I bought this little catalog recently because it has a sort of local connection. It is imprinted with the name of the Hobbs-Henderson Company in Greenville, South Carolina. Hobbs-Henderson was owned by WT Henderson and CO Hobbs, and the business was both retail and wholesale dry goods and clothing. In 1904 Henderson retired and sold his part in the company to Hobbs. The last reference I could find to the company was from 1920.
I’ve got to wonder about what happened to the apostrophe in the title on the cover. Actually, I was thinking it should read “My Lady’s Fashions” but perhaps the writer had more than one lady.
Even though the catalog was distributed at Hobbs-Henderson, the clothing seems to have been made by a company called Peck’s Garments. It will take a better web searcher than me to come up with information on Peck’s Garments. All I could find was information on the clothing of Gregory Peck! I’m assuming there is no connection with Peck & Peck, a New York department store, but I could be wrong.
I’m also posting an enlargement of the artist’s signature in the hopes that one of you can identify it.
But what about the clothes? You can see quite a bit of the influence of Paul Poiret’s hobble skirt, which had been introduced a few years earlier. And skirts were still long, but no longer brushing the floor so the shoes and stockings were easily seen.
There was also a big trend of tunics over the skirts. Within a few years skirts would be as short as the tunics seen in these drawings. Maybe it was a way of getting women used to skirts that were obviously rising.
The hair styles also foreshadow styles to come. As you might remember from Downton Abbey, for several years before most women were brave enough to bob their hair, they were wearing it in styles that gave the appearance of short hair, at least from the front.
As hair got closer to the head, hats soared. These models are classified as afternoon frocks, and are considerably more fussy than the tailored suits seen above.
Is it just me, or are these clothes a bit hard to warm to? I love the shorter dresses and suits that came along just a couple of years later as the world stumbled toward WWI. But these just have an awkwardness, maybe due to the very narrow skirt hems. Women must have been quite relieved to be rid of them as skirts shortened and widened.