Tag Archives: 1930

Jantzen Beach Revue ~ 1930





Dear readers, I’m still not able to add new content, so I hope you’ll enjoy this post from five years ago when I had only a few followers.  

Come first to our swimming suit department – then a trip to the crashing waves or placid pool is bound to be successful.  Here assembling your ensemble becomes joy.  We have a complete line of Jantzen sun & swim suit from which to choose the foundation of your costume.  We have the necessary shoes, caps, beach bags, robes, to build a brilliant, stunning outfit.  Won’t you come in and look our things over soon?


This adorable little sales promotion is dated 1930, and it is a great example of the clever way in which Jantzen promoted their products.  Like many of the early swimsuit companies, Jantzen was a knitting mill, and before they started making swimsuits around 1915, they made other woolens such as gloves and sweaters.  But it did not take them long to realize that knit swimsuits were the next best thing, and soon they were concentrating on just swimwear.

The best thing that ever happened to Jantzen was the adoption of the diving girl logo in 1920.  She became an instantly recognized symbol of the company, and though updated, remains on the Jantzen label to this day.

From the 1930s      From the 1950s


Jantzen made sure the diving girl was seen by putting the logo on the outside of the swimsuit, starting in 1923.  They also made promotional giveaways, such as car window decals and hood ornaments.  By 1931, Jantzen was the 7th most recognized trademark in the USA, and it is one of the oldest clothing trademarks in use today.

Notice that in the sales brochure, Jantzen used the words “swimming suit” rather than “bathing suit.”  It is thought that Jantzen was the first company to adopt the term swimming suit, which they first used in 1921.


Comments:

Posted by sues:

🙂 I am so glad you didn’t resist. I may not have patronized owen moore in 1930, but did shop there in the 1970’s or 1980’s when I was in college. It was a fine store with good quality clothing and accessories. My mom grew up in the Portland, So. Portland area so she would have more info. if you wish. Let me know.

Sunday, August 17th 2008 @ 2:12 PM

Posted by Stacey Brooks Newton:

What a great little advertising piece! I just love the graphics. Very Art Deco.
Went to an estate sale today and thought of you- tons of vintage mod clothing. The girl ahead of me in line bought $500! The dresses were only $10 a piece and the hats were $8. Some real beauties:)
Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 9th 2010 @ 6:52 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Hi Stacey, I’m glad that vintage clothing reminds you of me! Shop on!

Monday, July 12th 2010 @ 7:14 PM

Posted by Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.com:

Not sure if you’re a watcher of Mad Men, but in viewing the season premiere tonight they featured Jantzen as one of the clients and I immediately thought of you! Interesting to realize that b/c you know more about their history than I do, you would know before any of us if they decided to use Don Draper’s advertising pitch or not! 🙂

Sunday, July 25th 2010 @ 8:38 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

MB, I actually do have a few thoughts on this subject, so stay tuned for a blog post later today.

Monday, July 26th 2010 @ 7:43 AM

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Filed under Advertisements, Summer Sports

Ad Campaign – I. Miller Shoes, 1930s

I. Miller gives you summer shoes in color taken from the new flower prints.

On to the American Summer scene of glamorous clothes walk  I. Miller shoes in vibrant flower colors.  Nature’s hues selected with the I. Miller genius for color…for costume relationship. 1937

Israel Miller was the son of a Polish (some sources say Prussian) shoemaker who immigrated to the USA in the 1890s.  He obtained work as a cobbler with John Azzimonti,  an Italian immigrant who was making shoes for the theater.  According to an issue of the Boot and Shoe Recorder, actress Sarah Bernhardt once ordered 244 pairs of boots at one time.  When Azzimonti closed the shoe making business in 1909, his customers put in orders for up to thirty pairs.

They need not have worried about obtaining quality shoes, as Azzimonti’s former employee, Israel Miller was already making shoes and would establish I. Miller by 1911.  His operation was moved to a building near the corner of Broadway and 46th Street, which is in the theater district.  He was soon leasing the two brownstone buildings on the corner, and business was so good that in 1926 he bought both buildings and began renovations that would unify them into a single unit.

The resulting building is seen above,  but in 1926 the statues in the niches were not yet in place.  The next year it was announced that statues of four show women would be chosen to represent the arts of drama, comedy, opera, and movies.  The public was even invited to vote for their favorites, the winners being Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn Miller, Rosa Ponselle, and Mary Pickford.  The statues were made by A. Stirling Calder, the father of Alexander Calder of mobile fame.

Unfortunately Israel Miller did not live to see the unveiling of the completed building.  He died in Paris of a heart attack several months before the October, 1929 unveiling.

 

The Broadway side of the building was quite different from the elegant 46th Street facade.  There were pre-existing billboard leases on that side, and so even in the early days of the store, much of the Broadway facade was given over to advertising.  Today, the main entrance is on Broadway, as that is where most of the traffic is, but when this was a store store to the stars, they entered through 46th Street.

I. Miller shoes closed sometime in the 1970s and the building was bought in 1978 by Riese Restaurants, who ran a TGIFriday restaurant there for several decades.  By the late 1990s Riese was saying the store front would be restored, and though they applied for and were granted landmark status, nothing ever came of it.  Eventually the TGIFriday restaurant was closed, and the building taken over by the Express clothing company.

