Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Vintage Swimwear Advertisements (1960s)

The heatwave continues!  It's far too hot to compose a blog post, so I think I'll go for a dip instead.  Hmmm.... what shall I wear?  Maybe these vintage ads will give me some ideas...

From Germany in 1963 we have this advertisement for Benger Ribana.  Well I've got to admit these swimsuits look cute!  However I'm not sure I'd want to sit on a metal beach-buggy on a scorching hot day...

How about these one-pieces from Jantzen (1963)?  Once again, the word that springs to mind is "cute".

Maglia in 1964 offers a choice of a bikini and a one-piece—both in Bri-Nylon!

Also in Bri-Nylon, this costume from 1969, with an up-to-the-minute daisy pattern!

Finally, two girls splashing happily in the sea in costumes made of diolen (1969).  A quick google tells me that diolen has some of the properties of kelvar, but I don't think these swimsuits are bulletproof!

And... oh look!  I think I just wrote a blog entry after all!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wartime Fashions in Australian Home Journal Part II (1941)

1941.  World War II is in its second year, but it only seems to be peripheral in the Australian Home Journal's fashion pages.

March 1941
Continental Fashions
Most folk will be glad to know that continental fashions are now a thing of the past.  Both Britain and America are quite capable of designing their own fashions, and the resultant effect of a combined arrangement between British and American design-experts is delightfully satisfactory.
Golf Fashions
Do you golf?  For tennis, swimming and riding, we generally conform to standard apparel, and for golf it used to be 'the thing' to wear browns and fawns, but with the current trend for bright colours, our courses have become dotted with gay young things dashing across the fairways.  Formerly it was customary to wear 'jumpers and skirts' but nowadays a smartly tailored frock is quite in keeping.
Many players prefer frocks when golfing.  They believe dresses provide more freedom for movement.

April 1941
Victorian Dresses
Our London correspondent informs us that collapsible hoops have been seen in Bond Street shops.  They are intended for evening dresses and make the getting in-and-out of a car easy.
June 1941
The Frugal Stars!
If you think that all the film stars are carelessly extravagant, you are wildly mistaken says a correspondent.
Quite a number of them, especially the younger ones, are particularly thrifty and careful, even going to the extent of renovating their clothes.
Betty Furness is known as one of the best dressmakers in Hollywood.  She designs practically all her clothes and makes a great many of them.
Carole Landis is a knitting enthusiast.  And she has a pet economy in this direction.
When she has tired of a garment, she unravels it and knits it up into something quite different.
Lucille Ball has the bolero craze.  She has made half-a-dozen in different ones in various shades to wear with one dark frockmaking a total of seven different ensembles.  She rummages the shops for the gayest and most unusual remnants.
Joan Fontaine has an affection for flower necklaces—real and artificial.
In the summer months she delights in stringing real flowers on cords and wearing them as necklace and bracelet with a plain black linen dress.
Thus does she give variation to her dresses. 

July 1941
Some Fashion Points
These are new fashion points England and America have in common: —Straight skirts; many narrow, but even those with boxy or unpressed pleats hang straight in repose. Jackets sometimes wrist-length; always fastened high.  Pockets galore; emphasised by fur, by embroidery, by buttons.  Beads, beads, beads; and jewel embroidery; and gold thread; and sequins.  The family jewels in the bank vaults will never be missed.

September 1941
Saluting Symbols
Why not be all military and dashing?  Take all salutes with a service symbol worn on your lapel, pocket or sleeve.  The V for Victory now takes first place; it looks unusual and smart if worked on top of left sleeve or lapel.

November 1941

That Shirt Dress
The shirt dress is always popular.  It really has become the foundation of every good wardrobea capital good fail-me-never dress that can be used for many occasions.  It is equally useful for work as for sport.  For business this type of dress looks neat and trim, and for daily duties, indoor or local shopping it is ideal.
The Useful Cotton
If you are wise you will give cotton your whole-hearted attention this year.  It's going to help you over many a dress difficulty, financially as well as fashionably.  Higher and higher soars the price of woollens, scarcer and scarcer do they become.  Women are still discriminating enough to want something pleasing when they pay high prices.  Cotton prices have gone up, of course, but they are still within the limits of the average purse.  Besides cotton fabrics have so many advantages over silk and wool.  They are hardy, they wash easily and well, they keep their colour and their shape.  And they are cheap!
 So in summary: fashion marches on, in spite of the war.  Military insignia make cool dress ornaments, some materials have become expensive (gone to to make uniforms, perhaps?) and Hollywood stars set an example of thrift.  I find it amusing however, if not entirely believable, imagining women wearing hooped evening dresses in the middle of the London Blitz!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

To the Beach in Butterick Patterns (1930s)

It's January, and here in Australia it's unrelentingly hot.  What better way, then, of kicking off the New Year than by going to the beach.  Luckily for me Butterick produced some patterns for the most up-to-the-minute beachwear—1930s style!

