Category Archives: Ad Campaign

Ad Campaign – Wellco at the Bootery, Late 1950s

No need to cry “My feet are killing me!’  when you can buy Wellco Foamtreads for “The Walk That Relaxes.”

After the post last week about Wellco slippers and shoes, Jan Schochet sent this ad to me.  Someone had posted it on facebook, so she did not have the particulars about the ad.  However, there are plenty of clues in the ad that help us date it.

According to Jan, her parents relocated the Bootery from 9 Patton Avenue in Asheville to 16 Patton Avenue in 1963.  Note that the ad says that the “bubble sole” is patented.  This patent was granted in 1947.  So the ad has to be between 1947 and 1963.  The clip art graphics are in the style of the mid 1950s, but as you can see from the shoe style, this was not exactly a “fashion” oriented concern and the clip art could have been older.  Still, all signs point to a late 1950s date.

The ad has been also removed from its physical context, as the name of the newspaper is absent.  But the Bootery’s location in Asheville, and the reference to “right here in Western North Carolina” strongly suggest that the ad was in either the Asheville Citizen, or the Asheville Times.  Today the paper is the Asheville Citizen-Times.

There is so much information on the internet, that I can’t imagine trying to find out about these long out of business companies.  But this ad also illustrates an alarming trend, one that is brought about by Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and other “gathering” sites.  So often photos are divorced from the context of their origins, and it forces people to guess at the image’s origin.  I’ve stopped looking at Tumblr and Facebook for that reason.  It’s just too frustrating.


Filed under Ad Campaign, Shoes

Ad Campaign – Daniel Green Slippers, 1941

Do your Christmas shopping Easy

It’s all done as easily as this… Stop at any slipper counter or department.  Ask to see the new Daniel Green slippers for Christmas.  You’ll be in for a style treat!  And a color thrill!

This ad was written just before the US entered WWII, and while slippers made from cloth were not rationed in the States, I imagine that the pretty colors became a bit hard to obtain due to the scarcity of dyes.  I’ve read that many wartime brides wore white satin slippers because they were the only new – and appropriate for a wedding – shoes to be had.  I can picture a bride wearing the beautiful Militaire slipper at the top of the display.

I’ll be telling the fascinating story of another slipper company tomorrow.  This was a story that has been right under my nose, and it was just brought to my attention.  Some stories are worth the wait.


Filed under Ad Campaign, Shoes

Ad Campaign – Matson Lines, 1945

Across the blue reaches of the Pacific

Broad and unmistakable is the path beaten by Matson across the Pacific since the days of sailing ships.  Through all this time Matson’s business had been transportation, and it had been it’s purpose, with ever-improved equipment, to make even more accessible the loveliness of those Island regions.  

Would you guess from reading this add that WWII had just ended, and that the cruise line industry was still in a state of disarray?  Matson’s four ships had been turned into troop transports, and though you might not guess it from the ad, it took them two years before they could just one ship refitted and back into the touring business.

Yet, there are the hints:

And for tomorrow’s traveler in the Pacific – whether by air or by sea – Matson plans the very finest in modern and efficient transportation.

And the artist did a great job imagining the ship of tomorrow.  It is remarkable how little it looks like a ship from the 1940s, and how much it looks like a modern cruise ship.



Filed under Ad Campaign

Ad Campaign – Vera for Schumacher, 1954

How different can decorative fabrics really be?  Those who know Schumacher’s know the answer.  A stellar example is “Swiss Guards” by Vera, a painted silk antique gauze that sparkles with color and design ingenuity.   In gold, silver, blue, lilac haze, white, squirrel brown… each with its own complementary wallpaper.

We remember Vera Neumann mainly for her scarves, but her original endeavor was silk printing placemats and linen napkins.  About the time she printed her first scarf, she entered into what was the first of her licensing agreements.  In 1947 F. Schumacher & Co., which specialized in home decorator fabrics, supplied  Vera’s print company, Printex, with 10,000 yards of fabric.  Vera designed the fabric which was printed by Printex and marketed by Schumacher.

The collaboration was a huge success and continued for ten years.  When the Trumans redecorated the White House in 1952, the solarium on the third floor was outfitted with one of Vera’s designs for Schumacher.   It was all thrown out by Jackie Kennedy when she turned the room into a classroom and playroom for Caroline in 1961.


