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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Remembering Arnold Scaasi
    Evening Dress Arnold Scaasi c 1965 Gift of Mrs Justin Dart 81 218 1AB Born Arnold Isaacs in Montreal Scaasi trained at the prestigious Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and honed his haute couture technique during an apprenticeship with the house of Paquin In the early 1950s he moved to New York to work with the legendary Charles James whose influence could be seen in Scaasi s command of structure and scale When he launched his own label Isaacs reversed the letters of his last name to form the Italianate moniker Scaasi Like James Scaasi saw himself as an American couturier offering a custom made alternative to Parisian couture and Seventh Avenue ready to wear Detail Bucking couture tradition Scaasi often opened his runway shows with evening wear to make a dramatic impact 2 This early cocktail dress of brown cotton velvet is embellished with the kind of elaborate three dimensional ribbonwork usually seen only in haute couture The knotted orange cotton velvet ribbons are tacked down with orange beads and rectangular gold sequins the ends are knotted and intertwined for a fringed effect Between the fluttering ribbons and the reflective sequins the dress would have been eye catching even after dark Detail 1 Quoted in Taryn Benbow Pfalzgraf ed Contemporary Fashion 2nd Edition New York St James Press 2002 598 2 Pamela A Parmal Scaasi American Couturier Boston MFA Publications 2010 62 Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post Verify your Comment Previewing your Comment Posted by This is only a preview Your comment has not yet been posted Your comment could not be posted Error type Your comment has been saved Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2015/08/remembering-arnold-scaasi.html (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: From the Archives: Sailor Suits
    suits for school and play Whether purchased ready made or sewn at home sailor suits for children closely resembled actual naval uniforms In 1886 the U S Navy changed its regulations declaring that the middy top would be worn untucked and children followed suit Trim including chevrons eagles anchors and stars also mimicked the symbols of rank worn on naval uniforms An embroidery pattern in the September 1906 issue of The Ladies Home Journal provided detailed instructions for embroidering eagles anchors and stars on both girls and boys sailor suits As shown in the image below both accessories and toys were created with the sailor suit in mind Sailor ensemble and beret 1905 10 Sailor ensemble Museum Purchase 81 25 2A C Hat Gift of the Manlove Family 2006 870 77 Unlike another style of dress for young boys the Little Lord Fauntleroy suit no widespread evidence suggests that children disliked wearing sailor suits In fact children might have enjoyed its distinct appearance almost like a fancy dress costume and its association with military might For parents the appeal of the sailor suit was probably in its versatility and durability Usually made of washable sturdy fabrics like wool serge sailor suits allowed relative freedom of movement and could be easily cleaned Depending on fabric and trim sailor suits could also be appropriate for a variety of social situations In May 1904 Harper s Bazaar called a sailor suit the most serviceable all around frock a girl can have Girl s sailor middy top C 1920 Gift of the Manlove Family 2006 870 69 Probably due to their military origins and thus an association with order unified purpose and discipline sailor suits were frequently worn as school uniforms This red wool twill sailor top was probably worn as a gym uniform with the pair of black bloomers seen in this post A movement to educate girls rather than finish them emerged in the late nineteenth century Games and athletics were an important part of the curriculum at schools with a more educational bent and female students required appropriate dress Sailor suits when worn with bloomers allowed freedom of movement while maintaining modesty When found in museum collections sailor suits worn as uniforms often bear labels naming the wearer The FIDM Museum example bears a label reading Ruth T Manlove a relative of the donors Another label reads Bonnie Briar which is probably the school Miss Manlove attended Back view 2006 870 69 Though full sailor suits were most commonly worn by children elements of nautical style were absorbed into adult dress Nautical influences including blue and white stripes square sailor collars and wide loose trousers are enduring elements of spring and summer dress A recent interpretation of these elements can be seen in the 2010 Chanel Resort collection The most spectacular example of fashionable nautical dress in the FIDM Museum collection is probably the 1950s Norman Norell dress seen below We featured this dress in a post last August you can

