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Category Archives: Interwar Years (1920s-1930s)

Shirley Temple (Black) 1928-2014

With the sad news of the passing of Shirley Temple (Black) in today’s New York Times, I thought it would be appropriator to remember some of her contributions to film costume, fashion, and popular culture.

Holiday Book tease: “Hollywood Costume”

My Man Godfrey happens to be one of my favorite movies (hello, William Powell!). The image of this dress is gorgeous in this two-page spread, but seeing all those glass bugle beads in motion in the film is just absolutely stunning.

More Holiday Gift Books: “Debutantes: When Glamour Was Born”

For those who love all things fabulous, there is nothing quite like a debutante ball gown to sweep you off your feet. Debutantes: When Glamour was Born by Diana Oswald (Rizzoli International) offers a decadent peek inside the world of the debutant. Debutantes: When Glamour was Born includes 150 photographs by renowned fashion photographers such [...]

CSA tour of “Wear to Party” in Ventura, CA

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the Costume Society of America program including a tour of “Wear to Party” at the Museum of Ventura County, as well as the tour of Lotusland with a lecture on Ganna Walska (the Polish opera singer) and the costumes designed for her by Erte. I’m [...]

Holiday gift books (Part 1): “Jean Patou: A Fashionable Life”

Released just a few weeks ago, Jean Patou: A Fashionable Life by Emmanuelle Polle highlights the extensive private archives of the Patou heirs for the first time. This oversize monograph from Flammarion that Polle spent two years researching, features 250 color and black-and-white illustrations, including the much of the early days of fashion photography (such [...]

Weekend Reading: Smithsonian’s 101 Objects that Made America

For a special issue of Smithsonian Magazine, 101 objects were chosen to represent the American History-which includes articles of clothing, accessories, and flat textiles of significance. What did they get right and what did they leave out?

Books in Brief: “Hollywood Before Glamour: Fashion in American Silent Film”

If you could see the stack of books on my ‘to do list’ you might run for the hills, but you also might sit down for a good long read. There are some great reviews ahead – so keep an eye out. First up is Hollywood Before Glamour: Fashion in American Silent Film by Michelle [...]

The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman, Model, Muse, Spy

My bedtime reading for the last month has been something of a guilty pleasure: Rather than making me sleepy, it keeps me on the edge of my seat and is a fascinating true tale of a real-life bond girl with brains, independence, and beauty. The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman – Model, Muse, [...]

Books in Brief: The Mechanical Smile by Caroline Evans

Many of you will know that I’ve been doing a lot of research into the history of fashion in America. Happily, well-known historian Caroline Evans came out with a book this summer that fills a gap in the available research on early fashion shows. Her book, The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows [...]

Knitting on the homefront (WWI)

Knitting played a large part in women’s experience of WWI (1914-1918). That fact is recorded in historical collections across the United States, including rural Northern California, as well as across the world. As historian Susan Strawn notes in her book Knitting America, “By the time America entered the war, knitters around the world were already [...]