Monthly Archives: October 2015

Halloween Costumes for 1924

Butterick costume patterns, October, 1924. Delineator, p. 32.

Butterick costume patterns, October, 1924. Delineator, p. 32.

In the 1920’s, people loved masquerade parties, and they didn’t wait for October to play dress-up. However, as Halloween approached, Butterick’s Delineator magazine showed whole pages of costume patterns for adults and children.

Butterick costume patterns, Delineator, November 1924. (The magazine would have come out in October.)

Butterick costume patterns, Delineator, November 1924. (The magazine would have come out in October.)

Butterick costume patterns, Delineator, November 1924. Bottom of p. 32

Butterick costume patterns, Delineator, November 1924. Bottom of p. 32

Then, as now, some people dressed to look glamorous, or to express their inner child or alter ego. Clown costumes were popular, as were costumes with an international flavor:  Spanish, Dutch, Turkish and Japanese are shown here. So is a little girl in a “Ballet Costume” — still a popular choice for little girls after 90 years. And, specifically for Halloween, “fantastic creatures” like brownies and witches appear. The all-white costume at far left is described as a ghost, but called a “domino,” a completely inaccurate reference to the masks and capes worn in Venice in the 18th century.

Starting with the costumes from the top of the post:

Pierette, Butterick pattern 5398

Pierette costume for women, August 1924. Butterick

Pierette costume for ladies, misses and girls, August 1924. Butterick 5398. This is a slightly different illustration from the one at the top of this post.

Pierrot and Pierette — usually dressed all in black and white — were popular in fiction and art. Pictorial Patterns offered a Pierette costume with wide-hipped pants, like this one. Click here to see it. So did other pattern companies. Click here. It reminds me of 1917 skirt styles.

“Romper” pattern 4809 and Clown 4006

Butterick patterns for "Rompers" (No. 4809) and a clown (no. 4006.) February 1924, Delineator.

Butterick patterns for “Romper” (No. 4809) and a clown (no. 4006.) February 1924, Delineator.

Dressing like a little girl was easy (and showed your knees.) Comedienne and singer Fanny Brice  played a “little girl” character in the 1930’s, and, in a later period, Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann character delighted audiences by telling the truth — as she saw it.

My grown up aunt — far right — was the hostess at this party.

Vintage photo of women in little girl costumes. 1920s or 1930s.

Vintage photo of women in little girl costumes. 1920s or 1930s.

At least one of her guests came in a different costume!

Guests at a costume party, 1920s or 1930s.

Guests at a costume party, 1920s or 1930s.  One woman is dressed in a hula skirt.

Tommy Tiptoe, Butterick 5584 and Clown 4048

Butterick costume patterns for Tommy Tiptoe, No. 5584, and a clown, No. 4048. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Butterick costume patterns for Tommy Tiptoe, No. 5584, and a clown, No. 4048. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Tommy Tiptoe was a children’s book by Harriet Ide Eager, published in  1924. This costume is based on the book’s cover illustration. Click here.

Butterick offered clown costume patterns 4006  and 4048, both “for men and boys 22 to 44 inches breast.”

Turkish costume, Butterick pattern 4832, and “Ballet Costume” No. 3555.

Turkish costume (Butterick 4832) and Ballet Costume 3555. Delineator, October 1924.

Turkish costume (Butterick 4832) and Ballet Costume 3555. Delineator, October 1924.

The Turkish harem pants have a low waist and 1920’s hip sash. A more modern Butterick costume pattern (coincidentally #3555) includes a harem pants outfit. Click here for comparison. A ballet costume which includes a witch’s hat and cats’ heads as trim is certainly unusual!

1924 oct p 32 3555 ballet or pierrette

Butterick embroidery transfer 10934 can be seen here. Perhaps these heads are stuffed, rather than completely flat? This can also be made as a “Pierrette” costume.

Butterick Devil Costume No. 5510

This devil costume was illustrated in September and again in October, 1924.

Butterick pattern for a Devil Costume. This illustration is from the September issue of Delineator, 1924.

Butterick pattern for a Devil Costume. This illustration is from the September issue of Delineator, 1924. It looks like a stage costume — pseudo Elizabethan.

“If he would look like the very devil, a man or boy should wear the jacket, trunks, cape and hood of this Devil’s costume. Make it of sateen, mercerized fabrics or lining satin with velveteen bands, etc., paper muslin or cambric with contrasting shade of same material for bands, etc. …This costume is for men and boys  28 to 40 breast.”

Dutch costume, Butterick 5522

Dutch peasant dress, Butterick #5522, Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Dutch peasant dress for ladies, misses and girls, Butterick #5522, Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Japanese Kimono #3847 and Smock and Tam-o’-shanter #4308

Japanese kimono costume #3846 and artist's smock with tam-o'-shanter, Butterick, Nov. 1924.

Japanese kimono costume #3847 and artist’s smock with tam-o’-shanter, Butterick, # 43o8. Nov. 1924.

The kimono costume’s number shows that it was released before the Halloween season — probably for amateur productions of The Mikado or Madam Butterfly. The artist’s costume — or at least the illustration of it — is absolutely my favorite. That’s not a cigarette holder in her mouth — it’s a paintbrush.

1924 nov p 32 3847 and 4308 text

And, speaking of butterflies: Butterick 3326

Butterfly costume, Butterick pattern 3326, October 1924.

