Tag Archives: Delineator

Christmas Fashions, 1928

Detail, cover of The Delineator magazine, December 1928.

Detail, cover of The Delineator magazine, December 1928.

Of course it’s not about the baubles, the gifts, the ornaments, the clothes, or the parties, but the holiday season of 1928 did produce some treats for the eyes.

Paris frocks, December 1928. Illustration from The Delineator.

Paris frocks, December 1928. Illustration from The Delineator.

Paris evening gowns, illustrated in The Delineator, December 1928.

Paris evening gowns, illustrated in The Delineator, December 1928.

Luxury goods can’t make us happy, but beauty and creativity do brighten up our lives. Cheers!

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Filed under 1920s, Musings

Orange and Blue in the Mid-Twenties

When I wrote about the orange and black color combination that was popular in the nineteen twenties, I found out that there are still some devoted lovers of orange out there. It turns out that orange and blue were often pictured together in Delineator fashion illustrations in 1924 and 1925.

Evening dresses and and evening wrap; Butterick patterns illustrated in Delineator magazine, February 1924.

Evening dresses and and evening wrap; Butterick patterns illustrated in Delineator magazine, February 1924.

Of course, orange and blue are complementary colors, opposite each other on the color wheel, and therefore they enhance each other when juxtaposed, — orange seeming brighter and blue seeming more vivid — so illustrators may have put them side by side for this reason.

Butterick patterns 4979 (dress) and 4963 (cape.) February 1924, Delineator.

Butterick patterns 4979 (dress) and 4963 (cape.) February 1924, Delineator.

Butterick dress patterns for July 1924. Delineator magazine.

Butterick dress patterns for July 1924. Delineator magazine.

But orange and blue — in slightly pastel tints — was a frequent combination in garments, especially in clothing for girls.

Butterick patterns for girls for Valentine's day, 1925. Delineator.

Butterick patterns 5797 & 5752 for girls for Valentine’s day, 1925. Delineator. [The dress on the right reminds me of quilts from the twenties and thirties.]

It’s sometimes hard to put an exact name to the variations of orange — sometimes it’s a pastel-tinted (i.e., with white added) version of coral red, vermillion, or red orange. [I’m speaking as an illustrator, not as a dyer.]

Butterick patterns for girls, February, 1924. Delineator magazine.

Butterick patterns 4959 and 4995 for girls, February, 1924. Delineator magazine.

 

Butterick patterns for women 5301 and 5341, July 1924. Delineator.

Butterick patterns for women 5301 and 5341, July 1924. Delineator. The color on the left is closer to red-orange than to pure red.

Burnt orange or intense orange seems to be more common for “grown-up” dresses.

Dresses for Misses [age 15 to 20] Butterick patterns 5327, 5329, & 5337. Delineator, July 1924.

Dresses for Misses [age 15 to 20], Butterick patterns 5327, 5329, & 5337. Delineator, July 1924.

Butterick patterns for women, August, 1924. Delineator magazine.

Butterick patterns for women, August, 1924. Delineator magazine.

Pale orange, peach, or apricot also appear in children’s dresses, often with light blue trim.

Butterick patterns for girls, November, 1924. Delineator.

Butterick patterns for girls, Nos. 5607, 5543, 5590; November, 1924. Delineator.

 

Girl's dress 1925; Girls' dress patterns for June, 1924. Delineator.

Girl’s dress 1925; Girls’ dress patterns for June, 1924. Delineator. #5254 on right.

This little girl is wearing an orange dress smocked with black,  with a black coat and orange-trimmed black hat, a combination usually reserved for Hallowe’en now:

Girls' dress  patterns from Butterick, Delineator, March 1924.

Girls’ dress patterns from Butterick, Delineator, March 1924. The blue dress with flower-pot pockets, #5057,  is a charming idea. # 5067 is on left.

As Autumn approached, older girls and young women could use intense orange to accessorize either midnight blue or dark green dresses:

Butterick patterns for teens and small women, October, 1924. Delineator.

Butterick patterns for teens and small women, October, 1924. Delineator. Dress 5489, Coat-dress 5485, and Hat 5561. That orange thing in her hand, far right, is a tiny purse.

That dashing cloche hat is also made from a Butterick pattern.

And, if you weren’t quite prepared for your wedding to include brilliant orange bridesmaids . . .

Bride, Maid of Honor, and Bridesmaids. Butterick Pattern illustration from Delineator magazine, October 1924.

Bride, Maid of Honor, and Bridesmaids. Butterick Pattern illustration from Delineator magazine, October 1924.

this blue and pastel red-orange bridal party might be just what you want:

Bride and bridesmaids, April 1924. Butterick patterns 5137, 5158, 5093, 4462. Delineator magazine.

Bride and bridesmaids, April 1924. Butterick patterns 5137, 5158, 5093, 4462. Delineator magazine.

The dresses on the right have a muted coral bodice and tiers of coral taffeta softened with white lace overlays, with rose pink hats and trim. [The pinkish color may be a result of layering white organza over the bodice fabric.]

Bride's attendants, April, 1924. Delineator magazine.

Bride’s attendants, April, 1924. Delineator magazine.

The bride’s home could even have an orange and blue kitchen:

An ad for Hoosier cabinets, Delineator magazine, Oct. 1925.

An ad for Hoosier cabinets, Delineator magazine, Oct. 1925.

This post is dedicated to Lynn and Brooke, who wrote to say that they love orange.

 

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Filed under 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Vintage patterns

1931 Evening Dresses: The “Bustle Influence”

“The Bustle Returns, Greatly Changed” proclaimed The Delineator in December, 1931.

cover of The Delineator, December, 1931

Cover of The Delineator, December, 1931  (To my surprise, white artificial trees were available then.)

