Last weekend it was winter here in the South, with snow, frigid temperatures and all that. Now we are back to that seasonless limbo in which we are forecast to have a week of 60* F plus temperatures. If you have snow, enjoy it.
My guess is that the photo above was taken around 1925. I love how the standing girl’s outfit is an assemblage of the feminine and the masculine, with her stockings and fancy shoes, and the blouse that appears to be silk. The girl in the wagon has better mastered the tomboy look, with her socks, vest, and tie.
And now for some news:
- If this can happen, then I’m considering getting a metal detector. But somehow I suspect there are no medieval rings in the woods behind my house.
- China Machado has died at the age of 89. She was the first non-white model to be featured in Harper’s Bazaar, in 1959.
- I’ve posted similar articles in the past, but museums being able to adapt to the digital age might mean the difference between an institution surviving this era of budget cuts. Side note, the idea about visitors being able to take a photo superimposed over a work of art reminds me of how at the Bush’s Bean Factory, one can get a photo made “with” Duke, the Bush’s spokes-dog.
- It’s really difficult to get across just how bad it is to buy counterfeit goods to someone who just sees the price tag. But this article does it quite well. (Note, video is full of salty language.)
- There are some people who are surprisingly fun to follow on Twitter, classical historian Mary Beard being a prime example. Beard took to Twitter (and then her blog) to correct the record when The Telegraph bungled a report of a found tapestry.
- Harris Tweed is now producing a lighter fabric that retains many of the positive characteristics of the traditional tweed.
- For the Trumps (and any other person who might consider making clothing in the US), ‘Made in U.S.A.’ May Be a Tricky Label to Stitch. I’ve been working on a blog post that addresses the history of some of these problems, so expect that soon.
- Distressed clothing is distressing, in more ways than one.
- About ten years ago I got really, really excited because Debbie Reynolds had finally found a permanent home for her vast collection of Hollywood costumes. It was to be built in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, just over the mountain from me. Unfortunately the deal fell through, and Debbie was eventually forced to sell her prized collection. She needs to be remembered for having the presence of mind to actually start the collection, the result of which is that now many of her treasures have safe, permanent homes.
- Cone Denim in Greensboro, NC, has just celebrated their 125th anniversary!
I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this photo before, but I couldn’t find it so here she is again. The photo is dated February, 1952, but that’s all the information I have about this very put together woman in the snow. From her socks to the mittens to her jacket and scarf, this woman has matching down to an art. We miss so much with vintage photos that are black and white, that it’s a treat to see one in color.
And now for the news…
Please note that you may disagree with my reporting of the Trump family’s clothing manufacturing interests, but it will not keep me from continuing to do so as long as this is an issue within our country. For the past month, each time I’ve reported on this issue, I’ve received criticism for doing so. This tends to derail the conversation about other important topics. Therefore I ask that if you have comments on the matter to please address them in an email to me. But be advised, I will not be changing my reporting policy.
I found several photos of this 1920s woman on a horse. She’s not in typical riding attire, as she could be dressed for almost any outdoor activity with her breeches and socks, and what looks to be a sweater or knit jacket. Click on the photo to see the details a bit clearer.
And now for the news…
- Last week I wrote about the Roddis family exhibition which is currently at the Henry Ford Museum. The New York Times included this exhibition in a piece about displaying fashion as clothing verses fashion as art. Yawn…
- US fashion production is “not a serious option,” according to at least to one “senior designer at a contemporary fashion label that produces all of its products overseas.”
- So, where does that leave Ivanka Trump’s clothing line? Caught between a rock and a hard place? Not necessarily, as her daddy’s latest twitter rant seems to target only those “business[es] that leave[s] our country for another country,” not those already doing business in Asia.
- And does US production actually guarantee ethical treatment of workers?
- What does it mean that a sewing pattern is “factory folded”?
- “The Harris Tweed Authority archive will be brought together in Stornoway for the first time…” I heard they have advertised the job of archivist.
- I try really, really hard not to be offended, but this got me.
- “To stop relying on Western hand-me-downs, African countries are importing Chinese textile companies.”
- The ultimate Punk move.
- Please, someone, buy this poor guy a tie clip!
- Hillary really is just like us.
- Someone tweeted this link to the Mount Vernon website, which shows a fragment of one of Martha Washington’s dresses. It’s so interesting because it brings to mind how “relics” of the famous were once so important. I’ve got to wonder about what happened to the dress. Was it cut apart to distribute to souvenir seekers?
I found this photo of the perfectly attired beach couple along with a few others from the same roll of film. At some point I want to show all of the photos, but for now let’s just admire them the way they are admiring each other.
And in that frame of mind, here is the news:
- And yet another clothing factory fire has killed thirteen people in India.
- The myth that buying clothing made in the USA prevents worker exploitation is just that, a myth. Whenever a buck is to be made, there are those ready and willing to exploit.
- Much has been written lately about the lack of proper pockets in much of women’s clothing. The last pair of pants I bought had pockets that were three inches deep. And these were not cheap pants, Tommy Hilfiger, retail $89.50. I did not pay that of course, but someone did. This is often pushed as a crime against women, but I’ve noticed that the pockets in my husband’s pants are also often inadequate. To me this seems to be primarily a matter of cost-cutting.
