 1990, 2000s, 2010s, General | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Meeting Madame Eta at FIT

I love archives. Show me a stack of old letters, clippings, and photographs and I get very excited—who knows what treasures might be there? When I discovered that the Hungarian-American designer Eta Hentz (aka Madame Eta) had a small archive … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s, 1940s | Tagged , , | 5 Comments