Butterfly costume, Butterick pattern 3326, Delineator, October 1924.

1924 nov p 32 costumes butterfly 3326 text

Pineapple cloth was sheer, and originally made from pineapple fibers. Let’s hope she didn’t have to spend the entire evening holding her arms up like that! This identical Butterick pattern was still for sale in 1929. Click here.

Clown costume, Butterick 4006

Clown costume, 1924. Butterick 4006, Delineator magazine, Oct. 1924

Clown costume, 1924. Butterick 4006, Delineator magazine, Oct. 1924. For men or boys.

1924 nov p 32 costumes clown 4006 text

Tarlatan is a stiff, loose woven fabric. Heavily sized, it was used for petticoats and costume ruffs.   Malines is “a fine stiff net with a hexagonal mesh.” “Silesia” was a twill fabric used for pockets and linings — and therefore, inexpensive.

This unconvincing ghost (with unfortunate hints of the KKK in its pointy head) is quite different from the usual sheet-with-eyeholes ghost. (How disappointing to think that high heels will be required after death….) She is accompanied by a Brownie:  the kind of elf that comes and does good children’s work while they’re asleep (If only…!) and a little ballet dancer.

A Ghost (5914), a Brownie (5369), and a little ballerina (3555) costume. Butterick patterns for October, 1924.

A Ghost (5914), a Brownie (5369), and a little ballerina (3555) costume. Butterick patterns for October, 1924.

1924 nov p 32 costumes text 5914 5369 3555

The freedictionary.com  says that “paper muslin” is “glazed muslin, used for linings, etc.” Whew! That’s a relief. No Paper Costumes, ever! Please!

Spanish Dancer, Butterick pattern 5625, and Witch costume, Butterick 5613

Costume for a Spanish Dancer (Butterick 5625) and a Witch (5613.) Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Costumes for a Spanish Dancer (Butterick 5625) and a Witch (5613.) Delineator, Oct. 1924.

1924 nov p 32 text 5625 spanish dancer 5613 witch

For an improvised Spanish dancer costume, many people already owned an embroidered Spanish shawl, often decorating the piano, and decorative Spanish hair combs were also very popular around 1920. Rudolph Valentino danced the tango in Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), which may have something to do with the craze:

Woman draped in a Spanish Shawl; ad for Standard Plumbing Fixtures, Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Woman draped in a Spanish Shawl; ad for Standard Plumbing Fixtures, Delineator, Oct. 1924.

The seated woman has a black mask — a domino — in her hand.  In 1924, as in 2015, movies and popular entertainment influenced our Halloween costumes.

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs

Victorian Flounced Skirt and Pagoda-Sleeved Bodice, circa 1850’s (?)

Victorian era flounced skirt and jacket, circa 1856. Private collection.

Victorian era flounced skirt and jacket, circa 1856. Private collection. This is close to accurate color, a dark cherry red.

The fabric and fringe on this vintage outfit are really lovely, and the presence of what may be the original detachable inner sleeves and neckline fill made it memorable to me.

The sheer tulle or netting used for the neckline and the sleeves was not ironed or cleaned for these quick photos.

Bodice detail, black/ dark red changeable taffeta with black and dark red fringe. Circa 1856.

Bodice detail, black/ dark red changeable taffeta gown with black and dark red silk fringe. Circa 1856. Top button missing from white fill.

Netting and lace fill for the square necklne of the Victorian outfit. It would have been basted into place on the bodice, and removed for washing.

Netting and lace fill for the square neckline of the Victorian outfit. It would have been basted into place on the bodice, and removed for washing. It has a button placket down the center.

Sadly, this outfit showed signs of being reconstructed:   a modern grosgrain waistband on the skirt (visible in the photo above,) and small holes in the skirt where stitching was unpicked. Either the top flounce (and perhaps others) had been moved down to make the skirt longer, or the holes were left by the original cartridge-pleated waistline on the skirt, which may have been shorter in front than in back when it was made. The outfit also deserved a fuller crinoline to properly display the skirt, but these photos were purely for the purpose of inventory.

Illustration from Le Bon Ton, January 1 edition, 1859. From the Casey Collection of fashion plates at LA County Public Library.

Illustration from Le Bon Ton, January 1 edition, 1856. From the Casey Collection of fashion plates at LA County Public Library.

It’s possible that the top of the top flounce was originally hidden by the long, jacket-like bodice, as in the blue outfit above. (That’s a thin line of black ribbon trim on the flounce, not a seam.) The Casey Collection is a wonderful online resource, searchable by date. Click here to see more of it. The plates can be enlarged and magnified; the detail can be amazing. This gown, also from January 1856, is rather similar in color to the one I photographed.

Our changeable taffeta two piece dress bears a slight resemblance to this sketch by Ingres of Mademoiselle Cecile Panckoucke, which the artist dated 1856. However, we should never suppose that women only wore dresses in the height of fashion, or that dresses based on fashion plates were made within weeks of publication, so “our” dress may be later. I photographed it as part of a private collection in the U.S.

Portrait sketch of Mlle Cecile Panckoucke, Ingres, 1856.

Portrait sketch of Mlle Cecile Panckoucke, Ingres, 1856.

The painter Ingres sketched this dress, which seems to have a lower-cut jacket-like bodice, and signed his drawing in 1856.

