A Pucci for the Californians

I was all ready to leave the topic of Pucci behind and move on when a set of photos appeared in my inbox.  Sent by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous, they are of another early Pucci, this one a blouse made from Pucci fabric with a California theme.

The style of the blouse is very much like the last one I posted.  I can picture either of them worn over a pair of capris accessorized with sandals and a big sun hat. Both blouses have the same label, though with a different color printing.  As I pointed out in my earlier post, this is the second Pucci label, after he expanded to Florence, but before he added “Pucci”  to the label.

There is also an I. Magnin label.  I. Magnin was a San Francisco based department store that carried luxury lines and high fashion clothing.  Not only was this blouse sold at I. Magnin, it was specially designed for the store.

I think it is interesting that the blouse is signed Emilio of Capri, while the label is the later Capri/Florence one.

There is also something else interesting about this blouse, and the other two early Pucci pieces that I showed before.  One clue that people use to help identify an authentic Pucci is the squiggly “Emilio” signature found scattered within the print.  But none of these early examples have the signature.  It was not until the 1960s when Pucci turned to more abstract designs that were very easy to copy  that the signature was added.  Upon the advice of his buyer at Lord & Taylor, Marjorie Griswold, the signature was added in the mid 1960s.

I hate to think that vintage buyers might have passed on unsigned pieces because they suspected that they might be fakes.

As for the design of the print, does anyone have a clue as to the possible meaning behind those mermaid Indian girls?

If you want to know more about Emilio Pucci, tomorrow I’ll have a link to the best article on his life that I’ve ever read.


Filed under Curiosities, Designers, Novelty Prints

11 responses to “A Pucci for the Californians

  1. fabulous, amazing print!


  2. Wow! So unusual. Thanks for sharing your Pucci knowledge. 🙂


  3. The I. Magnin store was located on Union Square, the heart of the high-end shopping district in the 1960s and earlier. Women who could afford a shopping vacation used to travel to San Francisco from smaller towns all over the west — even Texas — to update their wardrobe twice a year. The St. Francis Hotel is also located on Union Square. It’s possible this shirt was custom designed for the upscale tourist trade — much nicer (and wittier) than a souvenir sweatshirt!


  4. Oh wow, yet another exceptional and delightful Pucci piece. Many thanks to you and the anonymous owner of this one for sharing it with us.

    The only explanation I can come up with for the mermaid Native American women is representing the coastal tribes of the area. Love that this print is so detailed. A witty, elegant souvenir piece indeed!

    Another note of interest about I. Magnin’s, which I remember well from my youth. The first branch opened in Santa Barbara in 1912, in one of the luxury resort hotels of the period, called the Potter Hotel.


  5. I was not familiar with Pucci or his prints…but appreciated reading the article. Thanks for sharing, Liz.


  6. Well, except for Los Angeles, the towns that the mermaid girls represent are all wealthy communities. Maybe he was giving a nod to names that the women who bought his clothes were likely to recognize. Although there are plenty of stories of California Indians, think Ramona, I don’t know of any about mermaids! Another hint that this was designed for the tourist trade–in general people in Northern California take a dim view of people in the South. I don’t think a San Franciscan would be drawn to such a version of California.


  7. Ann

    As silly as it may sound, I believe the Indian mermaids are each holding a branch store of I Magnin. Pucci probably made them mermaids to represent California’s long coastline, and Indians because of the colorful stories about Native Americans inhabiting the west when settlers arrived.


  8. Quick Update: a reader has emailed a photo from a Pucci exhibition in Italy that shows a 1955 photo of an I. Magnin window in which this blouse was featured. Thanks, Jason!


  9. Pingback: Updates – The Rest of the Story | The Vintage Traveler

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