Tag Archives: Hawaii

1960s Alfred Shaheen Pants Set

The Alfred Shaheen name is very familiar to vintage clothing collectors, especially those who love the sun dresses and bathing suits of the 1950s. The business was based in Hawaii, where Shaheen expanded his father’s clothing manufacturing business in the post WWII period, capitalizing on the new fad for Hawaiian shirts.

From my little history at the VFG Label Resource:

At first he used fabrics brought in from the US mainland, but he soon realized that profits would be greater if he printed the fabric in Hawaii. He set up Surf ‘n Sand Hand Prints to print the colorful Hawaiian fabrics. His handprinted textiles were based on the flora and fauna of the Hawaiian Islands, along with Hawaiian traditions and authentic tapa cloth designs.

Shaheen produced not only the fabric, but they also manufactured clothing made from it. Shaheen was known for their sexy sarong dresses and swim suits, Hawaiian shirts and halter dresses with full skirts. The company closed in 1988 when Alfred Shaheen retired.

Shaheen not only used Hawaiian themes; the design studio was also was inspired by the rich multicultural population of post war Hawaii. Even the label took on a decidedly “exotic” look.

The set looks, at first glance, to be from the 1950s. I think we can all see Lucy Ricardo wearing this for casual entertaining. But the label is one that is most commonly seen in the 1960s. To confirm the date, the pants have a nylon coil zipper, which was introduced to the American market in the early 1960s.

The pants legs are very interesting. In 1960 pants were still tapered to the ankle, but then they became straight before blooming into bell-shaped legs in the late 60s. Without the pleat my pants are very straight, but the presence of the pleat sure does hint of things to come.

The collar, too, seems to predict the short-lived fad for the Nehru collar in the late 60s. But in this case I’m guessing it was just the company’s love of the “exotic” that led them to use a collar that is more associated with India than Hawaii.

Even though permanently attached care instructions were not mandated by law in the USA until 1972, the presence of a label like the one above does not mean the garment was made after 1972. Many manufacturers were already sewing simple care labels like the one in my pants long before the law went into effect.

You may have noticed the wonderful condition of this set. I can only imagine that it was bought by a woman who was under the spell of her tropical surroundings, and that when she returned home to Tennessee, the set was just too, well, exotic.

 

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Filed under Designers, Sportswear, Vintage Clothing

Ad Campaign, Matson Line, 1937

Hawaii

The latest celebrity to linger at Waikiki.  Expectant stay-at-homes this Christmas will mourn the defection of their dear Kris

…the beloved old humbug slipped off on a Matson-Oceanic liner bound for Hawaii…

Okay, I know it is way past Christmas, but I’m with Kris.  This winter has gone on long enough, and I’m not even in the frozen North.  So this week’s ad is to remind us all that it is summer somewhere, and it will soon be warmer here.

 

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Filed under Ad Campaign

Matson Knows the Pacific

Today we take travel to almost anywhere in the world for granted, but during WWII, travel was greatly curtailed.  Ocean liners were turned into troop transports, car manufacturers turned to making military vehicles, gas and tires were rationed, and the world in general was just too scary to travel in.

But after the war ended  it didn’t take long for the travel industry to hop back on its feet.  As early as 1946 European countries were encouraging Americans to bring their dollars and visit.  It took a while for the cruise lines to get back up to speed, as all the ships had to be refitted and refurbished.  This ad for the Matson Line dates from 1950.  Matson was one of the main lines that sailed to Hawaii.

I first got a view of crusing when the Mickey Mouse Club Show sent several cast members on a cruise to Hawaii.  Growing up in the mountains, I’d never even seen the ocean, and the thought of having a little stateroom with a porthole view of the Pacific to myself, as Annette did, was more than a little appealing.  And the thought is still attractive, especially after a long cold winter!

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Filed under Exotic Locales, Vintage Travel, World War II