A few weeks ago I got an email from a new reader here, Diana. After exchanging a few back and forth she mentioned that she had worked for Bates Fabrics in the late 1940s . She had trained for a career in radio, and after college she worked doing women’s programs for a station in Maine.
Bates, which was at the time most famous for their bedspreads and home fashions fabrics, hired Diana as part of an effort to expand more into fashion fabrics. Bates had famous designers do clothes using their fabrics, and Diana’s job was to travel around the northeastern US summer resort hotels presenting fashion shows utilizing these clothes. She got some of her friends to model the fashions while she did commentary.
Here you see Diana at the microphone, describing a gown made of Bates fabric. The model is Hazel, Diana’s sister-in-law.
Another photo from one of the fashion shows. Isn’t it interesting how the audience sat around under the sun umbrellas?
Diana pointed out that while the young women had a wonderful time, she’s not sure that the campaign was very successful. I do know that at least some of the clothes were produced for the market, including the Louella Ballerino for Jantzen swim suits in the 1946 ad at the top. I thought it was really interesting that one of the women involved, Diana’s friend Cricket, sent her the same ad as an example of the clothes included in this campaign. Below is another example.