Thanks to Janey, I have several photos of these two women in their bathing suits. Unfortunately, none is dated. So how can one accurately put a date on a photo that has none? In this case, start with the bathing suits. The two-toned suit is quite distinctive, and it might even be possible to find a vintage ad featuring it. Also, note that the suit on the dark suit is quite shiny. Next, examine the shoes. The striped sandals are another identifiable item. You can’t see them very well, but the woman on the left is wearing rubber bathing shoes. Last, look at the hair and note the scarf ties turban-style on one woman.
Any guesses? The best I can do is early 1940s. I looked and looked for an ad showing that two-toned suit, but came up empty. But the plainer suit with the shiny fabric might hold a clue. This fabric became popular in the late 1930s, and remained so into the 40s. I got lucky with the striped sandals, and found a 1941 ad for the exact shoe.
And on to the news…
- It appears that a fragment of a dress belonging to Queen Elizabeth I has been serving as an alter cloth in St Faith’s Church, Bacton, Herefordshire. It was spotted by visiting curators from Historic Royal Palaces. It looks like the church is in need of a new alter cloth.
- For decades, Levi Strauss owned all the factories that made their jeans. There is one remaining, in South Africa.
- “Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has planned a fall exhibition titled “Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse,” which will cast the spotlight on the human and environmental costs of fashion consumption.” BlouinArtinfo.com
- This exhibition will be a part of New York Textiles Month.
- The Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario got a great write-up from Racked.
- “Everybody knows they’re fake!”
- Home sewing, and even mending and altering, can give one a wardrobe that is uniquely yours.
- The Navajo Nation has lost their lawsuit against Urban Outfitters. The court ruled that the word “Navajo” is a generic word denoting a style.
- American Giant is claiming to be making the “greatest t-shirt” ever, and it is made in the USA with domestically sourced materials.
- One mans explains the importance of sketching.
- Two women in Shanghai, China, took their little boys to a glass museum, and mayhem ensued. While the women pulled out the cell phones started filming, the boys climbed under a security robe and proceeded to play with a fragile glass sculpture. The results were predictable.
If I did not know better, I’d say that is a giant smartphone in the pocket of this great circa 1917 cardigan sweater.
But it’s not, so here’s some real news for you.
- “Aside from fixing minor rips and adding a missing button, the garments are unaltered.” Except that they are dyed black.
- “Hedy Strnad sketched dresses in 1930s Czechoslovakia before she was killed in the Holocaust. Now, her drawings have been made into real dresses on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan.”
- The WWII records of Britain’s Women’s Voluntary Service are to be put online by the Archive and Heritage Collection team of the Royal Voluntary Service. If you’d like to help, there’s a Kickstarter campaign.
- Ugly “late 19th century” jug valued at $50,00 by Antiques Roadshow appraiser turns out to be a 1970s high school art student project.
- Here’s a small look into the Yves Saint Laurent archive.
- I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’d love to own this tiny (extremely over-priced) Louis Vuitton bag, but it is the fact that it is a modern object based on the historic LV product that appeals to me. No other brand need court my favor.
- Stephanie Lake, who owns Bonnie Cashin’s person archive and who recently released a book on Cashin, and Coach, the company Cashin designed bags for from 1962 through 1974 are in a legal battle over the rights to Bonnie Cashin’s name.
- Cone Denim in Greensboro, NC, continues to source natural indigo to produce cloth in their historic White Oak factory. I was surprised that they even sell it to home sewers in smaller amounts.
I recently was lucky enough to get a set of photo from fellow VFG member, Poppy’s Vintage Clothing, all of a group of women and a golf club. Note that there is a very important element missing in the photo above – the golf ball! It appears that the women were just posing. I posted on Instagram that the women all looked to be too corseted to be playing golf, and was then sent a photo of a circa 1895 golfing corset. I guess it was like the spots bra of that era.
My photos are not dated, but are 1910 or so.
