Fashion History Friday: Mainbocher

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting The Chicago History museum's exhibit dedicated to the first American Couturier, Mainbocher. 

I spent about an hour in awe over every sketch, every drape, every stitch and every quote. The beauty of these garments are just undeniable . The exhibit was exquisite and truly an inspiration booster.

One thing that stuck out to me the most about Mainbocher was his resiliency, despite setbacks he just kept pushing. In his pursuit of success he went onto reinvent himself several times, as in artist, musician fashion illustrator, magazine editor and lastly a dressmaker. This fact along resonates deeply with me because over the past few years I have constantly reinvented my business concept and merchandise lines in pursuit of my storefront dreams! 

All in all I left the museum brimming with optimism and enthusiasm for my path as a vintage shop owner and future fashion historian, despite how twist filled it is. So a job well done to the CHM's curators 👏🏾 for highlighting this not so well known but so very influential couture designer. 

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1930s - 1950s designs  

1930s - 1950s designs  

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Just a quick blurb about Mainbocher. 

Born Main Rousseau Bocher in the west side of Chicago in 1891, after serving in World War I, he decided to remain in Europe. His career in fashion began in 1922 when he worked as an illustrator for Harper’s Bazaar. Later he moved to Vogue, working there from 1923-1929 as a fashion editor and eventually became editor-in-chief of the French edition of Vogue. In 1929, when he opened his Paris couture salon, in an effort to fit in as a American in Paris he combined his first and last names to become Mainbocher.

A Young Mainbocher in his Paris salon  (Source: Making Mainbocher site) 

A Young Mainbocher in his Paris salon  (Source: Making Mainbocher site) 

Mainbocher's society client list included Daisy Fellowes, Diana Vreeland, Millicent Rogers, the Duchess of Windsor, Barbara Paley, C. Z. Guest, and Gloria Vanderbilt. He designed on and offstage wardrobes for Mary Martin, Katharine Cornell, Ethel Merman, Rosalind Russell, and Ruth Gordon.

Mainbocher closed his Paris salon in 1939, reopening it in New York in 1940. During that time, he designed costumes for numerous Broadway theater productions such as Blithe and The Sound of Music. 

Mainbocher closed the doors of his salon at 609 Fifth Avenue in 1971. Returning to Europe, he alternated his final years between Paris and Munich, where he passed in 1976 at 81.

Contributions to fashion:

  • First strapless evening dress, 1934
  • The intermediate girl scout uniform, 1946
  • Introduced the terms "off white" and "sports clothes"
  • .....and so much more!!
Pink shantung coat that could also be worn as a dress. Photo by Karen Radkai, Harper's Bazaar, July 1951

Pink shantung coat that could also be worn as a dress. Photo by Karen Radkai, Harper's Bazaar, July 1951

Layers and layers of ostrich feathers over a narrow dress of thin black crepe inlaid with black satin. Mainbocher. 1955 (source Pinterest) 

Layers and layers of ostrich feathers over a narrow dress of thin black crepe inlaid with black satin. Mainbocher. 1955 (source Pinterest) 

Read more in depth about Mainbocher  below  

Read more in depth about Mainbocher  below  

References

http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mainbocher

 https://blog.colettehq.com/inspiration/mainbocher

 

Me and my mini, Gia, taking in all of the vintage beauty  .....it was def a great museum day! 

Me and my mini, Gia, taking in all of the vintage beauty  .....it was def a great museum day! 

Sequins, Golds & New Year Wishes

I've been away for a bit but I'm back to close out the year on the blog with a snippet of the vintage goodness that's in our shoppe to come in 2017!

 

But before I do I'll like to reflect on the past 12 months and I can truly say this year has been good to me. From saying yes to my college sweetie's proposal to moving into our own lil love nest in my beloved Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago to launching this here blog. 2016has truly been short of amazing. Of course I've had some rough patches within business and personally but all in all I'm grateful to say that I progressed further than where I was last NYE. And that is truly my only wish for myself...... and for you. Continual progression from year to year! Gosh I'm so pumped for 2017!! 

