Tag Archives: 1955

Happy Bug Day, Warhol Print Skirt

When I spotted this super skirt on {the evil that is} Pinterest, I had a sinking feeling.  Sinking because I wanted this skirt, and it seems like 99.98 percent of the things I see on Pinterest that I want are sold.  I clicked through (thanks Karen, for making sure the links are always there) and there it was on Adored Vintage.  And yes, it had already sold.

So why did I want this particular skirt?  One of my smaller areas of collecting involves fabrics that were either influenced by art, or which were actually designed by artists.  In the case of this skirt, the fabric was designed by Andy Warhol in 1955.

I only know this because of my obsessive reading and rereading of Textile Design: Artists’ Textiles 1940-1976 by Geiff Rayner, Richard Chamberlain and Annamarie Phelps.  The book was published in 2012, and there is an exhibition currently at The Fashion and Textile Museum in London that is based in large part on the collections of the authors.

There is the bug print, in a different colorway, and a very similar print titled Happy Butterfly Day.  The bug print was based on a greeting card Warhol made in 1954.

Unfortunately, not a lot is known about the textiles Warhol designed in the 1950s.  For a man who was a collector of everything, he was a notoriously bad record-keeper when it came to business, not letting the people who worked with him even know for whom the designs were intended.

It was remembered by a Warhol associate that some of the fabrics were produced by Fuller Fabrics, who also did the Modern Masters line.  In 1955, Warhol was still a commercial artist, years away from being considered a “master.”

I hope the lucky buyer of this skirt loves it and treasures it.  I just wish it were me!

Thanks so much to Rodellee at Adored Vintage for the use of her photos.


Filed under Novelty Prints

Ad Campaign – Dalton Cashmere, 1955


the slim and sinuous sweater

that takes a fresh look at Spring!

Gracefully styled of pure

and precious 100% imported cashmere.

Since yesterday’s post was about Hadley Cashmere, I thought today I’d talk a bit about the other great American cashmere company, Dalton.  Dalton was founded in 1949 by Arthur Dery and Maurice Saltzman (who was also the owner of Bobbie Brooks), and was  headquartered in Cleveland and  Willoughby, Ohio.  Dalton was best known for their cashmere sweaters, but they also made woolen skirts that were dyed to match the sweaters.

It is fairly common to find vintage Dalton sweaters that are two-tone;  usually the sweater is a beautiful color with white or contrasting trim.  They also made intarsia designs, often in three colors.  Scalloped edges and appliques  were also Dalton details.  And look at the illustration to see how extra ribbing and buttons were added as design elements.

Like Hadley, Dalton produced a high quality product.   At their best, the cashmere produced by these two companies rivaled that produced in Scotland.  It’s interesting that the ad specified “imported cashmere” because all cashmere fibers had to be imported from Asia.


Filed under Advertisements

Ad Campaign – Vera Scarf, 1955

Vera makes a big commotion in jazz… in colors from sweet and low-down to red hot!

Suddenly, it seems, Vera Neumann is everywhere.  You may have read about the latest Target collaboration, which is a grouping of Vera scarves.  The scarves hit the shelves last week, but I did not have a chance to see them until yesterday.  At this point in time, I have no illusions about designer collaborations with discount retailers.  For that reason I was not disappointed by what I found.  I expected cheap poly, and that’s what I got.  The scarves are $19.99, and the designs are lovely.  But a quick look on etsy revealed over 300 vintage Vera scarves for $10 or less, and they are mostly silk or cotton.   This is a case where the vintage version is the clear winner.

image copyright Target.com

The scarves are printed with the signature and ladybug, and there is also an attached label that clearly identifies the scarf as a Target product.

In other Vera news, if you are a Mad Men watcher, I’m sure you noticed that stunning beach cover-up Megan wore in the first episode of this season.  I was sure it was a Vera, and I was right.  Note the Vera signature at the hem, on one of the orange spots.

photo copyright AMC Network Entertainment

And if that does not make you yearn for a sunny day at the coast and a Vera dress, then you are beyond hope.

