Tag Archives: designers

On the Road with Gloria Swanson for Forever Young

In the 1951 contract that Gloria Swanson signed with Puritan Dress was a clause promising that she would make a month long promotional trip every year to promote her line of Forever Young dresses.  Her archive is filled with documents … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, General | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Gloria Swanson and Puritan Dresses

Film star and entrepreneur Gloria Swanson was something of a pack rack, as evidenced by over 620 boxes of materials housed in her archive at the Henry Ransom Center.  Only about twenty boxes—a tiny fraction–have anything to do with her … Continue reading

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Book Review: Fashion Climbing by Bill Cunningham

In this book, you meet a different Bill Cunningham than the one presented in the documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, or in his New York Times photos.  This is a memoir of his early years in New York when he … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Famous Blue-Green Dress by Mollie Parnis, 1955

If you spend any time studying the clothes of well off women of the 1950s and 1960s, the name Mollie Parnis will come up sooner or later.  She was a well known designer of the era who dressed a number … Continue reading

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Ann Lowe, Custom Designer for the Upper Crust

Ann Lowe (1898-1981) was the first African American to open a custom dress studio on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. During the fifties and sixties, she was a favorite designer for the moneyed elite, creating debutante and wedding dresses. Perhaps her … Continue reading

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How New was the “New Look”?

In many fashion histories, the “New Look” introduced by Christian Dior in 1948 is portrayed as nothing short of a revolution.  With his famous collection featuring soft shoulders, nipped waists, full skirts, and longer lengths, he singlehandedly ended prevailing World … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Claire McCardell’s Pop-Over in the Montgomery Ward Catalog

If any designer came to embody a streamlined, no fuss “American look” during World War Two, it was Claire McCardell.  She was famous for her innovative designs and inventive use of humble fabrics like gingham and denim. One of her … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Patterns of the Times

At the end of the 1940s and into the 1950s, the fashion editor of the New York Times, Virginia Pope, sponsored a series of patterns that were written up and advertised in the newspaper.  Published by the Advance Pattern Company, … Continue reading

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Balenciaga and the Older Woman

There are very few couturiers I have heard of who enjoy designing for the older woman.  Famous Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga was one of them. In the recent biography The Master of Us All by Mary Blume (2013), the author … Continue reading

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“That Woman” Clothing from Marlo Thomas

Yesterday’s New York Times had a story about a new clothing line started by actress and feminist activist Marlo Thomas.  It was a fun read but I didn’t learn much about the clothes, so I decided to look into it … Continue reading

Posted in 2010s | Tagged , , | 2 Comments