When I visited New York City in August, 2013, I went by to see the building and was dismayed to see it scaffolded over. In New York that could mean anything from restoration to a complete redoing of the building.  To their great credit, as Express readied the interior of the building  for retail, the exterior was renovated to its former glory.

The four statues had to be removed and restored as they were in terrible condition.  Chunks of marble on the building had to be repaired, the bronze was polished, and the entire facade was given a good cleaning.  Today it is one of the best reminders of what shopping in New York City was like in the early and mid 20th century.

When I first read of the shoe store several years ago it struck me as odd that there would be such an elegant store in a part of the city that was not (at that time, anyway) a shopping district.  A little reading about the subject informed me that this was only one of I. Miller’s stores.  The main store was located on Fifth Avenue, and there were two other New York City branches.  Nationwide there were 228 branch stores and several factories.

The mode for black is charmingly met in.. Monograin silk by I. Miller

As all femininity fares forth in Black, Monograin becomes the overwhelming fashion favorite for wear with the new autumn hats, gloves and handbags of this subtly-woven silk.  1930

15 Comments

Filed under Advertisements, Shoes, Shopping

Kodakery, for Amateur Picture Makers

So, how did companies get their message across back in the dark ages before the internet and social media?  Very often they spread the word through printed material in the form of catalogs and booklets containing useful information about the product.  The assumption was that if you gave customers a little booklet or some other thing (with the company name printed on it of course) they would be likely to save it and be reminded of the company.

It must have worked because any good flea market or antique mall has several vendors who have boxes of this old advertising material to rummage through.  And I’m the kind of person who will stand there for what seems like hours, sifting through old maps, recipe booklets, housecleaning hint booklets and hardware catalogs just to find one gem that makes my day.

Usually all it takes is a cover photo like this one on Kodakery, a booklet published by Eastman Kodak from 1913 through 1932, to attract my attention.  I’d never seen nor heard of this little publication, but there is a lot of information online, including several sites that have downloads of complete issues.  If interested, google Kodakery and you’ll see what I mean.

This particular issue had an article on how to take (or “make” as the booklet puts it) good vacation photos.

Click

There were also features on photographing children (with the offer of another booklet on the topic)  and nature studies.  But my favorite was a photo montage titled “About Dogs – And One Cat!  Companionship stories told by companionable Kodaks”

I’ve read that George Eastman realized early on that his products might better be marketed toward women than toward men.  He saw that it was women who were the keepers of scrapbooks and journals, and who would be interested in recording the history of their families.  That is why in so many of the early Kodak ads, it is a woman who is holding the camera, making the picture, recording the history.

Not that the men were neglected, but the copy of the ad does seem to appeal to “female sensibilities.”

KEEP YOUTH! Keep romance.  Keep all these precious, fleeting moments alive forever…

13 Comments

Filed under Collecting, Vintage Photographs

Modern Ballroom Dancing and Fashion, 1930

One of the biggest delights of my local Goodwill Outlet Center is the book bin.  Or rather, bins, as there are usually three or more, all full of books and magazines of every sort for book lovers like myself to dig through.  I never fail to find something of interest, and my latest trip produced a 1974 copy of The Great Gatsby, complete with photos of Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, Roy Rogers and the Outlaws of Sundown Valley, a 1950 Whitman book, and the nondescript looking book pictured above, Modern Ballroom Dancing by Lillian Ray.

Published in 1930, the illustrations show that transitional period of clothing between what people think of the Roaring Twenties and the Depression Thirties.   Some skirts are still short, but others have moved downward to the calf, and still others are a combination of the two lengths.

People who study fashion history know that styles don’t abruptly end at the ending of a decade.  For matters of simplicity, it is often convenient to call a dress “1920s style” or “1930s style”  but in the real world of clothes it is not always that easy.  I’ve seen a lot of confusing clothes from the late 1920s and early 1930s.  It’s not always a cut and dried science.

I was intrigued to read the words of Catherine Martin (in interview with Fashionista), the costume designer of the soon to be released  The Great Gatsby film from her husband Baz Luhrmann:

One of the other rules Baz made at the very beginning of the project was that, because the book is set in the summer of ’22, published in ’25, and foreshadows the crash of ’29, we were actually allowed to use the whole decade as a reference base.

People are already talking about how the clothes in the film sure don’t look like the 1920s, and it occurred to me several weeks ago that it looked more like 1929 or 1930.  It’s interesting to note that was, in part, intentional.  Martin took the range of ten years and pulled what fit into what she wanted the character to portray.

I’ve already said this here, but I’m not in any way going to go to The Great Gatsby thinking it is an historical depiction of 1925.  It would drive me crazy.  Instead, like the life with Daisy that Gatsby has formed in his mind, this is a fantasy.

Looks easy, no?

All illustrations from Modern Ballroom Dancing by Lillian Ray, Franklin Publishing Company, 1930, illustrator not credited.

17 Comments

Filed under Curiosities, Proper Clothing