Dotted Swiss Love

We were called out on our Facebook Page when I labeled an Adrian dress worn by Joan Crawford as polka dots. Upon closer examination, the lovely 1930's dress appears more Dotted Swiss than a simply woven into the fabric polka dot. It is especially notable on the lovely matching gloves.

Joan Crawford in Publicity Photo for "Dancing Lady" 1933 Dress by Adrian
Joan Crawford in Publicity Photo for "Dancing Lady" 1933
Dress by Adrian
You can click on this Vintage Fashion Guild link for an excellent explanation and description of Dotted Swiss fabrics.

Popular opinion on the origins of the still popular Dotted Swiss or Swiss Dots is that the fabric originated in 1750 in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Switzerland had been a textile center since the 15th century.

Although I have always loved polka dots, I am particularly fond of Dotted Swiss. My Oklahoma City  Grandmother made many of my Easter dresses of Dotted Swiss.

I don't remember the dress but my aunts have told me I had the cutest little red Dotted Swiss dress when I was about three years old. Sometimes I think I remember the dress but I suppose I am just remembering the photographs.

Enough about me - enjoy the following photographs of Dotted Swiss dresses.

The Ever Fashionable Silkstone Barbie in Dotted Swiss Dress
The Ever Fashionable Silkstone Barbie in Dotted Swiss Dress

Red Formal Dotted Swiss Dress 1957
Red Formal Dotted Swiss Dress 1957

William Cahill Wedding Dress in Dotted Swiss Vandervoots, St. Louis, Mo. 1955
William Cahill Wedding Dress in Dotted Swiss
Vandervoots, St. Louis, Mo. 1955

Mary Martin in Dotted Swiss Evening Gown  1959 Easter TV Special
Mary Martin in Dotted Swiss Evening Gown
1959 Easter TV Special
Manguin Dotted Swiss Dress 1953
Manguin Dotted Swiss Dress 1953
Lanvin 1954 Dotted Swiss
Lanvin 1954 Dotted Swiss

Fashion Frocks

After working a few years for his father's Princess Garment Company, Philip M. Meyers founded Fashion Frocks, Inc.

Employing mostly women, the company sold their garments door-to-door utilizing a style card or salesman sample. In the 1950's, the frocks were sold in home parties much like Tupperware parties.

Housewives chose the outfit they wanted based on the image and description on the card. A sample of the fabric was attached to each card. The salesperson noted colors, price, deposit, and shipping information on the back of the card.

The style cards would be returned to the manufacturing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio for processing. At the height of their success, the company reported serving one million customers in the United States.

These style cards are a collector's delight.

Fashion Frocks Style Card 1950's 'Parade in Style'
Fashion Frocks Style Card 1950's 'Parade in Style'

Fashion Frocks Style Card 1956
Fashion Frocks Style Card 'Poodle Print' 1956

1950's Fashion Frocks Style Card
1950's Fashion Frocks Style Card 'Junior Delight'

Fashion Frocks Style Card 1950
Fashion Frocks Style Card 1950 '20th Century Wonder'

Fashion Frocks Style Card in Dotted Swiss
Fashion Frocks Style Card 'Swishy Swiss'

1950's Fashion Frock Style Card
1950's Fashion Frock Style Card 'Shirtwaist Plaid'

1950's Fashion Frock Style Card
1950's Fashion Frock Style Card 'Sun and Fun'

Fashion Frocks Style Card 1953
Fashion Frocks Style Card 1953 'Cedar Green'

It's Prom Time

I am seeing a lot of  photos on social media of young ladies in their beautiful prom dresses.

Do you remember your prom dresses?

My Junior Prom dress was a blue full length eyelet dress with short puff sleeves and a satin bow at the waist. It was lovingly made by my Aunt.

My Senior Prom dress was a full length lace dress we bought at one of the few dress shops in our small town.

We would love to hear (or even see a photograph) about your prom dress.

 Please enjoy a look back at a few 1950's prom dresses.

