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Vintage Miscellany – May 13, 2018

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The Florida Year-Round Clubs catered to the lucky few who managed to weather the storm of the Great Depression. Headquartered at the Miami Biltmore Country Club, members could fly to the club’s other Florida properties for fishing or golf or whatever. What a great hat for the Florida sun!

And now for some news…

  •   For Mother’s Day, here’s an interesting article about the history of mother-daughter dresses.
  •   This article shows how bedsheets are a reminder of home for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. thanks to Nann for the link
  •   Collector  Ann Mahony  has over 5,000 vintage hankies. thanks to RetroRoadmap
  •    In addition to his memoir being published, the New-York Historical Society is doing an exhibition on photographer Bill Cunningham. Opens June 8, 2018.
  •    Ivanka Trump continues to wear her company’s clothing even though there are federal rules “that prohibit government employees from using their public office for private gain.”
  •    There is a long history of textiles being used in social and political activism.
  •    Designer Jean-Paul Gaultier noted how similar the new Kim Kardashian body-shaped fragrance bottle is to his fragrance bottle. He didn’t mention how similar his bottle is to that of Schiaparelli, designed by her in 1937.
  •    Anna Wintour devoted her letter of the month to defending Georgina Chapman, there was an article in this month’s Vogue about Chapman’s life after the Harvey Weinstein story broke, and Scarlett Johensson wore a Marchesa gown to the Met Gala.  It’s clear that Wintour is using her influence to help Chapman rebuild the Marchesa line.  I really don’t have an opinion about Wintour, but I do think it’s really interesting that some of the same people who rightly insist on #metoo, have questioned Chapman’s own knowledge of, or complicity in, Weinstein’s behavior.
  • And we have a new story or two on cultural appropriation. The first involves a Caucasian high school girl who wore a cheongsam, or qipou, to her prom. She posted photos to social media, and then the backlash began. First, it’s pretty disturbing that so many people would jump on a teen because she wore a dress style that is marketed to non-Chinese tourists in any Chinatown in the world. Second, the qipou is an interesting mix of both Chinese and Western dress, and dates only to the 1910s when Chinese women were gaining more freedom to dress the way they wished.
  • The second cry of cultural appropriation concerned the Met Gala, and the theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Seems to me that it’s kind of hard to appropriate what is freely given by the Church.

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Vintage Miscellany – April 22, 2018

I love old photos showing people playing croquet because I get a good look at what was thought to be appropriate for a very casual setting. By the standards of the era, (1905 ish) The women above are casually attired. And look at how the older girls are still wearing their skirts “short”. Photos are like little time capsules, and it is amazing how we can learn so much from them.

And now for some news…

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Vintage Miscellany – March 18, 2018

I’ve posted photos of this unknown woman before, as she is featured in the small photo album of the Adirondacks that I have. This photo was not glued in the album, and I think it might be a bit later. Our sportswoman has taken to wearing her outing skirt a bit shorter than before.

And now for some news…

  •   Rita Moreno reached far back into her closet to find a dress for this year’s Oscar ceremony.
  •    FIT has started a new project, “The Fashion History Timeline is an open-access source for fashion history knowledge.”
  •    Blogger Leimomi Oakes decided to test the waters in a newly made Edwardian style wool bathing suit.
  •    “A uniform for intellectuals … Marimekko is for women whose way of wearing clothes is to forget what they have on.”
  •    DPLA (Digital Public Library of America) has a great feature on women’s impact on baseball.
  •    The story of a circa 1730 wedding dress and the girl who made it.
  •    Tim Gunn and Dr. Valerie Steele at The Museum at FIT’s 19th fashion symposium, Fashion and Physique,  which was held in February, 2018.
  •    The fashion legacy of Hubert de Givenchy.
  •     Jimmy Fallon ordered a lot of junk from the Trump store so he could see where the products were made. No surprise that most of the stuff was made in China, but two items, including a doggie bandana, had no country of origin on the product, a violation of law. Fallow has filed a complaint.
  •   Besides the obvious fact that Trump campaigned on an “America First” platform, is there any tradition that the first family should be following in regards to fashion?
  •    Last of all, let’s talk about museums. Every year the de Young Museum in San Francisco has a very popular show in which local flower arrangers display their work which is inspired by art in the museum. The show is so popular with people taking photos that the museum has set aside a period of time as “photo free.” As expected, some people love it, and others hate it, but the article does a good job of presenting both sides of the issue.
  • When I started writing this blog in 2005, it was very common for cameras to be banned in museums. That’s why I started sketching in museums. But as the camera phone became ubiquitous, and social media became increasingly visual, many museums began changing their policies. It makes sense. A good Instagram photo can be valuable publicity.  Today I use my camera a lot more, but a museum experience is not just about taking a lot of great photos to put online. It’s about what you can see and learn.