The “peplum” of the dark cherry-red and black changeable taffeta dress is shaped to have a squarish section below the waist in front and a smaller one in back, but not at the sides; the patterned trim and fringe continues all the way around the bodice bottom.

Front detail of bodice showing long, square front and fringe trim.

Front detail of bodice showing long, square front and black and red fringe trim.

Back detail shoeing fringed waist trim and Center back long "tail."

Back detail showing fringed waist trim and a peplum-like “tail.”

The fringe alternates red and black. The ground fabric for the dress is changeable taffeta, with the warp and the weft different colors:  one is black and the other is dark cherry red. The flounces are the same mix, but have a jacquard pattern woven into them.

Close up of jaquard woven pattern in changeable taffeta. Probably1850s.

Close-up of jacquard woven pattern in changeable taffeta. Probably 1850’s.

Detail of the fabric's woven pattern on flounce and sleeve trim. Photo enhanced.

Detail of the fabric’s woven pattern on flounce and sleeve trim. Photo enhanced.

Strips of this patterned fabric trim the neckline and center front of the bodice, the bottoms of the sleeves, and the bottom of the bodice “peplum.” The trim may be the border of the fabric, not used on the flounces.

Cherry and black changeable taffeta sleeves, trimmed with strips of a coordinating jaquard woven pattern. The bodice is also trimmed with two kinds of silk fringe, both alternating black and red.

Cherry and black changeable taffeta sleeves, trimmed with strips of a coordinating jacquard woven pattern. The sleeves are trimmed with two kinds of silk fringe, both alternating black and red.

The fringe above the elbow, arranged in two layers for a checkerboard effect,  is shorter and thicker than the fringe used elsewhere. It is also less “curly” in texture.

Detail of two kinds of fringe used on 1850's changeable taffeta dress.

Detail of two kinds of fringe used on 1850’s changeable taffeta dress.

The pagoda sleeves are lined with cream silk, and finished with a matching, pleated cream self-trim:

Inside of pagoda sleeve, showing pleated trim on the lining. The inside of one sleeve was stained.

Inside of pagoda sleeve, showing pleated trim on the lining. The inside of this sleeve was stained.

You can see how sheer the detachable tulle inner sleeve is. I love the pleated detail on the lining, since the inside of a pagoda sleeve would be very visible when the wearer gestured, poured tea, etc.

This 1855 pagoda-sleeved plaid dress is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Pagoda sleeved dress, France, 1855. Image from LACMA digital archives.

Pagoda sleeved dress, France, 1855. Image from LACMA digital archives.

Plaid taffeta dress, France, 1855. Image from LACMA digital collection.

Plaid taffeta dress, France, 1855. Image from LACMA digital collection.

Click here for more views of this dress; unfortunately, none shows the insides of the sleeves. The “buttons” on the front are actually small silk tassels.

The use of coordinating fringe on silk dresses was not uncommon; I once rescued a fan-fronted bodice, entirely hand-stitched, from a Goodwill Halloween rack. The silk had “Granny Smith apple” green stripes on a cream background, accented with thin stripes of peacock (Prussian) blue. The pagoda sleeves were trimmed with a matching fringe, but it was purpose-made, not just the dress fabric with the weft unravelled, and the half-inch stripes in the fringe were mostly peacock blue and apple green.

This portrait of Madame Moitessier in a fringed dress, also painted by Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, was finished in 1857.

Detail of Mme. Moitessier, by J.-A.-D. Ingres, circa 1857. From Portrait of Ingres: Image of an Epoque.

Detail of “Mme. Moitessier,” by J.-A.-D. Ingres, circa 1857. From Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoque.

Her dress shows a Rococo revival patterned silk that became popular around 1855, according to Gary Tinterow, writing in Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoque, p. 440. Her dress is trimmed with silk fringe made from the same colors as the dress fabric, plus coordinating ribbons.

It took Ingres a famously long time to complete this portrait, first commissioned in 1844. Around 1847, Mme Moitessier’s little daughter Caroline was in the picture, leaning her head on her mother’s lap. It isn’t true that Caroline had to be painted out of the picture because she kept growing, although by the time Ingres was adding the final touches, in 1857, Caroline had grown up. (She was three in 1847, and nearly fourteen when the picture was finally completed!) In fact, Ingres made many changes as the portrait progressed. Caroline was too young to hold long poses (Ingres called her “impossible” [insupportable] and wiped her out early in the process.) In 1852, he asked Madame to wear her “yellow dress” to a posing session — not this dress, so he apparently made changes later, to be sure that the finished painting [1857] showed her in an up-to-date fashion.

I wish I had taken interior photos of this dark cherry dress; I’m just glad I had these pictures to share.

Front and back views of a dark cherry red changeable taffeta dress, circa 1856. Private collection.

Front and back views of a dark cherry red changeable taffeta dress, circa 1856. Private collection. The color on the left is more accurate.

NOTE:  I did not examine this dress with a magnifying glass. Except for the stain in one sleeve, and the alterations to the skirt, it was in remarkably (almost suspiciously) good condition. Once I saw the alterations, I didn’t check for other machine stitching. I couldn’t ask the owner about it, so I can’t be sure if it is authentic, or a very elegant reproduction that fooled her, too. The dating is hypothetical and may be later than the 1850’s, for many reasons. Wherever this dress is now, a fabric test might be interesting.

Expert advice is always appreciated!