 

So to celebrate new beginnings and fresh starts, I'm highlighting some of Pearled Shoebox's festive vintage goodies that's also transitional from season to season; an 80s black sequins top that I scoured while in London.... a 70s gold silk pleated aline skirt that was found this year while vacaying in New Orleans.....and last but not least my fave from this ensemble, an 80s gold and black sequin cross body. Doesn't it just scream Gatsby....speaking of Gatsby I hope you all party like him tonite while ringing in 2017!

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I only lasted 2 mins out in that Chicago cold before I had to put my faux fur on lol ...I scoured her from Forever XX1 a year or so back. Simply love pairing our vintage gems with modern peices! 

I only lasted 2 mins out in that Chicago cold before I had to put my faux fur on lol ...I scoured her from Forever XX1 a year or so back. Simply love pairing our vintage gems with modern peices! 

 

Happy New Years lovelies💜. Thanks for your continual support and to show my appreciation we are ending the year with a fabulous sale! Everything in the shoppe is 30% off...enjoy!.....Let's kill it in 2017 ! 

 

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Of course I couldn't leave without adding some true vintage New Years cheer 🎉  (📸circa 1950s & 60s)

Of course I couldn't leave without adding some true vintage New Years cheer 🎉  (📸circa 1950s & 60s)

xoxo, 

JassyVintageGeek

Photo Creds: Blue Streak Photography/@_winningstreak22

Shop Gal Saturday Tales : A Shared Success

The saying goes that when one "woman succeeds we all succeed." Well in my case when one vintage gal succeeds we all succeed. This is the tale of such.......

As mentioned before being a vintage shop gal is filled with its highs and lows so therefore it's truly a blessing when God sends you a friend who is also a fellow vintage business owner to help you make sense of it all. Such was the case when I met my business bestie, Alana; owner of Mama's Coos Boutique, almost two years ago while vending at Eastern Market in Detroit MI. Witty with a caring spirit, we clicked instantly over our shared dream of eventually owning our own lil vintage storefront. The click was further cemented once we realized that our business's product mixes were complimentary. With me selling vintage shoes and her selling clothes, accessories and other stylish knick knacks. We went onto collaborate on numerous shopping events, go on a ton of gem hunting adventures together and excitedly became retail bootcampers together as students of Techtown's Retail Bootcamp, an entrepreneurial class aimed increase businesses within the city of Detroit. So needless to say excitement and pride are understatements when describing the emotions I felt yesterday as I stepped inside my business's bestie's storefront for the first time yesterday! 

Busy grand opening day!! So freaking happy that it was a packed house! $$$$

Busy grand opening day!! So freaking happy that it was a packed house! $$$$

During her grand opening party yesterday, as I browsed through all the store's one of a kind goodies and indulged in all the festivities (fyi the food served was absolutely delicious and the live musician was phenomenal!) I began to reflect on all the times I watched her pack, unpack and repack her truck for pop ups shops or how she woke up at sunrise to make it to an estate sale to pick or how she graciously connected with all her customers....and I just simply could not stop smiling (and I got a lil teary eyed lol) because in that very moment all her hard work and dedication was physically evident. Lana has always been my source of inspiration to keep pushing PSB Vintage to new heights but yesterday she gave me a surge like none other. Thank you bestie for continuously showing me the ropes in this vintage/ resale game and ultimately showing me that our dreams can be achieved if we give it all we got. Your win is my win. Happy Grand Opening Weekend! 

Vintage lovers united celebrating Mama's Coos! Joy, our loving customer (left), me (middle and Lana, owner of Mamas Coos (right)

Vintage lovers united celebrating Mama's Coos! Joy, our loving customer (left), me (middle and Lana, owner of Mamas Coos (right)

Mama Coo's Boutique is located at 1701 Trumbull Ave, Detroit MI 48216. Go visit and tell her Jas sent you! You will not leave disappointed! Trust me!