The wine-colored evening dress on the cover and the evening gowns inside the magazine definitely show a “back interest” that had disappeared during the 1920s.

The trend had been mentioned in the previous month, when the dress on the left, Butterick pattern 4149, was described as having “The 1880 Influence.” [Only a fashion writer could see it. . . .]

Butterick pattern 4149, November 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick pattern 4149, November 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick 4149: “The 1880 Influence: A bow almost as big as the bustles of 1880 marks the period that has influenced this gown. The twisted sash is a smart touch. The deep V décolletage, wide at the shoulders, makes the waistline seem small. Designed for sizes 14 to 18; 32 to 44.”

In fact, the bow in back bears very little resemblance to the bustle dresses of 1884-89:

Bustle evening gown, 1885, from 20,000 Years of Fashion.

Bustle evening gown, 1885, from 20,000 Years of Fashion.

(And this article long preceded Diana Vreeland’s era of fashion writing.) Another sign that the twenties were over is the importance of making “the waistline seem small.”

This dress, also from the November 1931 issue, shows a much more elaborate back:

Butterick dress 4189 and wrap 4156. The Delineator, November 1931.

Butterick dress 4189 and wrap 4156. The Delineator, November 1931.

Butterick 4189, New-Old: “It’s the draped hipline that shows the polonaise origin of this taffeta gown. The drapery rises in back to the waistline where a great bow is posed. The flare sweeps upward too. The smoothly fitted bodice has a deep V décolletage. Designed for 32 to 40 [inch bust.]

“Bustle” Dresses for Evening, December 1931

Butterick patterns 4195 (left) and 4129 (right) December 1931. The Delineator magazine.

Butterick patterns 4195 (left) and 4219 (right) December 1931. The Delineator magazine.

Butterick 4195, Apron Silhouette: “A flare that crosses the front of this frock and rises in back like a frivolous apron, is finished at the waistline by a bow – a diminutive descendant of the bustle. The small sketch shows how the epaulet capes turn into a collar. Designed for 32 to 40 [inches.] Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the “small sketch,” or alternate view.

Butterick 4219, The Bustle Bow: “This charming, dull dark blue lace frock turns its back to show a huge bow of wine-red taffeta – reminiscent of the bustle on grandmama’s ball gown. Across the front the taffeta is applied at an angle. Frock designed for sizes 14 to 20 [years]; 32 to 38″ [bust.] The alternate view of this dress has puffy sleeves. See below.

Although the illustrations are in black and white, the color descriptions — like “dark blue lace” with “wine-red taffeta” or “ivory white and emerald green” are worth noticing.

Butterick patterns 4199 and 4204, December 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick patterns 4199 and 4204, December 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick 4199, A New Twist: “Ivory white and emerald green are twisted into shoulder straps and girdle for this evening gown. The back peplum is one of the things fashion is using to give the effect of a bustle to the newest evening gowns. Designed for sizes 14 to 18 [years]; 32 to 40 [inches.]” Notice the complex cut of the skirt, with long narrow panels that converge and flare. They do the same in front.

Butterick 4204, Strap Back Décolletage: “Much goes on behind the backs of new gowns. This one, simple and molded in front, has the strap décolletage that is so smart, and a chou at the waistline that shows the influence of the bustle. [“Chou” is the French word for cabbage – and also a term of endearment.] Designed for sizes 14 to 20 [years]; 32 to 38″ [bust.] The alternate front view shows 4204 without ruffles, for a much sleeker look.

The gown on the left, below, has a twisted trim similar to No. 4199 and the sash of 4149.

Butterick evening dress patterns 4222 & 4226, December 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick dinner dress patterns 4222 & 4226, December 1931. The Delineator. The one on the right has a velvet and mink jacket.

Butterick 4222, Black and White Satin: “The raison d’être of this black satin dinner dress is its white top that covers the shoulders in little capelets, is twisted at the front, and crosses over to form a sash that ties at the back. Fan shaped flare front and back. Designed for 32 to 40. [Bust]

Butterick 4226, A Bit of a Jacket: “Beige velvet and mink are a combination of great elegance for the dinner gown. The waist-length jacket has a narrow sash crossed over in the front and tied in the back. A yoke of Alençon lace tops the frock. The dress on the right is shown in two versions, evening and mid-calf length. Designed for sizes 14 to 18; 32 to 42.

Alternate views of Butterick pattern 4226. December 1931.

Alternate views of Butterick pattern 4226. December 1931.

Here are alternate views for the patterns featured in the December, 1931 issue:

Alternate views of 4222, 4226, 4218, 4199, 4204, 4195, & 4219

Alternate views of 4222, 4226, 4218, 4199, 4204, 4195, & 4219

Not all of these dresses were pictured & described above. I love the flared godet, front and back,  in number 4222. It’s impossible to see many of these designs without thinking of Vionnet’s influence.

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Filed under 1930s, Vintage patterns

Fall Fashions for Young Women, 1925

Fall Fashions, October 1925. Butterick patterns featured in The Delineator.

Fall Fashions, October 1925. Butterick patterns featured in The Delineator. “The Fashionable Young Girl Chooses New Ensembles for General and Better Wear.”

By late 1925, the tubular twenties were beginning to give way to dresses and coats with some flare or pleats below the hip, and occasional back fullness in the skirts. However, some of these styles have a hem circumference that barely exceeds the hip measurement. Although the title implies that these patterns are for women 20 and under, many were also available in women’s sizes.