I’ve written about other Victorian Era dresses that I’ve met:

To see inside a brilliantly colored roller printed dress, Click here.

For a details of a lightweight, plaid fan-fronted dress, Click here.

For a bustle dress with beautiful buttons, Click here.

And, for the much less beautiful lives of Victorian Working Women, click here.

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Filed under 1830s -1860s fashions, 1860s -1870s fashions, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Costumes for the 18th Century, Dresses, Early Victorian fashions, Exhibitions & Museums, Resources for Costumers, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Andre Collection at NY Public Library Digital Collections

Andre Studio Collection: Reefer Coat design by Pearl Levy Alexander, 1939. Copywight New Your Public Library.

Andre Studio Collection: Reefer Coat design by Pearl Levy Alexander, 1939. Image Copyright New York Public Library.

Andre Studios in New York was a business which produced sketches of French couture, with variations for the American market, selling the sketches to clothing manufacturers from about 1930 on. A collection of 1,246 Andre Studios sketches from the 1930’s is now available online from New York Public Library and from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA.)  The name on most of the sketches is Pearl Levy Alexander, and that is the best online search term.

NOTE: please do not copy or republish these images; their copyright belongs to the New York Public Library and they have been made low resolution as required by NYPL.

An excellent article about the Andre collection can be found here as a pdf. (The name of the article’s author is missing!) It explains how (usually unauthorized) sketches of couture wound up in the hands of dress manufacturers, to be copied or modified as they worked their way down the economic scale, eventually reaching the cheapest parts of the mass market.

In fact, Pearl Levy Alexander signed/designed many hundreds of sketches which included Andre Studios’ suggested modifications and variations of current designs.

The designs in the Andre Collection may include adaptations suitable to the American market, but some have attributions to known couturiers — e.g., “Import R” was their code for Patou —  as on this red wool siren suit (for wearing in air raid shelters) designed by Jean Patou in 1939.

Andre Studio's sketch of a red wool

Andre Studios’ sketch of a red wool “siren suit” by Patou. 1939. “R” was the import code used for Patou. Image Copyright New York Public Library.

You can recognize Andre’s “Import Sketches” of original couture because they were done in black and white; the modified designs, suitable for U.S. manufacture, are more elaborate drawings and use some gouache — white or colored watercolor. This “black marocain” suit is an actual sketch of a Chanel model; in the lower right corner you can see “Spring/Summer 1938; Import Code J = Chanel.”

This sketch says “Designed by Pearl Alexander” but acknowledges that it is “after Molyneux” — not an exact copy.

This boxy coat with construction details is Alexander's modification of a Molyneux design. Copyright NYPL, Andre Collection.

“Boxy coat after Molyneux” 1940, designed by Pearl Alexander, is Alexander’s modification of a Molyneux design. Image Copyright NYPL, Andre Collection.

On the other hand, this suit, dated 1/30/39, simply says it is designed by Pearl Levy Alexander. The sketch is highlighted with white opaque watercolor (gouache) and has a pink hat and blouse.

This black and white sketch is a 1938 suit by Schiaparelli (Import Code AO):

Andre Studio sketch of an original Schiaparelli Suit, with a note about the embroidery. Copyright New York Public Library.

Andre Studios’ sketch of an original Schiaparelli suit, with a note about the embroidery. (1938) Copyright New York Public Library.

If you are looking for designs by particular couturiers, look at the last two images in the collection. They are lists of designers’ names; the “Import Key” for Spring/Summer 1938 is a long list of designers whose work was sketched for Andre’s manufacturing customers, including Chanel, Heim, Lanvin, Vionnet, Nina Ricci, Redfern, Mainbocher, Patou, Paquin, Schiaparelli, Worth, and many less remembered designers, like Goupy, Philippe et Gaston, Bernard, Jenny, et al. You can see it by clicking here.  A search for these individual names may (but may not) lead to a sketch. (There’s also an Import Key for 1939-40.)

Mainbocher design, Andre Studio Sketch. Copyright New York Public Library.

Mainbocher design, 1938; Andre Studios Sketch. Image Copyright New York Public Library.

World War II momentarily cut off free access to Parisian designs, and this particular NYPL collection of sketches ends in 1939-40. However, Andre Studios continued to produce sketches into the 1970’s.

Three Sources for Andre Studios Research

In addition to the portion of the Andre Studios collection donated to New York Public Library — over 1,200 sketches made available online — the Fashion Institute of Technology (NY) and the Parsons School of Design also received parts of the collection of Andre Studios’ sketches and scrapbooks, photos, news clippings, etc., which were donated by Walter Teitelbaum to (and divided among) all three institutions.

The Parsons School has information about its Andre Studios collection here, including this sketch of four coats designed by Dior in 1953. Parson also supplies information about other places with Andre Studios and Pearl Alexander archives.

FIT has not digitized its part of the collection, but researchers can visit it. For information, click here.

Bonus: More Thirties Designs in the NYPL Mid-Manhattan Collection Online

Image from New York Public Library's Mid Manhattan Collection. Copyright NYPL.

Image from New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan Collection. Copyright NYPL. “Dormoy’s Frock, Agnes hat, Chanel, Molyneux, Mainbocher.”

Another, completely different collection of fashion sketches from the 1930’s — many in full color — can be found here, at the NYPL digital collection, in the Mid-Manhattan Collection. [Note, when I asked it to sort “Costumes 1930s” by “date created,” images from 1937 came before images from 1935, so don’t assume it’s chronological.]

