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! 

Something Old....Something New...What I've Been Up To!

Something Old but Something New in the Shoppe...

Devil in the Blue Blouse, $30, 1980s silk blouse  w/ bow detailed, Size (L) 12-14; B: 42

Little Miss Sunshine, $28, 1980s Peplum Blouse with 40s inspo, Size (XL) 16 B: 44

What I've Been Up To.....

We're already half way thru the month...gosh the time flies. Hope you all have been killing those first quarter goals, all while being kind to yourself. Speaking of such as mentioned in my last post, I stepped away from blogging for the shoppe for a nice bit of time. This break was used to cope with a bout of depression that knocked the wind out of me once the Fall hit. I'm still unsure what exactly the root causes of it was but I can surely identify its off set.....and its that I simply  crumble emotionally when I fail at achieving goals in the time frame I expect to. Its been that way since I was young, Ive just always been super rigid on myself, but this time around my success anxiety literally warped itself into full blown depression. However with support and prayer I been steadily pushing through those down days and slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things. But what I've learned from this season of sadness is that its a must that I be kind to myself.

So therefore moving forward in 2017 to avoid losing momentum and to counteract having the blues. I plan to approach my goals with self compassion and what this looks like:

1. Being gentle to myself when I feel inadequate or slip up.

2. Allowing flexibility for unexpected life circumstances.

3. And lastly, just simply being mindful of my emotional well being while in pursuit of my goals.

Hopefully this helps my fellow super ambitious sisters! Lets practice self- kindness this year while in pursuit of success. 

Along with fighting the blues and on a much brighter note. I've also been away planning this dream wedding of mine taking place on April 22nd in Chicago IL!. Hence the title of this post. What I've come to realize is that wedding planning is a full time job in itself😫....even with a wedding planner my life has completely been sucked up in the wedding vacuum of finding vendors, finding dresses & suits, finding decor and so on and so forth. However even with how overwhelming this planning has been I am ever so grateful for this experience. Im truly looking forward to celebrating the love shared between my college sweetie and I with our friends and family! So since Im almost 3 months shy of this special day and because it is #WeddingWednesday! Im going to share my wedding planning highlights thus far! O and did I mention our wedding will be Great Gatsby/ Harlem Nights themed..... well of course it is! A JassyVintageGeek production just has to have some type of vintage flair! Inspo pics to come in future posts!

I said "Yes To The Dress" literally a week after we got engaged hehe! No games were being played lol. Thanks Bella Rose Bridal!

I said "Yes To The Dress" literally a week after we got engaged hehe! No games were being played lol. Thanks Bella Rose Bridal!

Though stressful and time consuming. Wedding planning def has its high moments. From picking and booking the venue at The Crown Chicago on Mag Mile in Chicago.... to popping the question to my bridesmaids... to gathering them all together from across the US for a fitting......To our cake tasting....and lastly our vintage styled engagement shoot! I wouldnt trade this experience for the world! The Williams are coming......4.22.17! 

Im not a big cake person but Amy Beck Cake Designs turned me into a believer! My guests are going to love this cake! 

Im not a big cake person but Amy Beck Cake Designs turned me into a believer! My guests are going to love this cake! 

Well thats it! I promise to not go MIA anymore and keep you all updated with vintage goodies & wedding highlights!

xoxo,

JassyVintageGeek aka #JasTheVintageBride

Misty Blue Monday

"Oh, it's been such a long, long time
Looks like I get you off my mind
Oh, but I can't
Just the thought of you
Turns my whole world
A misty blue💙"

-Dorothy Moore, Misty Blue, 1976

 

Like most kids growing up I had a crazy active imagination ( and still do). I would imagine different life scenarios...give objects personalities... O and in my house (though it was just my younger sister & I), I was declared Chief Director of barbie playtime because I could conjure up the best story lines between Barbie and the gang (not really sure if my sister really believed that or just went along with it cause I was older lol) 

Well as time went on and I grew older my imagination didn't dwindle down at all instead it switched from dolls onto my everyday life, particularly in my daily work life. As a vintage fashion curator...my objective is to find & pick the creme de la creme of vintage and usually when I do pick, the pieces that I'm most drawn to usually conjure up a story of its previous owners in my head.

When I found this particular gorgeous 60s shift dress at my vintage buddies. Comet, goodbye sale, I instantly begin singing Misty Blue, a 70s R&B hit by Dorothy Moore. I told you all I have an old soul lol... I dont know why that particular song pressed play in my head...maybe it was because for obvious reasons, the dress is a sky blue hue or that the silk fabric slight pattern looks as though it had been cried on before.....or maybe it was simply because I was saddened that my friends were closing their shop's doors😞

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Any who in my head I instantly began to imagine how the dress was worn in the 60s by a woman  headed out to meet her love at their favorite restaurant, only to get there and listen to him break things off with her. I pictured her sitting their modelesque not shedding a tear while in his face but as soon as she made her exit, her tears falling, with a few drops hitting the spots where the dress is patterned ......Misty Blue. 

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I'm secretly a lover of romantic melancholy songs and movies... so for this dress to press play on those things in my head. I knew she had to come home with me into PSB's shoppe! Classic and poise with a sense of romance this ruffled misty blue shift dress is truly a gem indeed. Find her in our etsy shoppe this upcoming week!

 

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xoxo, 

JassyVintageGeek