Butterick Dress patterns 6306 and 6322. Oct. 1925.

Butterick Dress patterns 6306 and 6322. Oct. 1925.

Butterick 6306 (left) : “A new sleeve distinguishes this one-piece dress which fits closely at the hipline. The lower edge is straight and the dress slips over the head. . . . [Size 16 years has a] Lower edge 42 ins. It is for misses 15 to 20 years, also ladies 38, 40 bust.

Butterick 6322 (right): The bolero front of this slip-over dress makes it appealingly youthful. The one-piece back has an inverted plait [pleat] down its center. . . . [On size 16 years,] Lower edge, plaits out, 56 inches. The dress is for misses 15 to 20 years, also small women.”

Back views No. 6306 and 6322. Oct. 1925.

Back views No. 6306 and 6322. Oct. 1925.

This looks like two views of the coat, but the one on the right is a dress:

Butterick coat pattern 6302 and dress 6299. Oct. 1925.

Butterick coat pattern 6302 and dress 6299. Oct. 1925.

Butterick 6302 (blue coat):  “The flared coat is popular for the new ensemble costume. This one puts its circular flare across the back and keeps the front straight. . . . [Size 18 years’ ] Lower edge 2 yards. The coat is for misses 15 to 20 years, ladies 38 to 44 bust.”

Butterick 6299 (blue dress):  “The circular flare attached across the back makes this one-piece slip-over frock particularly chic with the new back-flared coat. The front fits closely at the hipline. . . . [Size 18 years’ ] Lower edge 43 1/2 inches. The dress is for misses 15 to 20 years, also ladies 38 to 44 bust.”

Butterick coat 6303 (left) and dress 6310 (right.) Oct. 1925.

Butterick coat 6303 (left) and dress 6310 (right.) Oct. 1925.

Butterick coat 6303:  “This straight line coat  with a dress to match its lining makes a very smart general wear ensemble. Use tweeds, cashmere cheviots, novelty weaves or camel’s hair, with plain or plaid twill flannel for lining. . . .  [For] 34 bust or 17 years . . .  Lower edge [is] 44 inches. The coat is for misses 16 to 18 years, ladies 33 to 52 bust. [A surprisingly large size.]

Butterick dress 6310:  “With two box plaits in front and one in back this slip-over one-piece dress makes a bid for chic. . . . [On size 17 years ] Lower edge, plaits out, 59 ins.  This dress is for misses 15 to 20 years, also small women. [Misses’ sizes had a shorter torso length than ladies’ sizes; size 20 years fit a 37″ bust.]

Back views of coat 6303 dress 6310.

Back views of coat 6303 & dress 6310.

This dress, with its sheer sleeves and self-colored embroidery, is an afternoon dress, and the coat shown next to it is also for “more formal” wear:

Butterick dress pattern 6235 and coat pattern 6298. October 1925.

Butterick dress pattern 6235 and coat pattern 6298. October 1925.

Butterick dress No. 6275:  “A lovely afternoon frock has a circular flounce across the front. The embroidery is decorative. Work in self-color. This one-piece slip-over frock fits closely at the hipline. Lower edge 43 1/2 inches. . . . It is for misses 33 to 35 bust or 16 to 18 years, also ladies.” [The embroidery was probably worked in silk floss, like this early 1920s blouse.]

Butterick coat No. 6298:  “The new and graceful coat with a circular flare across the front makes a rather more formal ensemble with a front-flared silk dress to match its lining. . . . The coat is for misses 15 to 20 years, ladies 38 to 44 bust.

Back views dress 6275 and coat 6298. October 1925.

Back views dress 6275 and coat 6298. October 1925.

On these two garments, all the flare is in the front, and the back is perfectly straight, as in most earlier twenties clothing.

This charming fall illustration shows two girls and a fashionable Boston terrier dog. Notice how much shorter their skirts are than the others pictured; that’s because these are girls 8 to 15,  not “misses 15 to 20.”

Butterick coat pattern 6335 and dress pattern 6309. October 1925 Delineator.

Butterick coat pattern 6335 and dress pattern 6309. October 1925 Delineator.

Butterick coat 6335:  “As an ensemble costume this coat with its circular flare attached across its back is excellent with the dress shown beside it. The coat is for juniors and girls 8 to 15 years; hat for girls 2 to 12.
Butterick dress 6309:  “A straight band lengthens the long upper part of this slip-over dress. With the coat beside it, it makes a smart ensemble costume. . . . The dress is for juniors and girls 8 to 15 years; hat for girls 2 to 12.

Back views 6335 and 6309.

Back views 6335 and 6309. Here they are shown on younger girls.

Their hat was also made from a Butterick Pattern:

Butterick hat pattern 6237 for girls 2 to 12. October 1925, Delineator.

Butterick hat pattern 6237 for girls 2 to 12. October 1925, Delineator.

The six-gored hat pattern was described separately elsewhere in the October issue:

Butterick hat pattern No. 6237 for girls 2 to 12. October 1925.

Butterick hat pattern No. 6237 for girls 2 to 12. Delineator, October 1925.

It’s interesting that there is no brim in back. Although a home stitcher could not stretch a felt shape into a cloche, four or six-gored hat patterns allowed women to make their own 1920s hats. Click here for images of another 1920s Butterick hat pattern.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, Accessory Patterns, Children's Vintage styles, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Paris Calls for Pleats, 1926 (Part 2: Styles for Larger Women)

In Part 1, I showed some Delineator pattern illustrations for Misses and Women’s dresses for September, 1926. The same issue had a second article about the importance of pleats [called plaits] — this time for larger women.