I spotted a very early Vera scarf at the Liberty Antique Festival, but did not buy it because it was so damaged; it had literally cracked along the lines where it was folded.  It’s been widely written that her first scarves were made of surplus parachute silk after WWII, and this one sure had the look and feel of that type silk.  It was screen-printed with a geometric print in gold paint.   Why it did not occur to me to take a photo, I haven’t a clue.

The very earliest Vera scarves were quite simple in design, and were often screenprinted in just gold or gold and black.  The ad above is from 1953, which was very early in Vera Neumann’s long, fruitful career.


Filed under Advertisements, Designers

Time, May 2, 1955

I bet you thought you’d never see a Time cover here at The Vintage Traveler, but then again, if you knew Claire McCardell graced its cover in 1955, you might have seen this one coming.  The magazine is a must-have for McCardell fans, as there is an in-depth article about her work, the “American Look,” and the  American fashion industry.



1 Comment

Filed under Fashion Magazines

White Stag, Mid 1950s

I’ve always been a big fan of vintage White Stag, but lately I’ve come to realize that the label is my new favorite.  The ad above is from 1955 and I just love all the clothes.  Sportswear just does not get any better, or more wearable.  Part of the reason I’ve had this on my mind is because of these capris:

Yes, these are the same pants in the ad, just in the dotted pattern.  There really is no better resource for dating an item than the original advertising.  And as much as I love the capris, I love the ad itself just as much.  THe drawings are just so 1955 perfect.  Here are a few more, these from 1957:

White Stag started out in 1906 as a maker of canvas tents and sails, and was originally called the Willamette Tent and Awning Company. This name was changed to Hirsch-Weiss Canvas Products, and the company began making rain-proof coats and other outdoor wear.   By the late 20s they were producing ski clothing, and then branched out into other sportswear.

Canvas clothing was a specialty, as you can see from the ads.  This was a high quality canvas, and my 54 year old capris look as fresh today as they did five decades ago.  The hard wearing canvas is good for collectors today – most of the White Stag items in my collection look almost new.  Add that to the classic sportswear styling, and even the most finicky of thrift shops will put vintage White Stag on their sales floor.

I’m in the process of researching the company for an article, and I’d really love to hear from you Portland-ites and others who have vintage memories of White Stag.  So please drop me an email or post a comment telling your favorite story concerning White Stag.

Two more from my collection.  It’s all in the details:


Posted by Gail:

I don’t have any historical stories about White Stag, but in the 50’s and early 60’s when I was growing up, we always bragged if our new shorts or jacket had the White Stag label. That brand epitomized sportswear for us.

Tuesday, August 25th 2009 @ 11:04 AM

Posted by Lucitebox:

My favorite Spring jacket is a White Stag. Oh, how I love it. It’s a nylon windbreaker style that’s very plain and cut sort of like a classic James Dean jacket. Except, it’s bright orange. The back is a stretchy nylon poly fabric that’s striped orange and navy. That striping is also on the back of the sleeves. From the front–plain orange basic cropped hip length jacket. From the back–bold stripes. The ultimate in bicycling jackets for early Spring and Fall!

I have a White Stag on my site that’s NWOT. I’d keep it if it wasn’t orange. (I don’t know how many orange jackets a person needs.)

Can’t wait to read what your research yields. I love this company, too. Classic.

Thursday, August 27th 2009 @ 3:43 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Holly, it really does just take one well crafted garment to make one fall in love with a label, does it not?!

Thursday, August 27th 2009 @ 5:20 AM

Posted by lucitebox:

Absolutely. Conversely, all I need to do is buy one skirt for $70 at Anthropologie, wash it, and the hem falls out and I’m suspect of anything in the store.

Thursday, August 27th 2009 @ 8:21 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Yes, I understand that one too, unfortunately. I’m to the point where I either buy vintage or I make it myself.

Saturday, August 29th 2009 @ 4:16 PM

Posted by keenan:

these are adorable 🙂 i want all of them…;)

Sunday, September 27th 2009 @ 4:09 AM

1 Comment

Filed under Advertisements, Collecting, Sportswear, Vintage Clothing