1955 Rappi Prom Dress in Raspberry Tulle
1955 Rappi Prom Dress in Raspberry Tulle
1950's Prom
1950's Prom
1950's Prom
1950's Prom
1950 Paris Effervescence Prom Dresses by Topper Formals
1950 Paris Effervescence Prom Dresses by Topper Formals
1954 Cristóbal Balenciaga
1954 Cristóbal Balenciaga
Nadine 1950's Formals
Nadine 1950's Formals
Jean Patou 1953 Evening Gown
Jean Patou 1953
Christian Dior 1956 Formal
Christian Dior 1956 Formal
1959 Mademoiselle 'Choosing a Prom Dress'
1959 Mademoiselle
Peter Stevens 1953 Family Circle
1956 Prom Dresses
1956 Prom Dresses
Young Modes 1955 Prom Dresses
Young Modes 1955 Prom Dresses
My Vintage Vogue

Alluring Halter Tops

Whether tied, slipped, or buttoned around the neck there is a timeless appeal to the sexy, backless, and shoulder baring halter tops that has withstood the fashion fickle industry's latest silhouette.


Maggy Sarrange in black satin halter dress with wide lapels  Designer Maggy Rouff 1950
Maggy Sarrange in black satin halter dress with wide lapels
Designer Maggy Rouff 1950

Christian Dior Halter Top Evening Gowns 1951
Christian Dior Halter Top Evening Gowns 1951

Halter Style Evening Gown Woman's Day 1950
Halter Style Evening Gown Woman's Day 1950

Celanese Halter Dress Woman's Day 1957
Celanese Halter Dress Woman's Day 1957
Courtesy My Vintage Vogue

Halter Tops Alden's Spring/Summer 1954 Catalog
Halter Tops Alden's Spring/Summer 1954 Catalog

Halter Dress in May 1951 Charm Magazine Photo by Francesco Scavello
Halter Dress in May 1951 Charm Magazine
Photo by Francesco Scavello

Jean Dessés Dupon Nylon Ad
Jean Dessés Dupon Nylon Ad

Legendary China Machado

Born Noelie Dasouza Machado, China (Pronounced CHEE-na) Machado was a Chinese born Portuguese-American fashion model who rocked fifties' runways during a time the fashion industry was still struggling with diversity.

Although widely thought the first non-Caucasian model to appear on the cover of a major American fashion magazine, her daughter states the model featured on the cover of the February 1959 issue of Harper's Bazaar is not China Machado..

China Machado in Balenciaga 1959
China Machado in Balenciaga 1959
Machado began her career in Paris, France modeling for fashion greats Hubert de Givenchy, Balenciaga, and Dior. She would become the highest paid runway model in Europe.

René Bouché Illustration of China Machado Looking Model in Hubert de Givenchy Cocktail Dress for Vogue October 15, 1957
René Bouché Illustration of a China Machado Looking Model in
Hubert de Givenchy Cocktail Dress for
Vogue October 15, 1957
China Machado in Dior Evening Gown Richard Avedon Photo Paris, August 1959
China Machado in a Dior Evening Gown
Richard Avedon Photo Paris, August 1959
Oleg Cassini brought her to New York for his runway show in 1958 where she would meet Diana Vreeland and Richard Avedon, She and Avedon became lifelong friends.

Considered a pioneer in haute couture, Machado enjoyed a career in the fashion industry as a model, editor, and television producer into her 80's.

Presenting Christian Dior's Ligne Ciseaux

Christian Dior's Automne/Hivre 1949-1950 Ligne Ciseaux was spectactular and one of his most successful collections.

Please enjoy a few of the lovely gowns from his Ciseaux line.