Plaits Reduce New Parisian Frocks to Their Slimmest Terms

"Plaits Reduce New Parisian Frocks to Their Slimmest Terms." Delineator magazine, Sept. 1926.

“Plaits Reduce New Parisian Frocks to Their Slimmest Terms.” Delineator magazine, Sept. 1926.

All but one of these Butterick patterns from 1926 is meant for larger-than-average women. The three on the right are for women with bust measurements from 36 to 52 inches, far from the boyish figure associated with 1920s styles. The four on the left are drawn, as usual, as they might look on women at the smallest end of their size range, not size 46.

Butterick Skirts and Blouses

"Slimming" Butterick patterns 7066 (blouse), 6286 (skirt), 7078 (blouse), 6331 (skirt) from September 1926. Delineator magazine.

“Slimming” Butterick patterns 7066 (blouse), 6286 (skirt), 7078 (blouse), 6331 (skirt) from September 1926. Delineator magazine.

The blouse patterns are new, but the skirt patterns’ numbers show that they first appeared in the previous year. The pleated skirt on the left came in hip sizes 35 to 49.5 inches. Skirt 6331 was available up to hip size 52 inches — equivalent to a modern size 28W. Most early twenties dresses had straight backs, with any flare or fullness in the front only, like skirt 6286, but that was changing by 1926.1926 sept p 32 delin text 7066 6286 7078 6331 stout dresses

Many mid-twenties illustrations show a decorative colored hankie peeking out from a pocket, like these.

Blouse patterns 7066 and 7078. September 1926.

Blouse patterns 7066 and 7078. September 1926.

That narrow ribbon tie on # 7078 is slenderizing. These blouses were available for bust sizes 32 to 46, a little larger than the normal size range. They both have yokes with gathers or tucks adding fullness in front, unlike this similar design for Misses aged 15 to 20 “and small women,” which has no bust fullness.

Butterick pattern No. 7950 for Misses and small women, Sept. 1926.

Butterick pattern No. 7950 for Misses and small women, Sept. 1926.

Butterick 7051

Butterick pattern No. 7051 for larger women, 1926.

Butterick pattern No. 7051 for larger women, 1926.

This dress was available up to bust size 48; whether the embroidered horizontal band across the front — widened further with decorative buttons — would be becoming to its wearer is questionable. The bodice insert giving the impression of an exposed slip is a “vestee” which could be removed for laundering. It could also be made of a contrasting fabric, like pattern 7089, below.1926 sept p 32 white hat and detail stoutsShe wears a fairly lavish fox fur stole; even the woman wearing sporty blouse #7078 has put a pair of dead animals around her throat.

A small fox stole.

A small fox stole.

My mother (the former flapper) was very proud of her fur stole, which had baleful glass eyes and a hinged clip under the jaw, so that the little critters, like this one, appeared to be biting each other.

Butterick 7089

Butterick No. 7089, Sept. 1926.

Butterick No. 7089, Sept. 1926.

This dress, with a high collar that can be worn buttoned as shown, or open like No. 7051, features a long opening in the center front. 1926 sept p 32  top of 7089 stout leftButterick made this dress pattern in its usual range of sizes, bust 32 to 44 inches, roughly equivalent to modern pattern sizes 10 through 22. Her hat is trimmed with a very long jeweled pin.

Butterick 7077 and 7016

These two patterns were not only available in large sizes, but were described as able “to thin down a stout figure” and “to make the least of a large figure.” I wouldn’t agree about the one on the right.

Butterick patterns 7077 and 7046 for bust sizes 36 to 52. Sept. 1926.

Butterick patterns 7077 and 7046 for bust sizes 36 to 52. Sept. 1926.

1926 sept p 32 delin text7077 7016 stout dressesNumber 7077 certainly does its best to create a long vertical area from neck to hem, drawing our eyes to the center, rather than the outline, of the body. Number 7016 has a diagonal “surplice” line intended to do the same, but the hip band and wide space between two sets of front pleats negates the effect. The top of the dress doesn’t really relate to the lower part. The evening gown below, also from 1926, came in sizes 36 to 48; here, the surplice line is effectively carried down into a side drape so your eye travels past the hip, rather than across it.

Butterick pattern No. 1187 from Dec. 1926 had "reducing properties" and came in sizes 36 to 48.

Butterick pattern No. 1187 from Dec. 1926 had “reducing properties” and came in sizes 36 to 48.

Butterick 7077 and 7016, details.

Butterick 7077 and 7016, details.

It’s hard to be sure if the hat on the right was made of the same fabric as the lapels on the dress, or not.  It could be fur. The woman on the left is wearing what looks like a magnifying glass on a long necklace, but it might hold a secret, like this one:

A vintage lorgnette, courtesy of RememberedSummers.

A vintage lorgnette, courtesy of RememberedSummers.

When you press a tiny button on the silvery filigree, it opens to become a pair of hand held-spectacles:

Lorgnette photo courtesy of RememberedSummers.

Lorgnette photo courtesy of RememberedSummers.

Butterick 7083

Butterick pattern 7083 is "chic for stout women" with bust sizes up to 52". Sept. 1926.

Butterick pattern 7083 is “chic for stout women” with bust sizes up to 52″. Sept. 1926.

The image is curved and distorted because it was photographed from a thick, bound periodical volume. In spite of this garment’s princess seams, the model is drawn as if wearing a bust-flattening corset or corselet.1926 sept p 32  7083 details hat stout rtShe, too, carries a fox fur piece.

One pleasure of Delineator pattern illustrations is the carefully drawn accessories, like these hats:

A selection of hats from September. 1926. Delineator magazine.

