The Easter Parade–A Dressmaker’s View

From the Library of Congress. Click to enlarge

Do you know the song “In your Easter Bonnet, with all the frills upon it”?  As the song promises, there really were Easter Parades on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  The Library of Congress’s large collection from the Bain News Service, with photos from around 1910 to the end of the 1920, has a number of photos documenting this festive fashion event.

By far my favorite is this undated photograph of a dressmaker, standing on the left, noting fashion details.  Although there were many ways for dressmakers to get information for their clients—from magazines to displays in stores—obviously on the ground research would have special value.  It could serve the function of Red Carpet events today. The dressmaker could see how the clothes and hats looked on different body shapes, hair dos, heights.

Judging from the lengths of the skirts, this undated photo comes from the mid teens.  Head coverings had shrunk from the wild Merry Widow concoctions of a few years earlier, but they still were statement pieces.

What exactly is the decoration on the dressmaker’s hat?  A bow, a wing, a butterfly? And don’t you wonder what’s on her note pad?

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