Nevertheless, if you explore the alphabetical list at the left of the Mid-Manhattan Collections page, scroll down, down down under Costume, and you’ll find many images by decade, before and after the nineteen thirties! I was surprised by this 1850’s bathing costume cartoon:

Morning, Noon and evening dress for a

Morning, Noon and evening dress for a “Watering Place.” Image copyright New York Public Library.

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Filed under 1830s -1860s fashions, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Bathing Suits, Exhibitions & Museums, Resources for Costumers, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage Couture Designs

Paris Fashions from The Delineator, 1929, Part 2

The first page of The Delineator’s Paris Fashion report showed daytime clothes — suits, coats, etc. The second page showed a mix of evening and daytime clothing designs, sketched for the magazine’s November 1929 issue.

Paris Couture for day and evening, Delineator, Nov. 1929, page 27.

Paris Couture for day and evening, Delineator, Nov. 1929, page 27.

This page combined day, afternoon, and evening styles. The illustrator is Leslie Saalburg. The descriptions are direct quotations from The Delineator. In numerical order:

Chanel wool dress, sketched in Delineator, Nov. 1929. p. 27.

Chanel wool georgette dress, sketched in Delineator, Nov. 1929. p. 27.

Similar tucks, used on the diagonal, can be seen on earlier dresses by Vionnet. Click here.

A satin dress by Jenny, sketched for Delineator,Nov. 1929.

A satin dress by Jenny, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929. Crepe-backed satin can be used with either side out, matte or shiny.

Jenny is one of the designers who was very successful in the twenties, but not much discussed now. This 1930 dressing gown by Jenny is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum. So is this embroidered coat from the 1920’s, with her label.

Evening gown by Cheruit, sketch from Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Evening gown by Cheruit, sketch from Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Cheruit’s elaborate gowns were successful in the first decades of the 20th century. (Click here for an exquisitely sequined dress (in an interesting article) at the Museum of London. After she retired, her house continued in the 1920’s; her premises were later occupied by Schiaparelli (1935).

Long black tulle gown by Lucien Lelong, Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

Long black tulle gown by Lucien Lelong, Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

The tulle is in graduated tucks. Click here for a black tulle Lelong gown from the early 1930’s.

Floral print chiffon evening gown by louiseboulanger. Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

Floral print chiffon evening gown by louiseboulanger. Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

This evening gown, in the collection of FIT, is print chiffon, apparently from the same louiseboulanger 1929 collectionClick here for an earlier 1920’s evening dress by louiseboulanger — it’s short and feathered, and fabulous.

Jean Patou shwed this green velvet evening gown, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Jean Patou showed this green velvet evening gown, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Another Patou from 1929 can be seen here.

Moire taffeta evening gown by louiseboulanger, sketched in Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Moire taffeta evening gown by louiseboulanger, sketched in Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Louise Boulanger worked under several variations of her name. The run-on, all lower case version — louiseboulanger — was the latest.

White satin, one shouldered evening gown by Vionnet, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

White satin, one-shouldered evening gown by Vionnet, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

I have written about Vionnet before. Other evening gowns can be seen here and here.

Blue georgette evening gown by Chanel, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Blue georgette evening gown by Chanel, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

The hem is long all around, unlike most of the other evening hems shown here, which have “dipping” hemlines or long draperies with a short front hem. (Lelong’s black tulle evening gown — #19 –has an even hem that becomes increasingly sheer near the floor.)

A Short black velvet eveing dress by Molyneux, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

A short black velvet evening dress by Molyneux, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

A dress by Vionnet, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

A dress by Vionnet, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Black crepe dress by Lanvin, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Black crepe dress by Lanvin, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Jeanne Lanvin joined the Syndicat de la Couture in 1909. A coat and dress ensemble from Lanvin, at the Met, dated 1926, is so short that it looks nineteen sixties, on first glance.

A tightly fitting evening dress by Jenny, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

A tightly fitting evening dress by Jenny, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Like the Vionnet dress above, (#23) one shoulder is revealed and one is covered.

A long gown by Lanvin, Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

A long gown by Lanvin, Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

The hem appears to be slightly raised in front.

Purple lounging pajamas designed by Mary Nowitsky, from Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Purple lounging pajamas designed by Mary Nowitsky, from Delineator, Nov. 1929.

You can see more about beach and lounging pajamas at The Vintage Traveler or here.

In Part 1, I mentioned that Jean Patou took credit for lowering the hemline in 1929. Here are three images from this 1929 Delineator article; Patou’s dress is slightly longer.

Hems for daytime, Nov. 1929. Patou, Chanel.

Hems for daytime, Nov. 1929. Nowitsky, Patou, Chanel.

Something much more significant, if you’re tracing changes in fashion, is something that can be seen in these four dresses:

Four designs from Nov. 1929. All have natural waistlines, accented with a belt.

Four designs from Nov. 1929. All have natural waistlines, accented with a belt.

Natural waistlines, emphasized with a tight belt. November, 1929. (Street photographs and movies from the late twenties sometimes show that women were already wearing belts at their waists, especially the belts of coats; perhaps because, without a deforming corset, belts tend to rise to the natural waist on a woman with a well-defined waist and wider hips.)

Belted coat from Sears catalog, Spring, 1929. A belt like this will tend to rise to the natural waist when tightened.