Filed under Ad Campaign, Designers

Ad Campaign – Pendleton Triplet, 1951

pick a Pendleton triplet

it’s a coat * it’s a robe * it’s a dress

triple triumph to wear free-flowing or belted…your dream duster with 3 lives, done in superlative Pendleton virgin woolens…so richly, softly warm, yet light as a breath.  Tailored with decisive flair, from bold shoulders to skirt sweep, in gorgeous tartans, little checks, nailheads or solid tones…all in the country’s happiest colors.

Okay, I’m sold.  It sure looks like a perfect travel garment.

One question.  What is nailhead?


Filed under Ad Campaign

Ad Campaign – Galanos for Nan Duskin, 1968

In 1968 the “midi” was thrust upon unsuspecting mini skirt lovers across the world.  It started in Paris, of course, but soon some American designers were showing the new length.   I was in the eight or ninth grade at the time, and all of us girls at Canton Junior High were dedicated mini wearers.  I remember seeing the new style in the fashion magazines and thinking it was so ugly.  Most of my classmates must have agreed because the only midi length items I recall at all, even through the early 70s, were coats.

I’ve been reading two books, and interestingly, both talked about the midi and how one publication, Women’s Wear Daily, attempted to force the popularity of the new length.  Both books were written in the 1970s and both agree that the publisher of WWD, John Fairchild, tried to use his influence with fashion designers, manufacturers and retailers to make and sell the length.

The first book is Minding the Store, the memoirs of  Stanley Marcus, president of Neiman-Marcus stores.  What a great read, full of fashion history tidbits.  This was a man who had been running one of the best womenswear stores in the country, and he knew pretty much everybody who was anybody in fashion.  And he seems to be a genuinely nice person, with seldom a negative word about anyone, that is until he got to John Fairchild.

He mentioned the fact that people who displeased Fairchild were ignored in the paper, and that included Marcus.  Marcus had this to say about the midi:

In 1969 Fairchild went on a one-paper crusade to force acceptance of the Paris-inspired midi length on Seventh Avenue and American retailers.  Those who dragged their feet were labeled old-fashioned…The campaign succeeded so far as manufacturers and stores were concerned, but the American buying public refused to accept the fashion, despite John Fairchild’s almost hysterical endorsement.  The fashion industry, makers and retailers alike, suffered colossal financial losses as customers, confused by the controversy on lengths, decided not to buy at all.  It proved to be the most disastrous season in the history of American fashion.  Chastened by his defeat and the criticism heaped on him, Fairchild abandoned his role as self ordained fashion dictator…

The second book is Fashion for Everybody: The Story of Ready-to-Wear 1870 – 1970 by Sandra Ley.   She tells pretty much the same story as Marcus:

In the late sixties Fairchild decided that the day of the short skirt, not to mention the mini, was over and that from now on only the “midi” (a word they coined) was to be worn.  Many manufacturers were thrown into a tizzy and most of them went along with it…Unfortunately, the majority of American women had never even heard of WWD, and even if they had, they did not consider its edicts relevant to their lives.  WWD showed endless pictures of midis and hammered out its message that nothing else could possibly be acceptable all through the year of 1970 while the manufacturers who had made them and the stores that were selling them soon realized that all the ballyhoo was having no effect on their customers.  In short time those manufacturers and retailers were blaming the whole midi debacle on Fairchild and WWD.

It was an interesting episode, partly because the outcome led to women beginning to realize that they could wear a variety of lengths, and not just those dictated by Paris or a fashion publication.  And according to many fashion historians, it hastened the acceptance of women wearing pants, which was the ultimate solution to ending the worry about skirt length.

To read more about midi-gate and the other nastiness of John Fairchild, there was an excellent profile of him a while back  in Vanity Fair.


Filed under Ad Campaign

Ad Campaign: Burdine’s 1935

Oops! Empty… of course!

At this season empty luggage identifies the fashion-wise resorter, postponing her selection of vacation things until arrival at Miami – and Burdine’s.  Determined not to be fooled again by the alarming fickleness with which the resort style picture changes, she will do her shopping as the season goes its merry way, choosing Sunshine Fashions as the final word in playtime apparel.  

I guess it really does make sense to wait to purchase one’s resort wardrobe upon arrival in Miami.  I mean, you’d hate to have the wrong heel style, or a too big lapel, or a sleeve not quite puffed enough.  We must not be fooled!



Filed under Ad Campaign