Christian Dior's Black and Gold Brocade 'Midnight' (L) from his Autumn-Winter 1949/1950 La Ligne Ciseaux Collection
Christian Dior's Black and Gold Brocade 'Midnight' (L) from his
Autumn-Winter 1949/1950 La Ligne Ciseaux Collection
Christian Dior Autumn/Winter 1949-50 "Météore"  Illustration by René Bouché
Christian Dior Autumn/Winter 1949-50 "Météore"
Illustration by René Bouché
Christian Dior Autumn/Winter 1949-50 "Junon" (L)  (Mannequin Theo Grahams) and "Vénus" (R)  Photo Richard Avedon.
Christian Dior Autumn/Winter 1949-50 "Junon" (L)
(Mannequin Theo Grahams) and "Vénus" (R)
Photo Richard Avedon.
Christian Dior A/H 1949-50. Mannequin Bettina.
Christian Dior Autumn/Winter 1949-50. Mannequin Bettina.
Christian Dior A/H 1949-50 "Bateleur". Photo Georges Saad.  Mannequin Svetlana.
Christian Dior A/H 1949-50 "Bateleur".
Photo Georges Saad.
Mannequin Svetlana.
Christian Dior Autumn Winter 1949-50 "Bamboche" Bergdorf Goodman
Christian Dior Autumn Winter 1949-50 "Bamboche"
Bergdorf Goodman
Christian Dior Autumn Winter 1949-50 Ligne Ciseaux (L) black velvet on black broadcloth with slit at back (R) navy broadcloth with slit in the front
Christian Dior Autumn Winter 1949-50 Ligne Ciseaux
(L) black velvet on black broadcloth with slit at back
(R) navy broadcloth with slit in the front
Dior's Ciseaux or 'Scissors' skirt featured (L) crossover bands of black velvet on black broadcloth, slit at the back to make walking possible. Gown is worn with shoulder length glacé kid gloves. The gown on the right featured the same cross band in navy broadcloth with slit in the front.

The Royal Ontario Museum presents Christian Dior's Ligne Ciseaux, Autumn/Winter 1949-1950 Milieu du siècle collection. Film La Ligne Ciseaux by Henri Lavorel.


Doris Day's Designers

Today, April 3, is the beautiful and charming Doris Day's birthday. In celebration of her special day Turner Classic Movies is showing a few of her films.

Since I no longer have a 9-5 job, I plan to spend a few hours with the lovely Ms. Day.

Doris Day in Wardrobe Still for Ray Aghayan Costume  The Glass Bottom Boat 1966
Doris Day in Wardrobe Still for 1966's The Glass Bottom Boat
Ray Aghayan Costume Designer
Doris Day and Howard Keel in 1953 Calamity Jane  Howard Shoup Costume Designer
Doris Day and Howard Keel in 1953's Calamity Jane
Howard Shoup Costume Designer
Costume Designer Helen Rose Sketch for Doris Day in 1955 Film Love Me or Leave Me
 Sketch for Doris Day in the 1955 Film Love Me or Leave Me
Costume Designer Helen Rose 
Jean Louis Sketch for Doris Day in 1959's Pillow Talk
Sketch for Doris Day in 1959's Pillow Talk
Costume Designer Jean Louis 
Doris Day in Publicity Still for 1960's Please Don't Eat the Daisies Morton Haack Costume Designer
Doris Day in Publicity Still for 1960's Please Don't Eat the Daisies
Morton Haack Costume Designer
I hope you got to watch a few of these fun films.

Easter Textures

I have been remembering my Easter outfits. Although she did buy me a few outfits, my Oklahoma City Grandma usually made my Easter dresses. They always looked like they were store bought though.

I always got a new petticoat to wear with my new dress. I remember how scratchy the stiffly starched petticoats felt against my legs. The crinolines were the worst but I loved how I could twirl the dress out like a ballerina's tutu. 

Variety of 1950's Petticoats and Panties in Catalog Ad
1950's Petticoats and Panties Catalog Ad
Sometimes I would get new cotton panties with the days of the week embroidered on them. I was rarely able to keep a full set very long though. After a while, I didn't care if I wore Tuesday panties on Saturday.

I remember how the flocking on my dotted Swiss dress felt as I smoothed it down when I was at church. I liked dotted Swiss dresses the best but Grandma made a lot of my dresses out of a pastel cotton weave fabric.

Four little girls in Easter dresses for Hess Brothers 1955 The Easter Parade Girls' Dresses Ad
Hess Brothers 1955 The Easter Parade Girls' Dresses
My Easter bonnet was usually the fascinator type that bit sharply into my head like a hair band. Sometimes it had a ribbon tie or clips that held it snug across my head.

For everyday use I wore matching hair barrettes. Mama fastened them so tightly I thought they were digging into my scalp.

Vintage Barrette Collection
Vintage Barrette Collection
I still remember how my new patent leather shoes pinched my toes and the heel rigidly cupped my ankles. My new nylon socks were forever slipping into my shoes allowing the lace trim to tickle my legs.

Sundial Brand Patent Leather Shoe Ad
Sundial Brand Patent Leather Shoe Ad
I have several photographs of me and my brother and sister in our Easter finery but where they are is beyond me. If I find them, I'll post one.

Happy Easter to all.