 

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Vintage Miscellany – March 4, 2018

Is it just me, or is bowling somehow usually thought to be a sport of the 1950s? This postcard (1910ish) reminded me that bowling was enjoyed way before the time of Laverne and Shirley.  Also, my recent visit to Biltmore Estate included a look of the bowling alley they had installed in the basement as part of their recreation area. And that was in 1895. It’s harder to find bowling lanes these days, but for those of you in the big freeze looking for a way to get exercise indoors, you might seek one out.

And now for the news…

  • February is over, so that also means the end of all the various fashion weeks. I don’t pay much attention to them, but the Dior show was interesting to me because of the use of the crazy quilt concept. Crazy quilts were a late Victorian craze, and have a very old fashioned feel and appeal. Also seen in the Dior show were decorative bits that look like needlepoint. Is this a trend? Be sure to click through the slideshow to see the various usages of needlework.
  •  Stylactivism for the over fifty set.
  •   “A New Jersey woman says she was thrown out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art last weekend because she showed up in an authentic period costume that a security supervisor accused her of stealing.”
  • How dressing the part helps connect us to the past – Cheney McKnight talks about how it is important to have an honest dialogue about slavery.
  •  Here’s a great article about Elizabeth Keckley, friend and dressmaker of Mary Todd Lincoln.
  •  I love stories about old books and those who care for them. thanks to Juliet for the link
  •  There are two new fashion history podcasts you might enjoy. Bande à Part is by fashion historians Rebecca Arnold & Beatrice Behlen, and if it seems like a conversation between two friends, that’s because that is what it is.
  •  Also really good is Dressed: The History of Fashion with fashion historians April Calahan and Cassidy Zachary.

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Vintage Miscellany – February 18, 2018

Is winter ever going to end? Is it just me, or has this been a particularly depressing season? Maybe what I need is a good old-fashioned weenie roast. Thanks to Lynn at American Age Fashion for the photo.

And now I’ll try not to add to the depression with the news…

      • The last link comes with a bit of commentary. I’ve stated before that I have mixed feelings about the reporting fashion history gets in non-history websites.  On one hand I love that fashion history seems to be having a moment in the sun, but on the other I find it really hard to trust the telling of a fashion history story by a reporter who is not familiar with the subject. A new concern came up last week on twitter – that of non-history writers taking the information found in fashion history discussions and rewriting it for their more general audience.  Of course, this practice happens in all sorts of disciplines, not just history, but history is what I pay attention to and what I care about.

      • The article that started my thinking on this subject appeared on The Atlantic site. Being about pyjamas and WWI, it was just the sort of thing I’m always looking for, but the problem was that I’d already read this information. It wasn’t on The Atlantic site, but in a Twitter thread authored by fashion historian Lucie Whitmore. To be fair, the author of the article gave all the credit for the research to Ms. Whitmore, but it turns out, Whitmore had been contacted by the author and declined to participate in the article. So the author wrote it anyway.  Legally, there’s nothing wrong (that I know of anyway) but it made me sad that Whitmore lost control of her research because she shared it freely in a Twitter workshop.

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Vintage Miscellany – February 4, 2018

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When it comes to human beings, it’s best to never use the word never as there are always going to be exceptions to the generalities. This photo is a good case to show what I mean. Except for women on ranches and farms, and except for performers, and except for women climbing mountains, and except for women wearing pajamas on beaches, it is pretty much accepted that women did not wear long pants in public before the 1930s. But check out this girl squad and their long overalls. Of course we know young women have long raided the closets of their brothers, but these pants all look new, and were maybe bought for the occasion.

There’s no date on the photo, but my best guess based on the hair styles and shoes, is late 1920s. Probably even more surprising than the overalls is the one girls who appears to be wearing shorts. And check out her rolled stockings.

This is one of those times when I’d gladly pay to know what exactly was happening in the photo. The presence of the book being held by one of the girls might be a clue.

And now for the news…

 

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Vintage Miscellany – January 21, 2018

Someone’s photography practice produced a delightful record of a woman at her sewing machine. It was taken on June 25, 1932, and I could tell you the camera settings the photographer used. Unfortunately, I don’t know who she is, nor where the photo was taken. It’s interesting to see what was and was not important to someone all those years ago. Today, the who and the where would tell us much more than the how.

And now for some news…

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