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! 

Fall Style Inspiration 2016

September has come, the kiddies are off to school and even though here in Chicago we're still having 90 degree days (yippeeee)....Fall is unfortunately on the horizon (booo). I'll admit that even though I'm a fall baby (b. October 25th) I am still a hardcore Summer lover whose feelings are crushed that summer has come to an end so soon😫 *silent tears..so keep the pumpkin spice lattes and nutmeg scents far away from me for a few weeks until I fully adjust to the changing of seasons lol.

 

Until then I figured I'll turn to fashion, thee fashions of the past of course, to lift my spirits and to also give me some style ideas. With Fall being the season of seasons for the industry, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. And disappointed was I not. As you'll see this post is over 20 photos long lol.

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Donna Summers c 1970s  

Donna Summers c 1970s  

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60s Model, Arlene Hawkins, May 1960, New York City

60s Model, Arlene Hawkins, May 1960, New York City

Model Dovima, 1950

Model Dovima, 1950

Christian Dior, 1949

Christian Dior, 1949

Mulford Street, Homewood (Pittsburgh, PA), c. 1937

Mulford Street, Homewood (Pittsburgh, PA), c. 1937

Veruschka; 1965

Veruschka; 1965

Actress Nancy Berg, 1954

Actress Nancy Berg, 1954

 Model and actress, Capucine.

 Model and actress, Capucine.

Miss Franklin c 1960s  

Miss Franklin c 1960s  

1960

1960

Dovima in velvet coat-dress from Dior's Oblique Line, Autumn/Winter Collection 1950, photo by Richard Avedon

Dovima in velvet coat-dress from Dior's Oblique Line, Autumn/Winter Collection 1950, photo by Richard Avedon

L'Aiglon 1958

L'Aiglon 1958

Pat Cleveland photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, March 1981

Pat Cleveland photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, March 1981

Vogue, Feb 1972

Vogue, Feb 1972

1950s fashions  

1950s fashions  

1940s fashions  

1940s fashions  

Vogue 1957

Vogue 1957

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Fall fashions, sweet fall fashions you have a way of uplifting a girl's spirits! 😌 After finding these fabulous photos I'll have to say I'm a tad bit more ready for the fall ....a tad bit lol.

Pussy bow collars, wool hats, dress coats, plaid prints, fur stoles and leather gloves are the top 6 style elements that are inspiring both my wardrobe and the shoppe's inventory this fall season.

What about you all? What style elements are inspiring your style for this fall season? 

Xoxo,  

JassyVintageGeek

Fashion History Friday : Floral Frenzy

For as far as back as I can remember when it's comes to fashion I would hear the term "what was once old is new again". As a teen I would come home from the mall raving about how I just scooped the hottest new trend and my mom would quickly correct me and tell me how she was wearing the same style back in such and such year. I heard this phrase so much coming up that as a know-it-all teen I just automatically filed it in my head as just another pretentious thing that "old folks" say lol. So when I arrived to college and found myself in a costume history class it was to my surprise that they really were telling the truth....everything that's new was once old. This is where my love for fashion history begin.

Fashion is a constant repetitive cycle, borrowing and adapting trends from the past and making them new. Its truly interesting to me. Therefore every other Friday I plan to give a little brief style history course. This evening's Fashion History Friday post (and our shoppe's gem) is dedicated to floral printed fashions....

80s Floral Blouse,  Pearled Shoebox Vintage,  $30

80s Floral Blouse, Pearled Shoebox Vintage, $30

Floral printed fashions have been one classic trend that really has never went out style since its inception hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Floral prints originates from the east and Asia; with floral silks from Japan & China and chintz (a glazed multi floral printed cotton) from India. Throughout history, traders brought fabrics with ornate floral designs to Europe where they sold for super high prices. Wearing these fashions were an instant status symbol.  Over time, European manufacturers began to replicate these floral fabrics to fit the European elite tastes at a cheaper price, and the rest is pretty much history.

In the US, floral prints, really took off in a big way during the Industrial Revolution, with textile production increasing exponentially, gone were the times of needing a master craftsmen to create flower motifs. Now these fashions could be easily accessed by women of all classes.

During the 1920's, with the growing emphasis on leisure and outdoor activities, floral prints for casual beachwear became available. Also during this time, new methods for printing fabrics were developed as well as an array of synthetic fabrics. These changes in fashion production meant that prices went down and people could obtain more clothes altogether - whether it was making it at home or buying them. Moving into the late 1940s through the 1950s, floral prints moved into everyday clothes for women, with the summer day dress being the most popular.

c. 1940s Street Style Shot

c. 1940s Street Style Shot

1942 Vintage Fashion Magazine

1942 Vintage Fashion Magazine

c 1954, Pinterest

c 1954, Pinterest

From then til now, floral prints continue to be iconic and truly have become a wardrobe staple in so many women closets. And its no surprise. They're pretty, symbolize femininity and just add a dash of loveliness to any piece! Dont you agree? Leave comments below are you a floral girl?

 

xoxo.

Jassy Vintage Geek

*Purchase details on this gem can be found here, in our etsy shop.

Floral Frenzy,  Pearled Shoebox Vintage , $30

Floral Frenzy, Pearled Shoebox Vintage, $30