A telegraph from Hollywood costume designer Edith Head (1897 – 1981) to the editorial offices of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE listing various highlights of the 1938 Paris fashion scene. Not surprisingly, it reads like a telegram:
"Paris says: Long waistlines, short flared skirts, fitted bodices, tweeds combines with velvet, warm colors..."
"Hair up in pompadours piles of curls and fringe bangs."
"Braid and embroidery galore lace and ribbon trimmings loads of jewelry mostly massive."
"Skirts here short and not too many pleats more slim skirts with slight flare."
The great Hollywood modiste wrote in this Tarzan-english for half a page, but by the end one is able to envision the feminine Paris of the late Thirties.
Recommended Reading: Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer.
Click here to read about physical perfection during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
A convertible swimsuit from 1939...
*Watch a 1946 Film-Clip About the First Bikini Swimsuits*
"Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 – 1973), Paris' leading fashion authority of the 1930s tells how to dress inexpensively and yet look smart as a star.":
"Cheap jewelery should never be worn unless it happens to be something that you positively know suits you. Pearls, including cheap ones, are always in good taste."
"Women can learn from men and improve their 'chic'. A man wouldn't think of wearing a tight shoe or one that didn't harmonize with his suit."
A 1937 magazine article from the long forgotten pages of DELINEATOR MAGAZINE insisted that they found the very first fashion stylist -some lass named Tobé (born Taubé Coller, a.k.a. Mrs Herbert Davis, 1890 - 1962). They were very insistent on the matter, although they failed to explain the sources used to reach this conclusion:
"This woman is the first official stylist...Now she is head of Tobé Incorporated, through which she does for more than a hundred stores in America and some in Canada, England, Australia, Norway and Sweden."
"Tobé isn't an oracle, she isn't a designer; she simply knows from experience, better than anyone else, what styles you are going to like best and what will be most useful to you. From the great fashion salons of Paris, from tailored England, from America, she culls the newest and best of the season's creations."
Further Reading: "She Knows What Women will Wear"
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, June 1959.
A 1930s fashion article which perfectly encapsulated some of the heady excitement that filled the air when "a new crush-resistant, non-wrinkling, packable, ultra-fashionable velvet" hit the market. The material was immediately swooped-up by the glam squad in far-off Hollywood; RKO chief costume designer Walter Plunkett pontificated:
"Velvet is the epitome and symbol of elegance."
Not one to be upstaged, Travis Banton (1894 – 1958) Plunckett's counterpart at Paramount Studios, chimed in declaring:
"The flattery and refinement of velvet is supplied by no other material."
Anticipating the Springtime coronation of Edward VIII, thousands of yards of velvet had been manufactured for the occasion.
Attached is printable fashion editorial by a "lifer" in the world of 20th Century American fashion, Marian Corey who stood firm on her belief that the Summer of '33 would stand out as the first season in which the swankiest threads in fashion's offering would be linen and cotton rather than silk:
"Cotton and linen have gone chic on us. Yes we know that you've heard this before. Every year for the last three, stylists have become very sentimental, along about March first, on this subject and each year practically everyone has gone right on wearing silk and more silk, just the same. This time, however, things will be different; this is the summer to believe the stylists."
The article is illustrated by six photographs picturing various assorted well-fed loafers of the Palm Beach set.