- There was an auction of Marilyn Monroe items last week, and the infamous “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress sold for $4,800,000. The fact that it was bought by Ripley’s Believe It or Not says much more about this than I ever could.
- Former ebay vintage store-turned-fashion-retailer Nasty Gal has filed for bankruptcy. That Karma can really take a deep bite.
- And here is yet another reason not to buy fast fashion (or at least to carefully inspect it before buying).
- Embroidery as art, as opposed to craft.
A few words before I post the next few links: This blog is about fashion history and fashion issues. I have never shied away from links to sites that might make those of us who are more privileged feel uncomfortable. I have posted links to articles that discuss the clothing of world leaders and the wives of leaders. I have posted about abuses within the clothing manufacturing industry, both in the past and the present. As an historian, I know that fashion and clothing are an integral part of our culture, and should not be treated as mere fluff.
In keeping with this practice, I will be posting links to articles about the president-elect that are of interest to fashion scholars. These links all will have to do with fashion, and are not meant as a political statement. Each reader must take each link as it is meant – to inform about fashion issues.
That said, I want to make it clear that I am very dismayed at the way the election played out, and at the events still occurring within the presidential transition. I will continue to ask the president-elect to bring his own family’s clothing manufacturing to the USA. You can feel free to disagree with me or with the content of any of my links, but fair warning, this blog is a place where only civil discourse will be tolerated.
And to help us all with our own personal struggles, take a listen to the Avett Brothers’ No Hard Feelings.
Photos of snow are starting to show up in my Instagram feed, so I’m not really jumping the gun by posting this wintry scene. I found this photo is a box overflowing with others, many of the same two women. Not a single one identified them, though I could tell a lot by looking at the bits of their lives they felt was important to capture on film. There were two little boys. One was a ballerina. They took skiing trips to Austria.
Of course, many other things are left to the imagination. Were they sisters, or sorority sisters, or best friends? Where did they live? Were they happy? We can only guess.
And now for the news:
- The Smithsonian Institution easily raised $300,000 on Kickstarter to be used to conserve the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. The campaign is on-going, with additional funds raised going toward fixing up Ray Bolger’s Scarecrow costume.
- In another case of the increasingly blurred lines between public and private, a private museum opened with public artifacts on display.
- Delta Airlines employees are getting new uniforms designed by Zac Posen. I wonder if that in 50 years they will be as collectible as the Braniff Airlines uniforms designed by Pucci?
- “This is mutton-shaming, ladies, and it has to stop.”
- And also this.
- The great James Galanos has died at age 92.
- Even brands who want to manufacture in the US are having a hard time of it.
- As more tourists and money flow into Cuba, a fashion industry is developing.
- It turns out that the rumors that next year’s Costume Institute “blockbuster” show will be a show featuring Rei Kawakubo is true. All the reporters are declaring how bold and risky the choice is, but I see it as just one more move in Andrew Bolton’s crusade to convince the world that fashion is art. Best of all, there will be “a store that acts as an extension of the exhibition.”
- Jonathan Walford of the Fashion History Museum posted on his blog about issues concerning museum acquisitions, with a focus on fakes. As prices for vintage couture rise, the temptation to make a fast buck takes hold. And it’s not just couture. This past week I saw an online sales listing for a modern “Edwardian” bathing costume that had a 1950s Jantzen label sewn in. And of course there were all those questionable punk items purchased by the Met several years ago. Buyer beware!
- What happens to our brains when we view art?
One of the most interesting things about this photo from the 1930s is that the original is only 1.25 inches square. The edges are blurred, but enlarging this digitally opened up a world of detail that went undetected when viewing the original. Still, there are so many unanswered questions. What is the woman on the left holding? What is the bracelet the other woman is wearing? And most importantly, what is going on with those hats?
- Where do your Goodwill donations actually end up? There’s really not much new in this article, but I was glad they mentioned the outlets, which often get over-looked.
- Landmark fabric store Britex is being forced to move from their San Francisco Union Square location. Hopefully the store’s owners will find a new location.
- I feel like we’ve watched Christian Siriano grow up, but then even as a 22-year-old on Project Runway he showed an awful lot of maturity.
- An original 1927 Vogue cover artwork sold at auction on September 29, 2016 for $52,500. The estimate was £6,000 to $9,000.
- I think I need an Instagram Husband.
- A shortage of black clothing in Thailand due to the death of King Bhumibol has the government scrambling to stop price gougers.
- I love these photos of department store workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, mid to late 1890s.
- 421 Ancient Roman shoes have been uncovered at Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.
- A cautionary tale: fashion brand Tibi has been sued by photographer Matilde Gattoni when she discovered that Tibi had taken one of her photos, cropped it, and put it on Instagram as their own.
With images all over the internet, it is tempting to just help oneself to the goodies, but before using any image, be certain that you have the right to it. There are so many sites today where the images are free of copyright that it is a shame that people resort to (alleged) theft.
The whole point of Instagram is to post one’s own photos, but I’m noticing more and more people are treating Instagram like Tumblr or even Pinterest, posting photos from museum sites and fashion runway shows. The pictures are nice, and there is often great commentary, but I prefer seeing what people have going on in their own lives. I want to see your collection, and your vacation pictures, and your dog.