I appreciate all the thoughtful comments and interesting ideas posted last week in my series on working toward a guilt-free closet. The topic continues to be in the news.
- NPR asked, “What Happens When Fashion Becomes Fast, Disposable And Cheap?”
- “Factory disasters such as Rana Plaza are not merely flukes of bad luck.” Ilana Winterstein on the Huffington Post.
- I mentioned Eileen Fisher in a post last week. Here’s more about her company’s efforts in being more ethical.
- Will the “mainstream consumer” be able to embrace slow fashion? And be sure to also read “Why the Fashion Industry Is Out of Control” linked at the bottom of the article.
- H&M is good at talking sustainability, but can they be good at actually being sustainable when they are in the fast fashion industry?
- British department store Harvey Nichols used a 100 year old woman in their May 2016 ads. This was in celebration of British Vogue’s 100th anniversary. I look forward to a time when this sort of thing is so common that it is not news.
- The First Monday in May, the documentary on the Met’s Costume Institute Gala, has stimulated a lot of conversation. Nathalie Atkinson asks, ”
Can fashion documentaries be anything other than long-form ads?
- Robin Givhan asks, “Fashion may be art, but does it belong in a museum?”
- It also produced a few laughs in the form of The New York Times review.
- The Gala brings in a lot of cash, but in general, the Metropolitan is working on a big deficit. It’s a bit hard to feel sorry for them when a recent change in “branding” (meaning a new logo) cost three million dollars.
- I’ve written quite a bit about the pros and cons of no photography policies at museums. But for some exhibitions, the V&A has actually declared, ” No sketching.” That seems to be so anti-art.
- Queen Maxima of the Netherlands was in Germany and she wore a coat that some on the internet pounced on as only the internet can.
- There are historical reasons why bridesmaids dress the same.
- I love the WWW, but I found this report at The Guardian to be deeply disturbing.
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I’m still working on looking closely at antique photographs in order to better place a date on them. In this case I keep wavering between 1890 and 1898. The sleeves are slightly puffed, and are too small to be from the mid 1890s when sleeves could have been filled with helium to make the wearer airborne. That’s a joke, of course, but they were huge, puffy things. The sleeves did begin to get smaller, with some more conservative styles like this one by 1898.
It does look like the blouse has a very high and tight collar. This style came in around 1897
The length of the skirt, however, I’d think would be shorter by 1898. Women played with the idea of wearing knickers while riding, but it was just too radical for most places, and so women bikers settled on a riding skirt a few inches off the ground.
So, help me decide, please. Meanwhile, here is the news:
- There was a great interview with Ruth Porter, the archivist at LL Bean. Their collection began when LL’s secretary saved his things after his death in 1967.
- Gina Locklear is the Sock Queen of Alabama, according to The New York Times. I talked with Gina years ago when she had just started Zkano, and so it’s good to see the business thriving. (And the socks really are outstanding.)
- A disgruntled writer of an article about Rei Kawakubo for Elle magazine bared his soul and burned a bridge or two.
- Meet “Louise the Wheelwoman” as she rides her bicycle around the National Museum of American History.
- Jonathan of The Fashion History Museum explains more about the white wedding dress in history.
- The long-awaited book about Bonnie Cashin will be released this week. It’s written by Stephanie Lake who knew Cashin and inherited her personal archives.
- A Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian dress sold for $27,000 last week.
- In other YSL news, his longtime partner, Pierre Berge, criticized designers for designing “modest” clothing for Muslim women, and thus “taking part in the enslavement of women.” This, of course, opened a can of worms. There are plenty of articles written by angry Muslim women blasting Berge.
- What exactly is curating? The Shovel tells us and it is funny.
- Working for luxury Italian fashion business Brunello Cucinelli has a lot of nice perks, including a cultural allowance.
- ” What does it take to successfully resuscitate a dormant brand?” And why on earth would anyone think we need another luxury label?