A selection of hats from September, 1926. Delineator magazine.

Folds, droopiness, and tiny brims can also be seen in the hats from Part 1. Click here.

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Filed under 1920s, Hats, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Vionnet Did It Before Paco Rabanne: The Disc Dress

Madeleine Vionnet is a designer who never fails to surprise me. Here, from the Spring of 1929, is one of her dresses for young women:

Vionnet dress trimmed with discs, 1929 .Sketches from Paris, The Delineator, April 1929, page 40.

Vionnet dress trimmed with discs, 1929 . Sketches from Paris, The Delineator, April 1929, page 40.

The title of the article is “Paris Keeps Evening Necks High and Hems Low for the Young Girl.”

The two dresses at top are by Vionnet; at bottoms, left to right, are gowns by Worth, Lucien Lelong, and Lanvin. April 1929. The Delineator.

The two dresses at top are by Vionnet; at bottom, left to right, are gowns by Worth, Lucien Lelong, and Lanvin. April 1929. The Delineator.

In the 1960s, Paco Rabanne became famous for his “Disc Dresses” — dresses made of plastic discs held together with metal rings. This one, dated 1965, is in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum:

Paco Rabanne Disac Dress, 1965; Photograph from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Paco Rabanne Disc Dress, 1965; Photograph from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Detail of disc dress construction, Paco Rabanne, 1965. Metropolitan Museum photo.

Detail of disc dress construction, Paco Rabanne, 1965. Metropolitan Museum photo.

For a better view of the Paco Rabanne photographs, visit the Metropolitan Museum’s online collection. Click here. The 1960s disc dress was usually worn over a bodystocking. It was made for dancing. It wasn’t made for comfort — nor quiet.

It looks like Vionnet attached her large, overlapping discs to a chiffon underlayer:

Skirt of Vionnet disc dress, 1929.

Skirt of Vionnet disc dress, 1929.

“Madeleine Vionnet uses rose chiffon over white satin for a winsome model with skirt of overlapping discs and scarf.”

I’m not saying Rabanne even knew about this Vionnet design. I’m just saying that, when it comes to using big discs on evening wear, Vionnet got there first.

The wittiest, and best known,  later variation on the disc dress has to be the one costume designer Lizzy Gardiner wore while accepting her Academy Award for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in 1995. It was made of hundreds of gold American Express Credit cards linked together in the style of the 1960s disc dresses.

I wonder if anyone has made a “disk dress” by wiring together old floppy disks.  Probably.

There is another Paco Rabanne disc dress (1967) in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, but the site may take a while to load. Click here.

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Couture Designs

Fashion Illustration vs Fashion Reality, 1934

In the 1930s, some magazines that sold patterns, like Butterick’s Delineator, tried to modernize by running more photographs and fewer drawings of their products. Sometimes the collision between the unrealistic “fashion figure” of the early thirties — impossibly long, impossibly hipless — and the way the clothes would look on a real woman was pretty jarring.

Tailored Daytime Dresses, Butterick patterns 5914 & 5907. Oct. 1934. From The Delineator.

Tailored Daytime Dresses, Butterick patterns 5914 & 5907. Oct. 1934. From The Delineator. Illustrator is Myrtle Lages or Lageo.

Butterick evening dresses, No. 5913, on left, is after Mainbocher. Sizes 12 to 20, 30" to 44". The Delneator, Oct. 1934.

Butterick evening dress, No. 5913, on left, is “after Mainbocher.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30″ to 44″. The Delineator, Oct. 1934. These floor length dresses make the models look taller and thinner, but not much like the illustrations.

The evening gown models in the photograph do not have the narrow waists or exceptionally long thighs of those in the drawing, although they do have the sense not to stand “flat on” to the camera.  (Fashion tip: a slenderizing vertical belt buckle, like the rhinestone one on the left, draws our eyes to the center of the body rather than its width. Even so, her waist still looks thick.) Pattern companies were well aware that a woman’s hips are usually larger than her bust or shoulders; they just didn’t draw them that way.

This juxtaposition of a fashion drawing and a pretty, live model shows how impossible the ideal was:

Butterick coat pattern No. 5899 and Butterick tunic dress pattern 5882. Oct. 1934, The Delineator magazine.

Butterick coat pattern No. 5899 and Butterick tunic dress pattern 5882. Oct. 1934, The Delineator magazine.

In this particular layout, the photographic model is wearing the same hat as the drawn one — as if to suggest that the coat illustration was true to life.

Three views of the black felt feathered hat. Oct 1934.

Three views of the black felt feathered hat by Lilly Dache. Oct 1934.

The dress and coat below appeared in the same article, and showed another feathered hat in a photograph and in two drawings beside it. The Lilly Daché hat fares better than the live model.

"The famous butcher boy dress" (Butterick pattern No. 5609) and coat pattern 5901. October 1934, The Delineator.

“The famous butcher boy dress” (Butterick pattern No. 5609) and coat pattern 5901. October 1934, The Delineator.

“A belted and buttoned coat of black tweed flecked with rose, with scarf collar and cuffs of Hudson seal and the famous butcher boy dress of Howlett and Hackmeyer ashes-of-roses velveteen — worn with black fabric beret, kid bag, kid and suede oxfords, and beige suede gloves. Coat and dress are designed for Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 38 [inches bust.]”

Butterick pattern #5854, "after Lyolene." September 1934, The Delineator.

Butterick pattern #5854, “after Lyolene.” September 1934, The Delineator. Photo by Arthur O’Neill.

The model in this brown tweed plaid dress is wearing low-heeled shoes, which make it even more necessary for her to turn her hips to one side and conceal their width with her hands and purse. Those gigantic cuffs are a distraction, but the large collars of the 1930s are very useful in balancing a woman’s hips with a mass of lighter color to draw our eyes up toward the face and to widen the shoulders.

Three Butterick dress patterns from September 1934. From left, Nos. 5854, 5852, and 5874. The Delneator.

Three Butterick dress patterns from September 1934. From left, Nos. 5854, 5852, and 5874. The Delineator. The pose of the figure in green is very similar to the live model’s, who looks thick-waisted by comparison. The vertical line of buttons running all the way down the back of the black dress is very slenderizing. (But probably not nice to sit on!)

Of course, by 1934 shoulder pads were also in use to ensure that women’s shoulders looked wider than their hips, and shoulder pads got progressively bigger throughout the 1930s.

The Rule of Thumb

In case you haven’t studied both fashion illustration and life drawing (drawing from a live, nude model) — artists, as distinct from fashion illustrators, start with the fact that a normal human being is usually about seven or seven and a half “heads” high.   That is, if you hold out your arm with a pencil or brush in it and use your thumb to measure off the height of the model’s head, that “head” becomes the unit of measurement for the rest of the body. To make the three dimensional body look graceful when reduced to two dimensions, artists usually elongate the legs a little, so ‘realistic’ figure drawings are based on an eight head figure:

An eight head figure from Walt Reed's figure drawing book, The Figure.

An eight head figure from Walt Reed’s figure drawing book, The Figure.

On a standing model, the distance from the top of the head to the bottom of the torso is about four heads, and so is the distance from there to the heel. The legs equal half the body. I love this memorable illustration from Jack Hamm’s book, Drawing the Head and Figure:

Jack Hamm's version of the "eight head figure." From Drawing the Head and Figure.

Jack Hamm’s version of the “eight head figure.” The figure on the right measures seven and a half heads. From Drawing the Head and Figure.

Most of the added length is in the leg.  You can see how the eight head figure (AC) on the left compares with a more truthful — but chunky looking — seven-and-a half head figure (BD) on the right.

But fashion illustrations usually start at “nine heads” and “editorial” fashion illustrations are often eleven heads tall. There is no way an average woman, (5′ 4″ to 5′ 8″) with the measurements a pattern company gives as normally proportioned (say, 36-28-38) can ever look like the drawing on the front of the pattern envelope. That is why models kept getting taller and thinner; only a very tall, thin person can come close to matching the illustrated ideal. fashion  illus Myrtle Lages

You can see that the lower part of the body in these fashion illustrations is much more than half of the whole. Just for fun, I played with this illustration and the photo of two women in evening gowns from the top of this post. [Correction on 2/25/15: the adjusted figure below is based on the suit on the left, above, #5914, not the evening gown.]

shortened fashion drawingIn the illustration above, I took the extra length out of the legs. [I eye-balled it, so it still looks like a fashion illustration. Old habits….] comp model with legs addedOn the right is the photograph of the model. Her skirt is the same length in both images — I just added some legs under it so she looks taller (I also adjusted the flare, but not the length, of the skirt.) If you cover the legs with your thumb, you can see that this is the same picture.

Of the two drawing books mentioned above, Jack Hamm’s (available in paperback) is more useful to the fashion illustrator or costume designer. Originally published in 1963, the faces look dated, but there is a simplified guide to the 12 most common fashion models’ poses that can be a help when you’re doing dozens of costume sketches. He also covers feet (in high heels and men’s shoes) and the way fabrics behave. Walt Reed’s book is aimed at life drawing students (no clothing is discussed), but his lessons on head positions & features — and his emphasis on male and female models and models of various ages — is another handy reference when you don’t have a model to work from. [Costume designers rarely have a model, and we do have to draw more men than women.]

 

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Filed under 1930s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Hats, Vintage patterns

New Clothes from Old, World War I

Ladies' Home Journal Cover by M. Giles, September 1917.

Ladies’ Home Journal Cover by M. Giles, September 1917. Her dress, with its 1860-ish pagoda sleeves, evokes the Civil War.

When the United States entered World War I, the “women’s magazines” communicated many of the new restrictions on food and fabric use to families all over the country.

“This Is What the Englishwoman Did.” Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1917.

What the Englishwoman did was plunder her closet and convert out-of-fashion or worn-out clothing to new styles for herself and her family. She made children’s dresses from her old jackets (top left) and old petticoats (top right), put new, remade sleeves on old gowns, turned old suits into “new” dresses (center), and refurbished old hats.

Woman's Institute ad, Ladies' Home Journal, Nov. 1917.

Woman’s Institute ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, Nov. 1917. “This year women are urged to economize, but economy need not mean fewer clothes.” Woman’s Institute offered correspondence courses in sewing, etc.

Both Delineator (which targeted middle and upper middle class women) and Ladies’ Home Journal (which was aimed a little lower on the social scale) began runnning regular articles on how to convert old clothes to new; sometimes they even sold patterns intended to be used in this way.

Ladies' Home Journal pattern No. 9776 for boy's shirts made from worn out men's shirts. Aug. 1917.

Ladies’ Home Journal pattern No. 9776 for boy’s shirts made from worn out men’s shirts. Aug. 1917. “When a man’s shirt is perfectly good ‘all but,’ it may be made over into any one of these three garments pictured here.”

This blouse was made from an old evening dress:

How to use an old evening gown is solved by this dainty Georgette crepe waist made from the gown above.

You can see that the bands of trim from the evening gown, including ruffle, have been incorporated into the blouse. This may not be easy reading for Vintage Clothing Dealers; today, a lovely pre-war gown is more appreciated than a matronly blouse.

Dresses suitable for salvage, Ladies' Home Journal, Sept. 1917.

Dresses suitable for salvage, Ladies’ Home Journal, Sept. 1917.

” ‘ What shall I ever do with this old-fashioned eyelet embroidery gown? ‘ Combine it with that black satin dress you spilled acid on, select an up-to-date model and you will not believe your own eyes. Here the result is shown.”

Dress made from two old dresses, Sept. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Dress made from two old dresses, Sept. 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal.

A reader of mystery novels might wonder why a woman wearing a black satin dress was handling acid . . . .

The dress below was made from an old dress and a long plaid skirt. The criss-cross belt was very fashionable in 1917.

Dress made from two old dresses, Sept. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Dress made from an old skirt and dress, Sept. 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal. I’m not sure that “bite” out of the front showing an underskirt is a great idea….

When you ran out of old clothes, you could start on the curtains:

“Young girls fairly glow in fluffy things with ruffles, like this party frock made of dotted curtain mull.” Ladies’ Home Journal, Sept. 1917.

This young woman told a story of embarrassment solved by an ingenious remodel:

Remodelled coat, Sept. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Remodeled coat, Sept. 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal. Illustration by Sheldon.

” ‘I cannot wear this old coat another season; everyone knows it by its plainness.’ A friend suggested a new collar, cuffs, pockets and sash of a self-toned material, all coarse-stitched with a heavy floss. Anyone would be proud to wear the coat after the ‘fixing.’ “

The result is much more stylish, indeed. coat remake

I had a chance to photograph a high-quality wool suit ( probably dated 1918) with similar “coarse-stitching” in silk floss; it’s a lovely detail.

“Coarse-stitching” on the pockets, belt, and center front opening of a vintage suit with labels from Hickson (New York & Boston)and E. E. Atkinson & Co., Minneapolis.

Thanks to B. Murray for the opportunity to photograph this suit.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Woman's Institute, World War I

Day Dresses for November, 1934

Butterick dress patterns for "High Noon," November 1934. Nos. 5961, 5955, and 5857.

Butterick dress patterns for “High Noon,” November 1934. Nos. 5961, 5955, and 5857. From The Delineator magazine. Photographer not named.

High Noon

“If you sit in the lobby of any smart luncheon place at high noon, you’ll see these smart women come in. The one who wears a tailored tweed dress, 5961 [left], with careful details — small collar, pockets, buttons, pleats, stitching.  The one who wears a black wool dress, 5957 [right], with slits in the streamline skirt and a shining satin sash.  The one who wears a bright crepe dress, 5955 [center], punctuated at neckline and wrists with black. There’s a look of Jodelle about the lovely, simple lines. . . . Cheney fabric. Delman shoes. Lilly Daché hat. Furs from Jaekel.”

Butterick 5961

Butterick pattern No. 5961, Nov. 1934, Delineator magazine.

Butterick pattern No. 5961, Nov. 1934, The Delineator magazine.

I confess that this is my favorite. It has so many great details, including that yoke extending into sleeves; the intriguing pocket shapes, copied on the skirt; and the big button accents. On the other hand, matching the large-scale plaid was undoubtedly easier for the illustrator than it would be for the home stitcher!

1934 nov high noon 5961 left top

“5961:  The kind of tailored clothes that came out of Paris are the kind with interesting details — stitching, slot seams, amusing pockets, slit skirts. As Agnes-Drecoll uses details, we used them in this plaid wool dress. For 36 (size 18), 3 yards, 54-inch wool.  Designed for 12 to 20; 30 to 42 [inch bust measure.]”

Not what we think of as a 'slit skirt' today: Butterick #5961, 1934.

Not what we think of as a ‘slit skirt’ today: Butterick #5961, 1934. It wouldn’t make walking much easier….

Butterick 5955

Butterick pattern No. 5955, with Lilly Dache hat. November 1934 Delineator magazine.

Butterick pattern No. 5955, with Lilly Dache hat. November 1934 The Delineator magazine.

“As Jodelle grows familiar, you recognize the simplicity of her lines. Like our dress with its convertible collar, they suit everyone. . . . Designed for sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40 [inch bust measure.] “

Butterick pattern No. 5955, Delineator, Nov. 1934.

Butterick pattern No. 5955, The Delineator, Nov. 1934.

That’s certainly an interesting sleeve (although likely to swoop into the soup at lunch). The article gives no alternate view to explain how the collar is “convertible.” Here’s a closer look at the Lilly Daché hat, with its brim of pleated velvet:

Black velvet hat from Lilly Dache. 1934.

Black velvet hat from Lilly Dache. 1934.

I had to increase the contrast to show the hat details. According to Lizzie Bramlett, writing for the Vintage Fashion Guild, Lilly Dache’s first hat under her own name was also made of velvet. Fashion trivia fact: “In 1958 Daché hired Halston as a hat designer.”

Butterick 5957

Butterick pattern 5957, Delineator magazine, Nov. 1934.

Butterick pattern 5957, The Delineator magazine, Nov. 1934.

“5957  A new French house called Robert Piguet slit the skirts of trim wool dresses and filled them in with pleats. We make a dress like that and tie shiny satin around the waist. . . . Designed for sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40 [inch bust measure.] ”

SLit with pleats in the style of Robert Piguet, 1934. The Delineator.

Slit with pleats in the style of Robert Piguet, 1934. The Delineator.

Writing for the Vintage Fashion Guild, emmapeelpants says that the house of Robert Piguet, founded in 1933, was “the training ground for Dior, Bohan, Galanos, Balmain and Givenchy. ” That’s quite an alumni group! Like Butterick No. 5961, this dress has broad shoulders and a yoke, which makes the upper body look wider (and the hips narrower by comparison. Also notice how much the length of the thigh is exaggerated in this fashion illustration.) 1934 nov high noon right 5957 thigh lengthThe finishing touch on this dress (described in the copy as “a black wool dress,” but illustrated in red) is an exceptionally long rhinestone dress clip at the neckline, added in the illustration to continue the vertical CF seam. 1934 nov high noon right dress clip

1930s rhinestone dress clip from RememberedSummers.

1930s rhinestone dress clip from RememberedSummers.

I thought this vintage clip was long — over 2 inches — but it’s nowhere near as long as the one illustrated. The collar of #5957 would look quite different without that big piece of jewelry.

Not Quite Designer Fashions

You’ll notice that all three patterns are described with reference to specific Paris designers, but none of them claims to be an exact copy of a Paris design. “As Agnes-Drecoll uses details, we used them in this plaid wool dress.”  “There’s a look of Jodelle about the lovely, simple lines.” “Robert Piguet slit the skirts of trim wool dresses and filled them in with pleats. We make a dress like that . . . .” The Butterick Publishing Company maintained an office in Paris, partly for the purpose of reporting on the latest fashions. Back in the 1920s, it was raided by the French police on behalf of Madeleine Vionnet; they indeed found evidence that her dresses were being copied in the workshop. Vionnet sued. (Source: Betty Kirke’s brilliant book Madeleine Vionnet.)

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, Hats, Not Quite Designer Patterns, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

1920s Orange and Black: Not Just for Halloween

It isn’t news that certain colors — and color combinations — go in and out of fashion. But the combination of orange and black is now so strongly linked to Halloween that it’s a surprise to find it on dresses for spring in the mid-1920s.

Dresses for women aged 14 to 20, February 1925. Butterick pattern illustrations from Delineator.

Dresses for women aged 14 to 20, February 1925. Butterick pattern illustrations from Delineator magazine.

These young women are enjoying a box of Valentine’s Day candy. Early twentieth century color printing was not based on the CMYK [Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black] inks we use today, so illustrations from the twenties often have an autumnal quality compared to the bright colors we are used to. Nevertheless, the red valentine hearts show that the dress on the right, above, is definitely orange, with black trim. The same color combination was suggested for older women, too:

Fashions from Delineator, April, 1924. Butterick pattern illustrations.

Fashions from Delineator, April, 1924. Butterick pattern illustrations.

Orange was also worn with dark blue in 1924 and 1925, but the woman on the left is wearing [burnt?] orange and black in this April pattern illustration.

This lovely illustration for a Holeproof Hosiery advertisement, by McClelland Barclay, appeared in May, 1925:

Holeproof Hosiery ad, illustration by McClelland Barclay, May 1925 Delineator.

Holeproof Hosiery ad, illustration by McClelland Barclay, May 1925 Delineator.

The dress on the right may be trimmed with dark brown, matching the dress on the left, but this is another suggestion that orange is an appropriate color for May. Note the orange-y stockings on the right. Both women wear almost-opaque silk stockings.

Left, April 1925; right, June 1925. Butterick pattern illustrations from Delineator.

Left, April 1925; right, June 1925. Butterick pattern illustrations from Delineator.

The dress on the left looks more coral (or cadmium red) than orange, but the sporty dress on the right is unquestionably orange and black. (There’s also a glimpse of an orange, black & white plaid dress behind the woman at left.) The orange striped dress is from a June issue, and orange and white is still a summer combination. But we’re more used to seeing orange combined with other bright colors, like yellow or lime or watermelon pink — not alone with black.

This lady is decorating her kitchen (with Valspar paint) while wearing a black and orange top, with a coordinating black and orange trimmed apron:

Valspar paint ad, 1925. Delineator magazine.

Valspar paint ad, 1925. Delineator magazine.

These girls are wearing back-to-school clothes, so it is autumn; the little girl is dressed in orange and white plaid, with black trim:

Back to school clothes, 1925. Delineator.

Back to school clothes, 1925. Delineator.

[Digression: The Chanel-influenced outfit on the left is knee-length on a schoolgirl in 1925; adult women would be wearing this length within two years.]

This is another illustration by McClelland Barclay for Holeproof Hosiery.

Holeproof Hosiery Ad, October 1925 Delineator. Illustrator is McClelland Barclay.

Holeproof Hosiery Ad, October 1925 Delineator. Illustrator is McClelland Barclay.

The caption read “First — Artistry in Silk, then the vividness of Paris Colors.” Her satin bodice may be navy, rather than black, but the combination — not to mention her orange silk stockings — is not one we’re used to seeing today, except around October 31.  A little less jarring – because the orange is not combined with black — is this suggestion for an October wedding, from 1924:

Bride, Maid of Honor, and Bridesmaids. Butterick Pattern illustration from Delineator magazine, October 1924.

Bride, Maid of Honor, and Bridesmaids. Butterick Pattern illustration from Delineator magazine, October 1924.

I notice that most of the wedding party are rosy-cheeked brunettes. Presumably the bride chose colors she was used to wearing. [ P.S. This is one of those illustrations that always made me ask, “How is it possible for women that young to have busts that low?” See Underpinning the Twenties:  Brassieres, Bandeaux, and Bust Flatteners for the answer.]

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Filed under 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Hats, Hosiery & Stockings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns