Monday, October 24, 2011

McDowells Mail Order Journal 1938-39

This Sydney mail order catalogue was aimed at budget conscious women who wanted "Style without extravagance!" 

Apart from the usual layouts of 1930s fashion, this catalogue held one delightful little surprise for me.   McDowells also sold materials for home dressmakers, and had attached little sample pieces for their customers' inspection.   Tucked away safely in the middle of the book, these samples were almost as fresh and unfaded as the day they had been pasted into the catalogue.   It gave me a chance to see some original 1930s fabrics in detail.  I've scanned a couple of cotton pieces below - as you can see, small floral prints were popular!  These types of prints would remain in fashion through the Second World War, only to be replaced with larger scaled and more abstract blooms in the 1950s.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Australian Home Journal, March 1928

These are the clothes everyone envisages when they think of the 1920s.  Fashions would not be quite so youthful or rebellious again until the 1960s.  There's one little  incongruity in this picture - to modern eyes at least!  Though all the models appear to be wearing light summer dresses, the woman on the right is also sporting a fox fur stole.  Clearly it had more to do with fashion than to do with warmth.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lewoolin Clothes Book of Fashion, Spring '50 (3)

More fashions courtesty of Lewoolin Clothes!  This selection includes a "three piece ensemble" (centre right) and an "all purpose Jigger jacket" (bottom left).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Foy & Gibson, 1902-1935

For your information (and your delight, I hope!)  The University of Melbourne has put its Foy & Gibson collection online in pdf format.  Foy & Gibson was an Australian department store with branches in most of the major cities.   The University has extensive collections of its mail order catalogues from 1902 to 1935.

There's a lot in the archive to browse - not just pictures of the fashions, but accessories, trimmings, underwear, furnishings, toys and menswear.   It's a little treasure trove of the material culture of a bygone era - and a lot of nostalgic fun!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lewoolin Clothes Book of Fashion, Spring 1950 (1)

I found this little catalogue (it's only 15 cm. high!) on eBay.  It was issued by a firm called "Lewoolin Clothes", based in Regent Street in London, that appeared to specialise in women's coats and suits.  Over the next few days I'd like to share images from the catalogue with you.

Notice the designation "Utility" on these pictures.  Utility was a scheme devised by the British government during World War II to ensure that clothing manufacturers produced most of their clothes to a fixed standard and sold them at a set low price.  Though manufacturers could produce a number of non-Utility garments and charge what they liked for them, these attracted a higher sales tax than their Utility counterparts.

Though the war had been over five years when this booklet was produced, and clothes rationing had ended early in 1949 in Britain, the Utility scheme lingered on into the early 1950s.