Belted coat from Sears catalog, Spring, 1929. A belt like this will tend to rise to the natural waist when tightened.

(“Kit fox dyed coney trimmed collar” means the collar was trimmed with rabbit fur.)

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Vintage Couture Designs

Paris Fashions from The Delineator, 1929. Part 1, Daytime

In November 1929, Butterick’s Delineator Magazine ran two full pages of sketches of Paris Fashions — Vionnet, Chanel, Patou, Schiaparelli, Molyneux, and many other top designers, some of whom are no longer very well known.

Sketches of Paris fashions, Delineator, November 1929. Page 26.

Sketches of Paris fashions, # 1 through 15,  Delineator, November 1929. Page 26.

In order to make these sketches available for further research, I’ll try to show them one at a time, with their original descriptions from The Delineator. And, because there are thirty sketches in all, I’ll show 15 designs for daytime today, and designs 16 through 30 in Part 2.

Couture for evening, Delineator, Nov. 1929, page 27.

Sketches of couture, # 16 through 30, Delineator, Nov. 1929, page 27. Leslie Saalburg, illustrator.

After 1929, hems dropped precipately. Patou claimed the credit, but I won’t pursue that here. Schiaparelli, who wore culottes in the city in 1935, showed a pleated “knicker” skirt with a covering panel here, in 1929. The sketches are accompanied by the original descriptions. Perhaps you’ll find other surprises….

Paris Fashions for Daytime Sketched in the Delineator, November, 1929

Patou coat and dress, Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

Patou coat and dress, Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

The coat seems to be about the length of the dresses shown by other designers, but it’s hard to tell what is going on with Patou’s pleated skirt. Notice the suggestion of a natural waist, trimmed with buttons.

Sketch of Schiaparelli "knicker skirt" in Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Sketch of Schiaparelli “knicker skirt” in Delineator, Nov. 1929.

The illustrator, Leslie Saalburg, seems to have had a little trouble with this one. As we know from Elizabeth Hawes’ Fashion Is Spinach, illustrators had to make furtive notes and then sketch from memory later.

Coat designed by London Trades, Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

Coat designed by London Trades, Delineator sketch, Nov. 1929.

London Trades is one of those designer names, popular in the 1920’s, but rarely mentioned today.

Green cloth coat by Cheruit, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Green cloth coat by Cheruit, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929. Note the natural waist on this fitted coat.

Mme. Cheruit herself retired in 1914, but the House of Cheruit carried on until 1930. This Cheruit tea-gown from 1922 shows strong influence from The Ballets Russes: Big, bold patterns and brilliant, exotic colors.

A caped dress, which looks like a coat, from Molyneux, 1929. Delineator sketch.

A caped dress, which looks like a coat, from Molyneux, 1929. Delineator sketch.

“Captain Molyneux” — he was an Englishman — also produced some spectacular evening wear. Click here for a glimmering dress from 1926-27.

Coat with interesting back detail from Lucien Lelong. Sketched for Delineator Nov. 1929 issue.

Coat with interesting back detail from Lucien Lelong. Sketched for Delineator Nov. 1929 issue.

Burnt orange suit from London Trades, 1929. Delineator sketch.

Burnt orange suit from London Trades, 1929. Delineator sketch.

A caracal is a lynx-like cat with beautiful tufted ears. See more here.

Tweed cape by Lelong. Sketcher for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Tweed cape by Lelong. Sketcher for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Astrakhan is a tightly curled fur, a variation on “Persian” lamb. Click here if you need to know more….

A coat and matching blanket by Elsa Schiaparelli, sketched for Delineator. Nov. 1929.

A coat and matching “rug” (a small lap blanket for wearing in cold cars, while watching outdoor sports, etc.) by Elsa Schiaparelli, sketched for Delineator. Nov. 1929.

Costume by Molyneux, sketched for Delineator Nov. 1929 issue.

Costume by Molyneux, sketched for Delineator Nov. 1929 issue.

Nutria (also called coypu) is a rodent. Raised for fur, some nutria escaped. In 2010, it was being treated as an invasive species in Louisiana. The New York Times explained here.

Day dress by Patou, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Day dress by Patou, sketched for Delineator, Nov. 1929.

Cheviot is a kind of wool. This dress is slightly longer than other dresses of 1929 shown in the same article. Perhaps more interesting is the belt — worn approximately at the natural waist. Patou was famous for his sportswear in the 1920’s. You can read about his monogrammed sportswear in this article about the influence of tennis on fashion.

A basque blouse outfit from Cheruit, sketched in 1929.

A basque blouse outfit from Cheruit, sketched in 1929.

Duveteen was a napped fabric, often suggested for Butterick patterns in the Delineator . The flared skirt was fairly new, but this Cheruit outfit was soon to be out of style without ever being really in style.

A suti using double-faced tweed, by Nowitsky; 1929 sketch from Delineator.

A coat made from double-faced tweed, by Nowitsky; 1929 sketch from Delineator.

Mary Nowitsky was often mentioned in Delineator’s Paris coverage; I find some of her twenties’ sportswear very attractive. It’s hard to find information about her.

Coat with interesting back by Schiaparelli. Sketched for Delineator, in 1929.

Coat with interesting back by Schiaparelli. Sketched for Delineator, in 1929.

Jersey coat by Chanel, Sketched for Delineator in 1929.