Butterick Fashion News, July 1930 (front cover)
To begin at the beginning of the decade: the July 1930 issue of Butterick Fashion News showed a pattern for a "costume consisting of shirt and shorts for beach wear, tennis, camping or exercise; or shirt and long trousers for beach wear, boating or yachting."  In the 1930s the beach was one of the few public places where women could wear trousers.

Butterick Fashion News, July 1930 (back cover)
On the back of the same issue are two swimsuits.  Pattern no. 3187 (at left) is for a "one-piece swimming suit and separate shorts".  Pattern 6822 (at right) is for a bathing suit "having a slip-over blouse and trunks or shorts."


Butterick Fashion Magazine, Summer 1935

"If it's swimming you go in for, get a new bathing suit.  A faded last year's suit will be a blot on a landscape where all the color is clear and bright.  The new suits are made of every sort of material."

Suggestions included rubber (!), a knitted swimsuit and, of course, one sewn from a Butterick pattern.

And from Butterick Fashion Magazine of summer 1935 we have these three patterns: from left to right a button back swimming suit, an outfit of slacks, halter top and "bell-hop" jacket (suitable for sailing) and a halter top and shorts.

Butterick Fashion Magazine, Spring 1939
 From Butterick Fashion Magazine from Spring 1939 we have:  

"How to be the only pebble on the beach—a  becoming coat with a corselet belt and huge cape collar... The bra top on the middle figure has little sleeves and ties in front... The shorts have patch pockets and cuffs.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Weldon's Ladies' Journal (Christmas edition, 1924)

Seasons Greetings to all the lovely people who visit my blog!

And in the spirit of the season, enjoy this festive cover from Weldon's Ladies' Journal in 1924.  From left to right we have an evening dress, a simple dance frock and a fashionable "tube" frock.  All originally came as free patterns accompanying this magazine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Vanity Fair (1963) and "John Bates: Fashion Designer" by Richard Lester.

This issue of Vanity Fair has a picture of an evening dress by John Bates for Jean Varon on its cover.

“Jean Varon” was John Bates’ own label, established in 1959.  (“Jean” because it was French for John, and “Varon” because there were no other designers with names starting with “V” in the directory!)  In the early sixties, conventional evening dresses like the one above were Jean Varon’s bread-and-butter.  However, by the middle of the decade John Bates was also designing some of the most modern and cutting-edge styles around:

“On the one hand sleek, beautifully styled traditional day and evening dresses; ultimately very wearable and designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of clients, and on the other an undercurrent of change, gradually introducing new ideas and, when seen in the context of the history of 1960s fashion, pure innovation.” (Page 27)

Bates’ designs steadily gained press-coverage as the decade progressed, but real fame arrived when he was commissioned to design Diana Rigg’s costumes for The Avengers in 1965, including 

“coordinated skirt and trouser suits, ‘fighting suits’, op-art fur coats, bold shift dresses with contrast stripes, vinyl double breasted ‘car coats’, a white crepe plunge neck dress with Cossack embroidery and elegant empire line evening dresses with guipure-lace bodices, gathered high under the bust.” (Page 38)

A modern and eye-catching wardrobe for an iconic action TV heroine!

As the 1960s became the 1970s, mod fashions went out, and fashions inspired by nostalgia and the counterculture came in.  Bates moved with the times, designing some lushly romantic dresses utilizing pleats, patterns and embroidery for a rich and sophisticated look.   In 1974 he opened his own name label specialising in the luxury-end of the ready-to-wear market.  He had

"proved beyond any doubt that he was just as adept at handling fine silk, suede and fur as the new manmade fabrics used extensively at Jean Varon." (page 116)

He also became famous—even infamous!—for his backless evening dresses, and his slinky and very décolleté “Cosmopolitan” dresses.  (“Cosmopolitan” because they appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan, of course!)

In 1980 John Bates ended his fashion career, closing down "John Bates" and selling his Jean Varon label 21 years after he had founded it. 

John Bates: Fashion Designer
Woodbridge, Suffolk: ACC Editions, ©2008

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Burda Moden (November 1975)

Fashions in the 1970s weren't all denim, disco and polyester!  Here we have some patterns from the November 1975 issue of Burda Moden which showcase some of the more grown-up and glamorous styles of the era. 

7504.  An innocently graceful style in a delicate rose fabric.  Voile and chiffon are  recommended for making this dress.

7505.  Designed for the larger woman (and the woman with a larger bust!)  Comes with a pattern for its own unlined jacket.

7509.   Skirt and vest of embroidered velvet allowing many fashion variations.

7611.  A slinky and figure flattering dress made in a glittering paisley-patterned fabric. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Girl's Evening Fashions from "Butterick Quarterly" (Winter 1919-1920)

Grown-ups aren't the only people who go to parties!  Here we have Butterick patterns from the winter of 1919-20 for "small misses" and girls aged 14 to 19.  In other words (though the word hasn't been coined yet) teenagers!

The Rising Generation
"There is scarcely a word to be said for the young person to-day for she follows most of her mother's styles and uses almost all of her materials. One would like to offer a word of caution in regard to the brocades which are too old for her and add the suggestion that she use the younger shades of pink, baby blue, canary, white and green for her party frocks."