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2015/11/from-the-archives-sailor-suits.html (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Little Lord Fauntleroy
    as Harper s Bazaar and Peterson s Magazine Surely little boys weren t flipping through Harper s Bazaar for fashion inspiration so it is perhaps more accurate to say that the look was popular with parents who could impose their sartorial will on their sons Written accounts suggest that many a boy in the eighteen nineties was seared by this weird pestilence Its contagiousness was heightened by maternal pride Matrons dressed up their unwilling sons in the way of Master Cedric and fondly exhibited them 1 The Little Lord Fauntleroy style remained popular into the first decade of the twentieth century and was well documented by photographers Photographic evidence is particularly informative because it allows us to see how the Little Lord Fauntleroy suit was worn and interpreted by real people This provides a dimension of knowledge beyond that obtained by looking only at an extant garment Featured below are two versions of the Little Lord Fauntleroy suit from the FIDM Museum The cabinet card is from our growing collection of historic photos and the actual suit was featured in our 2008 exhibition Aesthetes Bohemians Craftsmen Artistic Dress 1880s 1920s Cabinet card gelatin silver print c 1900 Gift of Steven Porterfield 2009 897 108 Boy s suit 1890 1900 Gift of Toni Hohberg 84 359 2AB 1 Quoted in Wilson Anna Little Lord Fauntleroy The Darling of Mothers and the Abomination of a Generation American Literary History 8 1996 232 258 Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post I am so pleased to see attention given in your blog to the Little Lord Fauntleroy suit phenomenon I hope that your readers will remember that the suit described in Burnett s novel as as a black velvet suit

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2009/09/little-lord-fauntleroy.html (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Fancy dress
    does Halloween today fancy dress in the 19th century allowed individuals to dress and act outside the normal bounds of propriety Aristocrats dressed as peasants and the poor dressed as royalty while both groups probably displayed more skin than usual Though the wearer of the FIDM Museum dress certainly covered her legs with stockings this fancy dress still exposes much more leg than was commonly acceptable in the 1880s While the opportunity to relax social norms was part of the appeal of fancy dress it was also considered somewhat dangerous For this reason fancy dress costumes never included masks or face coverings Masking or masquerades allowed participants too much license and were thought to result in lewd behavior A December 24 1869 New York Times article titled The Masked Ball Orgies at the French Theatre outlined the dangers of masking At this masked ball revelers were so out of control they deliberately hurled one of the female dancers from the proscenium box to the floor beneath a distance of several feet The dancer suffered a broken thigh 2001 31 15AB Side View Though fancy dress was not meant to be worn as fashionable dress it often featured elements carried over from fashion From this side view you ll notice that this fancy dress costume features a prominent bustle For the designer and wearer it was probably impossible to separate the notion of fashion from the idea of costume Thus this fancy dress costume features elements of popular fashion making it much easier to date 2001 31 15AB Hem Detail In this detail shot you can see the metal coil and coin trim Both were once silver but have now tarnished The coins are inscribed with Arabic script 2001 31 15AB Back View If you re still wondering what to wear

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2009/10/fancy-dress.html (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Masculine dress?
    garment entered the fashionable vocabulary through its acceptance as equestrian wear Jodhpurs a fitted trouser which ballooned at the thigh became popular among male and female equestrians during the early 20th century Prior to the appearance of jodhpurs most women rode side saddle wearing riding habits which consisted of a voluminous skirt and a menswear inspired jacket Jodhpurs allowed women to ride astride the horse and virtually eliminated visual differences between male and female equestrians Riding habit installation photo c 1924 Gift of Eleanor Phillips Colt 95 193 1AB Initially worn only as sportswear some daring women adopted the riding habit as everyday dress Unlike bloomers which were a distinctly feminine garment jodhpurs were almost unisex When worn as functional sportswear jodhpurs caused little comment Though jodhpurs as streetwear were probably worn by only a few rebellious women their displacement from the sporting arena was troubling Any woman bold enough to disregard sartorial norms was almost certainly aligned with a bohemian lifestyle and possibly equal rights for women The specter of women dressing like men raised the possibility of a time when gender divisions and gender roles would become meaningless For many this was a disconcerting thought Even La Gazette du Bon Ton arguably the most avant garde fashion publication of its day poked fun at women who adopted masculine garb The image below featuring women clad in jodhpurs socializing at a bar appeared in 1922 Not only are the women drinking in public but they have also driven the only male patron to huddle on a barstool This illustration accompanied an article detailing an appreciation for women who adopted masculine dress but only if they did so out of fashionable rather than political ambitions According to the author women who want to make everything topsy turvy by changing their

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2010/03/masculine-dress.html (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Fundraising Friday: Crowned Head
    4 7 frame but the splash of white might have enlivened the all black wardrobe she adopted after the death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861 Helen Larson purchased the hat along with its carved and beaded hat stand from an auction of items belonging to the queen who was nicknamed the Widow of Windsor The Larson Collection includes 30 pieces of her wardrobe in total and several more associated with her children and her daughter in law Alexandra who became queen consort upon Victoria s death in 1901 The FIDM Museum has a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire this rare and beautiful piece and many more like it before the Larson Collection is dispersed forever or sold into private hands inaccessible to students researchers and the general public But we need your help to save the Larson Collection We have raised more than twenty percent of the necessary funds but we still have a long way to go and time is running out Please make a contribution online or by mail or join our 4for400 social media campaign to donate 4 or more by texting Museum to 243725 Donations are tax deductible if your company or organization has a matching gift program your support will go even further You can also help by spreading the word on social media using the 4for400 hashtag The FIDM Museum as until the end of 2015 to finish raising the necessary funds so please join the campaign and help save 400 years of fashion history Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post Verify your Comment Previewing your Comment Posted by This is only a preview Your comment has not yet been posted Your comment could not be

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2015/11/fundraising-friday-queen-victoria-hat.html (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Fundraising Friday: By Royal Appointment
    a corset probably a lightly boned version designed for horseback riding The Mayfair firm John Busvine Co advertised itself as Tailors and Riding Habit Makers to the Royal Family and the Courts of Europe It was not unusual for tailors to make women s riding clothes as well as men s suits women typically wore sturdy masculine style clothing for the energetic sports of riding and hunting though they always rode sidesaddle in skirts These waistcoats were tailored for Alexandra Princess of Wales daughter in law to Queen Victoria whose beauty active lifestyle and taste for elegant adaptations of menswear made her a fashion icon Busvine Co counted several of Queen Victoria s daughters among its clients as well as the Empresses of Germany and Russia and the Infanta of Spain Evidently Alexandra continued to patronize the firm after her husband Edward VII inherited the throne in 1901 by 1903 their advertisements boasted By Special Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen Detail of label These are just two of many important royal garments in the Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection which is now is in danger of being dispersed forever or absorbed into another private collection inaccessible to students researchers and the general public The FIDM Museum needs your help to save the Larson collection You can make a contribution of any amount online or by mail Donations are tax deductible if your company has a matching gift program your support will go even further The FIDM Museum has until the end of 2015 to finish raising the necessary funds so now is the time to join the campaign and help make fashion history Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post Verify your Comment Previewing your Comment

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2015/06/fundraising-friday-by-royal-appointment.html (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Selling the Original Supermodel
    essentially British dogged and touching simultaneously She has an extraordinary beauty a beauty that would have been unnoticed ten years ago and would in any other age have made her an outcast in the marriage stakes Her face might have been conceived by a computer to match the requirements of the face of the sixties bony pale skinned big eyed vulnerable lacquered with a stony stare of arrogance The look of arrogance is a happy accident Twiggy wouldn t know what arrogance means 3 At just 5 6 and 91 pounds with huge gray eyes and spindly legs Twiggy resembled a deer caught in headlights or a child playing dress up in miniskirts and makeup But her humble background and approachable personality were as important to her celebrity as her perfectly on trend London look Young inexperienced androgynous and working class she had freckles a limited vocabulary and a Cockney accent that inevitably invited Eliza Doolittle comparisons In any other decade these things would have combined to prevent Twiggy s being a success Vogue noted Not any more She has got to the top As Cecil Beaton observed Today s look comes from below The working class girl with money in her pocket can be as chic as the deb That s what Twiggy is all about 4 Detail Girls with money in their pockets could purchase a wide range of Twiggy branded merchandise in hopes of emulating her swinging style Twiggy signed a million pound 2 8 million deal to license her name to a clothing line Twiggy Styles It was launched with a runway show in London in May 1967 Twiggy herself was one of the models Yardley London produced a collection of Twiggy endorsed cosmetics including false eyelashes made of real straight hair The look is the same natural innocent look of Twiggy her lashes are straight not curly 5 The plastic Twiggy Mini Purse above by Mattel came equipped with a mirror gold pencil notepad nail file and photo holder The bright orange Trimfit opaque tights below were inspired by Twiggy for the now people Twiggy was also offered film roles an eponymous TV series a perfume deal and a recording contract which produced a single I Need Your Hand in Mine that Vogue called quite appallingly bad 6 Tights Minnow Co Ltd Trimfit Gift of Stephanie Klein Morehouse 2004 148 5 Twiggy s star burned bright but fast Women s Wear Daily was suspicious of her from the start derisively nicknaming her the paper girl not because she was so thin but because she was so insubstantial By the mid 1970s Twiggy had moved on from modeling to acting and her ingenue looks were considered not just outmoded but downright dangerous due to an alarming increase in anorexia dubbed Twiggy syndrome Vogue estimated there were five times as many anorexics in the US in 1976 as in 1966 90 percent of them women between the ages of 13 and 30 7 The supermodels of the

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2015/11/the-original-supermodel.html (2016-02-12)
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