Jersey coat by Chanel, sketched for Delineator in 1929.

Chanel’s striped dress anticipates the 1930’s — except in length. More Chanel in the next post, Part 2 of Paris Fashions from The Delineator, 1929.

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Nightclothes and Robes, Sportswear, Vintage Couture Designs

Something in the Air: Fabrics, 1917

Paisley, embroidery and large scale dots, March 1917. Delineator.

Print fabric, embroidery, and large scale dots, March 1917. Delineator.

At my grandmother’s house was an inexpensive child’s version of The Arabian Nights, with black and white illustrations that fascinated me.

Illustration from title page of Arabian Nights, Winston edition, 1924.

Illustration from title page of Arabian Nights, John C. Winston Co. edition, 1924. Illustrator not named.

The Enchanted Horse, illustration from Arabian Nights, John Winston Co., 1924

The Enchanted Horse, illustration from Arabian Nights, John C. Winston Co., 1924. The artist’s initial in the corner is FR.

Illustration for The Arabian Nights, probably by Rene Bull.

Illustration for The Arabian Nights, probably by Rene Bull. A feast of pattern and textures in black and white.

I recently located an edition similar to the one I loved and lost. When I began to research the illustrator, things got complicated. My 1924 book, published in America by the John C. Winston Co., says “with colored plates by Adeline H. Bolton.” But the black and white illustrations, much more exciting (to me) are not credited, and they appear to be by more than one artist, “FR” and Rene Bull among them. And some, at least, date back to 1912.

It even appears that “Adeline H. Bolton” . . .

Color illustration signed A. Bolton. Winston edition.

Color illustration signed A. H. Bolton. Winston edition. 1924

. . . may have been hired to paint like Rene Bull. I can’t identify “FR”, but at least some of the black and white illustrations are signed by Rene Bull — who had done illustrations for a 1912 British edition of The Arabian Nights, also published that year in the U.S. by Dodd, Mead, & Company. Bull illustrated The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam in 1913, and Russian Ballet, by A.E. Johnson, also in 1913.

Illustration from Russian Ballet, 1913 ed., by Rene Bull.

Illustration from Russian Ballet, 1913 edition, signed Rene Bull in lower right corner.

I’m not the first to notice that the costumes of the Ballets Russesan explosion of color, embroidery, jewels, and complex pattern — influenced fashion in the first part of the twentieth century! Oddly, the contemporary book Russian Ballet (1913) is not illustrated with costume sketches by Bakst, who designed many of them, but by that well-known illustrator of Middle Eastern tales, Rene Bull.

Looking through Delineator fashion illustrations from 1917, I keep seeing echoes of my old Arabian Nights, which may have been pirated in part from the 1912 Rene Bull edition. The stripes, the embroidery, the gauzy fabrics and large-scale prints, even the poses, show how deeply this kind of art permeated the era. “Zeitgeist” might be too strong a word, but “something in the air” might apply to fashion illustration, Rene Bull, “FR”, and textile designs inspired by them.

Illustration by FH for Arabian Nights. The Princess feigns madness.

Illustration by FR for Arabian Nights:  The Princess feigns madness. A riot of checks, stripes, dots, arabesques of sheer fabric, and embroidery.

Sheer top with embroidery Feb. 1917. Delineator.

Sheer dress with embroidery Feb. 1917. Delineator.

April 1917 lingerie dresses, Butterick's Delineator.

April 1917 lingerie dresses, Butterick’s Delineator. Embroidered circles on sheer fabric, left; widely spaced circular patterns on right.

Airy poses, and a long gown with large-scale pattern, by Doucet. 1917. Delineator.

Airy-fairy-peri poses, and a long gown with large-scale pattern of medallions of “blue and green Chinois flowers,” by Doucet. 1917. The bodice has “diamonds and sapphires embroidered over silver lace.” Delineator.

(A peri is a magical being from The Arabian Nights. There’s an illustration of one later in the post.)

Large scale pattern and drifting draperies, 1917. The Ballets Russes repertory included Greek costumes for "Narcissus" and "Afternoon of a Faun."

Large scale circular pattern and sheer, drifting draperies, 1917.

The Ballets Russes repertory included Greek costumes  (like the third, above) for “Narcissus” and “Afternoon of a Faun.” This advertisement, from much later, shows that complex black and white patterns still appealed to readers in the 1920’s.

This illustration in an ad for Needle Art appeared in 1924. Delineator.

This illustration is an ad for Needle Art which appeared in 1924. Delineator. I love the play of black and white patterns, still appealing to readers long after 1917.

Large scale patterns, stripes, emboidery, exoticism. Illustration from Russian Ballet dates to 1913.

Large scale patterns, stripes, embroidery, flowing draperies, exoticism. Illustration by Rene Bull from Russian Ballet,  1913. Note the circular decoration on their sleeves.

Large Scale Fabric Ornamentation, 1917

Embroidery and large scale patterns, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale embroidery and fabric patterns, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale prints, May, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale prints, May, 1917. Delineator. The design on the left is oriental lanterns. The prints on the right are large and widely spaced.

Large scale, widely spaced prints for summer, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale, widely spaced prints for summer, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale prints, widely spaced. Delineator, 1917.

Large scale prints, widely spaced. Delineator, 1917. Embroidery on blouse, left.

Fabrics with big dots, widely spaced. 1917.