It’s too bad all photos aren’t date stamped like this one from 1946. It sure takes the guess-work out of evaluating a vintage photo, but then it takes some of the fun out of it as well.
This weeks news:
It’s the 1940s. If not for the big, happy smile on her face, you might suppose these women are running to escape some unknown menace. Or maybe the water was colder than it looked and one big wave sent them scurrying for the comfort of a chenille beach cape. Photos should come with a backstory!
And now for the news…
- Many of our castoff clothes end up with textile recyclers in India. This short film tells the recycling story through the words of the people who work in this industry. Some of what they have to say is simply amazing.
- This interesting collecting story is not about clothing, but the ethical side of things is quite interesting.
- 200 Years of Australian Fashion exhibition will bring together more than 120 works by over 90 Australian designers. Currently showing at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, one of the standout pieces is an early 1960s dress with a skirt made of vivid blue ostrich feathers. Here’s a bit about the restoration of the dress.
- And the tales of fashion copying just keep on coming.
- It’s not just clothing, as Ralph Lauren has found out. It’s not nice to copy a teddy bear, either.
- My new favorite
time-waster past-time is the Cooper Hewitt online collection. It is one of the most user-friendly collection databases I know of, with multiple ways to search. I’m working my way through the 25,629 items pictured from the department of textiles. There is a shoebox feature that lets you save the items you want to revisit in your own little collection.
- FIT Special Collections has announced the availability to researchers of the papers of Eleanor Lambert. From the FIT blog: “As a whole, the collection—which is made up of press materials, correspondence, records, fashion ephemera and photographs—tells the incredible story of the rise of American fashion beginning in the 1940s and its evolution into the global powerhouse that it is today. Lambert, who has been called ‘The Empress of 7th Avenue,’ succeeded in putting American fashion on the map.”
- One of the buzziest ideas in fashion today is genderless fashion. Here is how gender neutrality looked 100 years ago.
- The Museum at FIT has a fantastic online exhibition to go with their currently show, The Women of Harper’s Bazaar, 1936-1958.
- Mark My Words: The Subversive History of Women Using Thread as Ink
- Finally, a big congratulations to Kenn and Jonathan of the Fashion History Museum, on the official opening in Cambridge, Ontario.
When I look at vintage photos I’m often more intrigued by the accessories than by the garments. In this case I’m loving the whatsit with the anchor motif. It is probably a bag of some sort. And that’s an interesting choice of shoe.
- A vintage clothing store in California was raided by the Fish and Wildlife cops last week. It seems as if they received a tip that the store was selling furs of endangered species. I do not advocate the wearing of recently made fur, nor do I collect vintage fur, but it seems to me that raiding a store because of furs from animals that have been dead for decades is a poor use of state resources. The owner of the store claims that some of the items were inherited by her from her grandmother.
- Remember the story about the $78,000 zoot suit? It was bought by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and will soon be on display as part of a history of menswear Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715 – 2015.
- The oldest known dress in the world is over 5000 years old, and was found in Egypt.
- Not quite as ancient, but still of an impressive vintage are the 3000 year old textiles found in Israel.
- The National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia, is the lucky recipient of the haute couture collection of Dominique Sirop.
- And if you are to be in Amsterdam before May 16, the Rijksmuseum is staging a rare exhibition featuring their clothing collection.
- I’ve mentioned this before, but make sure you bookmark the Cooper Hewitt Object of the Day site. They feature lots of textiles and clothing, including this intriguing hat.
- Here’s a bicycle brooch with meaning.
- You cannot escape Kanye West, as he will not allow it, so here’s another link about his “fashion” show in New York earlier this month. It’s from a model who actually participated.
- Here is a close look at Jan van Eyck’s painting, the Arnolfini portrait. Especially interesting are the bits about the clothes, of course.
- And finally, how the Renwick Gallery emerged from a two year renovation and found itself to be an Instagram star.