Ad Campaign – Jantzen Sweaters, 1948

We want to pull some wonderful wool over your eyes… the finest !00% virgin worsted wool, to be exact!  We get it from Australia and we only patronize white sheep… we spin it, dye it in colors by the great color genius,  Dorothy Liebes, and knit it into luxurious sweaters… for you to give yourself and your best friends.

Jantzen was, of course, known first and foremost for their swimsuits, but starting in 1940 they also produced sportswear.  The sweaters shown were pretty typical of the types of things they made.

What I found to be surprising in this ad was the mention of Dorothy Liebes as the colorist.  Liebes was primarily a designer of home design textiles, producing textiles for the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright.  She was known for her innovative use of new materials.  She herself was a weaver, and at the time of this ad in 1948 she had a studio in San Francisco where she experimented with color and materials that were not generally thought to be the ingredients of textiles.  Things like leather strips, wood slats and metallic pieces.  She later moved her operation to New York and opened a studio on Lexington Avenue.

Liebes suffered from a heart condition and retired in 1970.  That same year the Museum of Contemporary Crafts did a retrospective of her work.  Unfortunately, Liebes died the following year.

Several years ago I ran across the catalog from the 1970 retrospective, so I read through it to see if there was any mention of Jantzen.  Sure enough, in the listing of positions she held over the years, it says she was a color consultant for Jantzen in 1947-48, and again in 1954-58.

I also learned that although Liebes is known mainly for her work in the home fashions textile industry, one of her last commissions was from designer Bonnie Cashin in 1969.

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Filed under Advertisements, Designers, Sportswear

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