Fabrics with big dots, widely spaced. 1917. The skirt on the right makes me think of “harem pants.”

Illustration for Arabian Nights and some fabrics with similar properties.

Bolton illustration for Arabian Nights, with some 1917 fabrics with similar properties. Was Bolton influenced by familiar dress fabrics? Or just imitating the successful illustration style of 1912 – 1913?

Checkerboard print and big dots with a hexagon design. 1917, Delineator

Checkerboard print and big dots with a hexagon design. 1917, Delineator

Checkerboards and Big Stripes, 1917

Delineator, June 1917.

Delineator, June 1917.

Stripes and squares in wild profusion; illustration by FR for Arabian nights.

Stripes, squares and dots in wild profusion; illustration by FR for Arabian nights.

Checkerboard patterned fabrics, 1917. Delineator

Checkerboard patterned fabrics, 1917. Delineator

January stripes, June checkerboard stripes, July checkerboard print.1917

January stripes, June checkerboard stripes, July checkerboard print. 1917. Delineator.

Ad for Keds shoes and a Victrola. 1917.

Ad for Keds shoes and an ad for a Victrola. 1917.

Did I mention the mania for embroidery?

A Peri (Persian Fairy) and a Prince, by Rene Bull. Arabian Nights.

A Peri (Persian Fairy) and a Prince, by Rene Bull. Arabian Nights.

Embroidered garments, 1917.

Embroidered garments, 1917.

Left: Embroidered gown by Paul Poiret, June 1917. Right: Butterick pattern, May 1917.

Left: Embroidered gown by Paul Poiret, June 1917. Right: Butterick pattern, May 1917.

Embroidery on sheer fabrick appliqued to back of 1917 dress.

Beading and Embroidery on sheer fabric appliqued to back of 1917 dress.

Front of dress bodice with embroidered applique. 1917. Private collection.

Front of dress bodice with embroidered applique. 1917. Private collection.

And that brings an end to this orgy of ornament! (Really, I just wanted an excuse for sharing all these images, whether you see any connection to Arabian Nights illustrations or not! ) — Cheerio!

Checkerboard trimmed suit from Butterick patterns. May 1917.

Checkerboard trimmed suit from Butterick patterns. May 1917.

 

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Dresses, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Florrie Was a Flapper, in 1914

The Vintage Traveler, writing   “Why Were They Called Flappers?” , supplied more evidence that young women were called “flappers” well before the 1920’s.

I once mentioned the oft-repeated theory that 1920’s “flappers” got that name from the unbuckled galoshes they wore, when I was writing about rubber rain boots called “Zippers.” (click here.) Yesterday I found this illustration in a lovely book that was new to me:

Illustration by John Held from Roaring '20s Fashions: Jazz, by Susan Langley.

Illustration by John Held from Roaring ’20s Fashions: Jazz, by Susan Langley.

At the library, I discovered two well-illustrated books by Susan Langley, published by Schiffer publishing: The first, Roaring ’20s Fashions: Jazz, covers 1920 to 1924; the second, Roaring ’20s Fashions: Deco, covers 1925 to 1929. In addition to period illustrations, many vintage fashions  — presumably in private collections, since Schiffer books are aimed at collectors — are beautifully photographed in color, and with close-ups, by John Dowling. Published a few years ago, the prices given may have changed, but these books are packed with illustrations that I have never seen before, like that John Held flapper-in-galoshes, above. Langley has done a wonderful job of connecting vintage fashion plates with real garments. The plates are not the ones I have seen in other fashion histories, and she also includes images from less familiar mass market store catalogs, not just Sears. The real garments tend to be glamorous, since evening dress is more likely to survive, but there are some day dresses and suits, in addition to some designer labels. And she shows men’s fashions and vintage examples, too! Both volumes are definitely worth a look if you love the Twenties.

But — in spite of that drawing by John Held — there are plenty of  pre-nineteen twenties uses of the word “flapper.”

I just heard this vaudeville/music hall song from 1914:  “Florrie Was A Flapper,” sung by Elsie Janis. Elsie Janis dressed in men’s clothing (like Vesta Tilley) when she sang this vaudeville song in London in 1914.

Here are a few of the lyrics — plainly proving that Florrie the Flapper (1914) was a precursor of, not only the flappers of the twenties, but the Gold Diggers of the 1930’s!

Florrie was a flapper who would gad about the town
She’d lunch with you, she’d dine with you, she’d sup
She often said she didn’t feel the need to settle down
She had so many friends to settle up
She’d let you take her shopping at the most expensive place
She’d say, ‘You mustn’t buy me things,’ but still
As soon as ever you began to bill and coo
She simply cooed and left you with the bill.

It’s an old recording, so you may want to refer to the full lyrics by clicking here, as well as listening to Elsie Janis sing the song, by clicking here.

Colleen Moore was one of the leading “flappers” on screen in the 1920’s. In Why Be Good, she manages to hang on to her chastity while routinely getting men to buy her dinners and drinks and dresses…. Just like Florrie (whose virtue is less certain.)

P.S. If you love the Thirties:

For a brief article from TCM explaining why Gold Diggers of 1933 is “the ultimate thirties film,” click here. For “10 Little Things I Love About Gold Diggers of 1933,” click here. (Who wouldn’t love Joan Blondell?)

Click here for the full lyrics of “Florrie Was a Flapper,” written in 1914.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Menswear, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture