Tag Archives: Doucet evening gown dress 1917

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